Sunday, June 21, 2009

6/20 - Early Morning Views of Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and the Moon

I totally didn't think that I would make it out of bed at 4:30am on a Saturday morning (my wife didn't either), but somehow I found myself trudging up the stairs to the roof of my building around 4:45am - with my telescope on my back. The attraction was a super-conjunction (not a technical term...) of Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Mercury and the Moon - with the Pleiades making a guest appearance. The weather was very cooperative, as the sky patiently waited for me to make my observations before totally clouding over (actually I didn't catch Mercury, which was clouded out on the horizon from the start). It was my first viewing of Mars and only my second viewing of Venus through a telescope. Venus only shows phases, which is surprisingly a both boring and spectacular sight at the same time, and Mars was pretty puny, even at 320x magnification. The seeing and transparency weren't fantastic for observing it, so there wasn't much detail available. Still, pretty awesome to see another disc in the sky. Jupiter was it's awesome self, and the Moon provided some nice viewing opportunities just before sunrise. (Which was also pretty spectacular.)

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