Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More oohing and aahing

The sun is setting behind the row of trees on the hill, and you can just make out the wink of Venus over the smiling moon. I set up the camera, take a few pictures and sit down to wait for the sky to darken. Some kids wander over to see what I'm doing. Jake knows all about Venus and Jupiter: "I've seen Venus before." Adam can top him: "I've seen Pluto," he claims. Hmmmmm.
Jake, who's eight, knows quite a lot about the planets, but he can't understand why Jupiter is closer to the sun than Venus (as they appear in the sky), so I draw him a mud map of the solar system and and we have an interesting discussion about why Venus is brighter than Jupiter even though Jupiter is so much bigger. "Venus is my favourite planet," he admits.
Soon, their dads arrive to see what we're looking at and one expresses doubts about whether the bright star can be Venus -- "isn't it always around in the morning?"; meanwhile, Jupiter has winked into view. I wait a bit longer: the sky is darkening and everyone is going home, although Jake is keen to stay and see Spica appear. Just as he and his dad reach the bottom of the hill, I am able to call out, "Look, there it is." The tiny spot of blue is just visible to the left of the moon.
I move the camera over the hill, away from the sportsground lights. Now I can get the shot I'm waiting for. And here's another one of just the moon, Venus and Spica. Not bad for a park surrounded by city light pollution, if I say so myself.


Grangry said...

What excellent photos. Thank you for sharing.

Sharon said...

We saw it too... P was lamenting that his camera is at the 'hospital'... It was an amazing sight to see - it was so clear that one felt you could almost pluck it from the sky...

Linda said...

One of the advantages of living in a small town with few street lights is that the stars are always so very bright.

They were just beautiful last night. Thank you for the pictures to remind me.

Kevin Rosero said...

Beche, hi, and yes, the Bad Astronomer also told me about your photos. I had a look at them a few days ago and started contemplating the difference between the views of the northern and southern hemispheres. I posted about it, and about your photos:

Your photos are terrific, and I hope you publish more.

Kevin Rosero said...

I've referred to this post in The Conjunction Project, at "".

Thanks Beche!