Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Venus and Mars conjunction

You definitely can't miss bright Venus in the western sky just after sunset it is so amazingly bright that it is often misplaced for a coming airplane. It is easy to miss Mars which is a bit below Venus and much dimmer. We have just had another nice conjunction of Venus and Mars.
Why conjunctions are so fascinating? Maybe because it is our way to see that planets really moves, since all other stars are fixed, and just the planets wanders between them. Also such conjunctions are important in astrology but we know all for the better that this is rubbish. the truth is that such conjunction are a pleasure to observe and watch for several days seeing the daily relative movement of the planets.

I've started to track the pair about a month ago when Venus and Mercury were in conjunction and Mars was way above, Last week it rained a lot and I hardly got a chance to photograph the pair. Here is a photo from 19/2/15. Mars is a bit above Venus (You might need to enlarge the photo to see it properly)
 Venus and Mars between the clouds
Venus and Mars between the clouds -19/2/2015
I could not take any photos on Friday 20/2 since I am an orthodox Jew. However it was cloudy and rainy and even as I tried to observe the pair (and the new moon) all that happened was that after a lightning storm I was wet.

Saturday night 21/2/15 the storm was over, the skies were clear and I took the following photos. Venus is extremely bright, Mars is a bit red and their position do look different from the picture above. Also noticeable the nice earth shine on the moon which appears as a while

Venus and Mars 21/2/15
Venus and Mars 21/2/15
The part of the moon which is not directly lit by the sun still gets some light bounced back from Earth. This light returns to our eyes so we are able to see some details on the entire moon although it is just 3 days old!
A day passed and Venus is already above Mars. Mars is very dim, since there were lots of cirrus clouds in the sky, but you will be able to see it below and to the right of Venus. he moon is much further above
Venus and Mars 22/2/15
Venus and Mars 22/2/15

Venus and the moon 22/2/15
Venus and the moon 22/2/15
The conjunction is over. Mars is in its way down to disappear behind the sun. Venus is climbing up to be in a really close conjunction with far far away Neptune (Try to watch is with telescope on the fourth of Mars. Finding Neptune will never be as easy as aiming to Venus) and in July with Jupiter. Planets keep travel in our skies and give us great observations.

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