Getting ready for Mercury.

According to Sky and Telescope, Mercury is at its highest tonight, and reportedly the best view of it, all year. So, after sunset, I toodled over to my favorite nearby west-facing vantage point and caught this shot of it to the top left of the crescent moon.

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For those of you that are inclined to look towards the stars for influence on our day-to-day lives, be warned that Mercury will enter retrograde from Feb 6 to Feb 28. Get ready for some weird happenings and funky vibes. More background here. And you may want to bookmark this link for future reference.

And, let me wish everyone a happy Chinese new year. 2014 is supposed to be the year of the horse. But let me just add….. GO HAWKS!!!!!

Not a comet.

The comet PANSTARRS is out and about and is supposed to be visible to the unaided eye.   So Monte and I went out after sunset to try to catch a glimpse of it.    We were not successful.  The sky was pretty, though.  This was one of the shots I took – sans comet.

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Conjunction, junction, what’s your function?

Jupiter, Venus, the Moon and Aldebaran.

I awoke this morning to the sound of Monte getting up and going outside.  He had been planning on watching this morning’s quadruple conjunction of the crescent Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Aldebaran.  So, I hopped out of bed too.  I grabbed my camera and he dug out the tripod.

It was 6 AM and the sun was already starting to come up.   An hour earlier would have been better, light-wise, but the event was clearly visible from our front yard.

In the shot above, Jupiter is on the top.  Venus is below, it is at its brightest this month.  If you look closely, you can see the star Aldebaran on the right side of the frame (vertically about halfway between the Moon and Venus).  There is another faint star to the bottom left of Jupiter, but I don’t know what that one is called.

It was a pretty sight.  It is always thrilling to see the dance of the moon, planets and stars.  This morning the clouds lifted and we were treated to a great view.