01 December 2008 - Celestial Triangle
I grew up with Schoolhouse Rock as background music to my weekends, making me incapable of hearing the word "conjunction" without automatically adding "junction." So it was fitting that I witnessed the recent conjunction of the crescent moon, Venus, and Jupiter at a pull off in the town of Alpine Junction, NY.
To orient you, that's the moon on the left (though you probably figured that out), Venus is the brighter and lower of the two "starry" objects, Jupiter is fainter and higher in the sky.
This is the write up from spaceweather.com (thanks, Aunt Janet!)
Space Weather News for Monday, Dec. 1, 2008
When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look south. Beaming through the twilight is one of the prettiest things you'll ever see--a tight three-way conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon. The event is visible from all parts of the world, even from light-polluted cities. People in New York and Hong Kong will see it just as clearly as astronomers watching from remote mountaintops. Only cloudy weather or a midnight sun (sorry Antarctica!) can spoil the show.
The great conjunction offers something extra to Europeans. For more than an hour on Monday evening, the crescent Moon will actually eclipse Venus. Astronomers call such an event a "lunar occultation." Venus emerging from the dark edge of the Moon is a remarkably beautiful sight. Sky watchers across Europe will be able to see this happen.
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