Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tons of marvellous pictures document cosmic trio, Venus occultation

The triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon, seen in the evening hours around the world yesterday has been observed, photographed and commented on as hardly any such "simple" sky show before. In Australia and Asia the two planets and the lunar crescent formed a "smiley face" as many - even some media - have commented, while half a day later the Moon was on the other side of the planets' line and the smile was gone (though not from the faces of successful observers).

For introduction here are some of the best images from Australia (the smiley over great landscapes), India (over Delhi's Old Fort), Austria (with the Jovian moons visible and - scroll down!!! - a superb video of occultation ingress while this report was online superfast) and the U.S. (with a striking timelapse widefield video). There was also a successful webcast from Cornwall. More images:This is, of course, just a small part of what's out there: SpaceWeather has early collections of the trio and the occultation; more collections come from the BBC (with picture 3 from Africa; note the shift of the Moon relative to Europe!)and the Sydney Morning Herald while the BBC has also collected comments from around the globe. The conjunction was also covered by the Bad Astronomy Blog, New Scientist, CSM, KolNews and the Himalayan Times - and there'll be certainly more stuff to link to in the next posting. Having been largely clouded out himself, this blogger likes to consider the amateur astronomy community around the world as a hundred-thousand-eyed superorganism, liked into a meta-brain via the internet: Last night we certainly succeeded bigtime ...

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