Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jupiter and Venus Conjunction

One of the most interesting events coming in 2015's summer will be the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. These two bright planets can already be seen clearly in the west just after sunset. Venus is brighter and lower than Jupiter, and they get closer every day!
These planets are the brightest objects in the sky except for the sun and the moon. A conjunction between them is not rare, but such a close encounter does not happen very often. Here are links to photos from the 2012 conjunction 2012 and from the 2008 conjunction.

New photos!
New photos from the event itself 30/06/2015
I started in daylight and here are the two. Jupiter is a small orange ball and Venus shape is visible. The camera was Canon HS SX50.

Daylight Venus and Jupiter 30/06/2015
Daylight Venus and Jupiter 30/06/2015


The next two photos showing Venus and Jupiter through a telescope. It was amazing to see them both in the same field of view. Jupiter with its strips and moons and the thin crescent of Venus. In the photograph however, I had to choose the exposure. A long exposure to get Jupiter's moons and a short exposure to get the shape of the crescent. So I took two
Venus and Jupiter through a telescope 30/06/2015
Venus and Jupiter through a telescope 30/06/2015
Venus and Jupiter through a telescope 30/06/2015
Venus and Jupiter through a telescope 30/06/2015

 OK, Saturn is always beautiful so why not take a photo of him as well?

Saturn
Saturn
I invited friends to see the wonders of the sky. Many arrived to see the conjunction, Saturn, and the almost full moon. What a splendid evening!!!



These photos are from June 29 2015! Enjoy and scroll down to see the difference of just one day!


Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015

You can clearly see Jupiter's moons in this photo!
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015

Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015

Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015

Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015

Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015
Venus and Jupiter 29/6/2015

And notice the difference in just one day
Jupiter and Venus 28/6/2015
Jupiter and Venus 28/6/2015

Jupiter and Venus 28/6/2015
Jupiter and Venus 28/6/2015



Jupiter and Venus are the brightest planets, and way back in the past, on June 17th, 2 BC, their conjunction made them so close together, just 40 arc-seconds apart, that they seemed as a single, very bright star, which might be the origin of the "Star of Bethlehem" (although there are other astronomical theories for this star, such as a Supernova, a comet or other conjunctions). Look at the Illustration below. An observer looking through his telescope at a 100x magnification, would have seen this incredible sight. Venus is closer to Jupiter than Jupiter's moons and is just a little bit smaller than Jupiter. Jupiter's angular size is 32" and Venus's is only 25". This is indeed a sight not often seen! An even more spectacular conjunction will be on 22-Nov-2065, when Venus will actually go in front of Jupiter, obscuring a little part of it. Unfortunately, Jupiter and Venus will be only 7 degrees from the Sun so the chances to see it are near to zero. The next occultation will be in 2123, a bit too far in the future for most of us.

Venus and Jupiter conjunction 2 BC illustration
Venus and Jupiter conjunction 2 BC illustration
The current conjunction will not be as close as that of 2BC and the planets will be seen as two, but very close to each other. The first event to notice is on 13/6 when Venus will pass near the Beehive cluster (M44). Even a small binoculars will suffice to see it. The next interesting event will be on 20/6/2015 when the new moon will join the pair to create a triple conjunction.

The moon Venus and Jupiter 20-Jun-2015
The moon, Venus and Jupiter 20-Jun-2015

The moon Venus and Jupiter 20-Jun-2015
The moon, Venus and Jupiter 20-Jun-2015
And a short (17sec) time lapse of 18 minutes



Here is my own photo of Venus and M44 taken from a really light polluted area and yet, the cluster is visible
Venus and M44
Venus and M44

Look at the illustration below. The little cloud below Venus is M44 and it also demonstrates how fast Venus moves.
Venus,Jupiter, the moon and M44 20/6/2015 Illustration
Venus,Jupiter, the moon and M44 20/6/2015 Illustration
The nearest conjunction will be 10 days later on 30/6 with a distance of a third of a degree (22 arc-minutes). This is less than the diameter of the moon. If you have a telescope, you can use a magnification in which you can still see the entire moon and include both planets in the same field of view. If you don't have a telescope don't worry! Many people will photograph the pair and beautiful pictures are expected.
One day later (July 1st, 2015) the distance will be greater, but still less than half a degree. The distance will increase with every passing day as the pair will continue to move, each in its own celestial orbit.

Updated photos 18-Jun-2015!


New moon Venus and Jupiter 18/6/2015
New moon Venus and Jupiter 18/6/2015

New moon Venus and Jupiter 18/6/2015
New moon Venus and Jupiter 18/6/2015

Venus Jupiter and Leo constellation
Venus Jupiter and Leo constellation
Venus Jupiter and Leo constellation

Here are two photos taken three weeks apart which show how the distance is getting smaller.


Jupiter Venus and the moon 21/5/2015
Jupiter Venus and the moon 21/5/2015

Jupiter Venus and the moon 9/6/2015
Jupiter Venus and the moon 9/6/2015


The following song was a big hit in Israel and you will enjoy it even without understanding the words. Its name is "Milky way Ballad " and here is my freestyle translation for it.

Milky way Ballad
Venus send a smile to Jupiter
Hey Jupiter, lets go out
A cappuccino cup in the Milky way
And drop by Cassiopeia
Grab the dipper, little or big
This night is terrific
It's quite a bit, Jupiter and Venus alone
Going out hand in hand 
hand in hand in the heavens...
Lets jump for an hour to the north star
With a light breeze blowing
Just don't be like Plato
Those I do not like
Without a notice, on the tail of a comet,
we will sit for a moment
It's quite a bit...
Jupiter and Venus going higher
The stars wink to them
And Orion said without doubts
What a couple
And only Mars become jealousy red
She will leave him soon in the future...

2 comments:

  1. Great post Gadi!
    The chance of seeing the conjunction in 22-Nov-2065 is not quite zero. If you have a Go TO telescope, you should be able to point it at Venus in Jupiter, even when very near the sun. I actually did this I think in 1999 close to noon time with my little ETX-90. Venus was less than 1% illuminated and I could detect a ring around that planet as it was back lit by the sun. You can see a photo similar to what I saw here- http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090409.html

    Apparently some people have managed to see Venus at inferior conjunction even without optical aid! See at http://www.universetoday.com/107663/astro-challenge-nabbing-venus-at-inferior-conjunction/
    Apparently the next good opportunity to try will be 25 Mar. 2017. Get ready for a new challenge!

    -tom

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