Friday, December 31, 2010

Morning Planets and Moon

If you get a nice grouping of Venus, the Moon and Mercury, you would expect lots of people to blog about it and see it...unless it is in the pre-dawn sky in late December! I managed to get up this morning and get the camera setup.

I like the effect of bright Venus and the Moon poking through the trees. The Moon is a waning crescent but overexposed in this pic so you don't see that effet well. In order to get a better picture of the Moon, I reduced the exposure time. Of course then you don't see as many stars.

But I haven't shown you Mercury yet. There's a reason for that you can see in the next picture.

Just above the clouds you will see a star with an orange tint. That is Antares, the heart of Scorpio. Mercury is just to the lower left of other words, right behind the clouds!

Tomorrow the Moon will have moved closer to Mercury and Sunday the VERY thin crescent will be just below Mercury. Your best best to see Mercury is probably about 45 minutes before sunrise. I am hoping for clear skies here the next couple of mornings!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.


kkdither said...

Very cool pictures, hale. I wish the best bet would have been Monday, instead of Sunday... It would have made me feel much better about going back to work. Will this be entirely over by Monday?

hale-bopp said...

The Moon will be new on Tuesday, so it would be very difficult to see the Moon on Monday. You have the lake to the east so if you were in the right place at the right time, you might catch a glimpse. Venus and Mercury will still be hanging out there for a while.