Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enjoying the Sunset

Yet another beautiful day here in Tucson, high in the low 80s again. But it was chilly enough after sunset that we built a little fire in the patio chiminea ( a vertical clay fireplace). We have a small supply of dead mesquite branches and sticks that keep us stocked for the occasional fire. In the deepening twilight Venus and Jupiter popped out early, and as it got dark, the asterism of the Teapot was obvious near the horizon. Part of the constellation Sagittarius, the Teapot's 8 stars form a near perfect outline.

From tonight's photo (click to enlarge - a 15 second exposure, F/5 @about 25mm focal length), Venus is the bright object to the right, Jupiter the brightest object near the top. The brightest star upper left of Venus is the top of the teapot lid, the 4 stars just above the photo center the handle. The 3 stars near the bottom form the spout. Put them all together and you have a Teapot! The shape, or even the stars may not be so easy to spot from more northerly latitudes, but if you get a clear night, you should go out and keep an eye out on Jupiter and Venus in the southwest. They will continue to get closer day by day and will be in conjunction (closest together) in about 2 weeks. Of course, they are not really close together in the solar system, only from the Earth's point of view. Venus is somewhat less than 100 million miles from us and Jupiter is near the far point of it's orbit over 500 million miles away. Keep an eye out!


Andrew Cooper said...

Nice part about living somewhere where the winter is mild, evenings spent outside watching the planets in the sunset. The show with Venus and Jupiter is rather photogenic.

We do miss the chiminea we left behind on our Tucson patio, cracked and too fragile to move.

Tuguldur said...

nice conjunction capture!

Ben said...

Wow, cool pic!

Sorry, you've been tagged.

See this post for details.

Ben said...

Haha. No worries about not playing, I just had to find eight people.

And thanks, I will definitely keep checking. =)