Whew! Compared to last week, this week is pretty quiet, so I’m going to keep this one short…
Our wintry nights are still long, here in the midst of “Deep Winter” (more on my 8-season outdoor calendar to come, later…), and I, like almost a third of the US, am REALLY cold. But those long winter nights are great for stargazing… I’ve been admiring the Winter Hexagon, the Winter Triangle (both depicted here on top of each other), and the morning planetary conjunctions.
The equilateral “Winter Triangle”, and the larger “Winter Hexagon”, connecting Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, Auriga, and Taurus.
Yesterday’s alignment of Jupiter and Mars was something special. Unfortunately, though I had nice clear skies, I also had high winds and -10 or something (F), windchill. I had a lot of trouble stabilizing things for a photo – between wind, and the cumbersome clothing, I just couldn’t get the vibration to let me get a clean shot… but I did get this, slightly cleaned up. Not often you get this many solar system objects in one tight view!
If you like this sort of thing…. well, Jupiter will be moving away from Mars over the course of the week, but come Thursday morning, Jan 11, a waning crescent moon will pass right by the both of them for a lovely triad. Saturday morning, if you’re really good with an unobstructed, clear southeast horizon, you might catch Saturn and Mercury together — Mercury rapidly headed toward and behind the Sun, while Earth’s motion is pulling Saturn up and into the night sky.
Venus is at opposition, directly opposite the Sun from us, on Tuesday. We’ll get these planets back into the evening soon, I promise!
Get Out There!