Close Encounters in the Summer Sky

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In late June 2015, Jupiter and Venus (together with the Moon) put on a really nice show with a breathtaking multiple conjunction. Around mid-June, the two planets were already quite close to each other. Around June 20th, they formed a really nice triangle with the crescent Moon, fitting in a circle of just a few degrees.

But the best was yet to come. As the days passed, they got even closer, until they reached the minimum distance on June 30th, when they were just 20 arcminutes apart (or about two thirds of the Full Moon’s disk): by then, they formed a spectacular “asterism” in the evening sky, just after sunset.

I was lucky enough to witness (and image) both events. Above is the conjunction at its best. This shot was taken on June 30th 2015 from my backyard with a Canon EOS 450D DSLR through a 8-inch GSO RC. Given the sheer difference in brightness between the two planets (more than six magnitudes, i.e. more than 250 times :!: ), it is a composite of two pictures of 1/3 s and 1/250 s. On the top left is Jupiter with its four Medicean satellites (from left to right: Ganymede, Io, Europa and Callisto), while on the bottom right lies the bright sickle of Venus.

Below is a picture of Jupiter, Venus and the crescent Moon taken on June 20th 2015, from the Apennines with my Canon 6D DSLR and a 70-300 mm Canon zoom lens on a fixed tripod. In this picture, Jupiter lies on the top left, the crescent Moon near the bottom left corner, while Venus is about half-way on the right edge.

I’m not much of a planetary conjunction fan but I must admit this time I had great views of some of the best our often neglected solar system can offer! :mrgreen:

Venus and Jupiter conjunction

Venus and Jupiter conjunction

Venus and Jupiter conjunction

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon

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