Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sky photos, August 30 2010

The planetary triangle visible in the western sky after sunset in the end of July and beginning of August has broken up and moved on.  Venus and Mars have continued to sail away from the Sun while Saturn has been left behind in the sunset glow.  And as Venus and Mars have continued their southern and eastward movement against the background of stars they have encountered the occasional very bright star.  At this moment a new triangle has been formed by Venus, Spica, and Mars.  Here is a crop of my first image, from 8:18 PM:

Spica is on the upper left, Venus is the very bright thing below it and to its right, and Mars is on the upper right, just to the right of the center top of this image .  The three of them make an almost perfect right triangle.

I was able to take thirty-three images of tonight's trio between 8:18 PM and 8:37 PM, but because of the way I combine images to make composites, I was not able to use any where the sky was too light.  Here is a composite of seventeen images from 8:26 PM through 8:35 PM:

Combining these images brightens them considerably.  Here is a similar crop of one of the earliest images in this series, from 8:27 PM:

Venus soon sank below where I could reliably get a bead on it, and I had to change my position to get any more images.  Here is my final shot of the night, taken at 8:37 PM, just as both Venus and Mars were about to slip beneath rooftops.

Tomorrow Venus and Spica will make their closest approach, and then they too will move apart.

Jack Horkheimer would have loved this.

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