Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jupiter - Venus Conjunction (on closest approach to each other) and The Nearly Full Moon

The planets were even closer this evening than the previous! This was taken with the same 1000mm lens as the previous night's.

Here is a map of Jupiter's moons seen in the above shot:

Here is the previous night's shot, side by side, with tonights:

To give some perspective, here is a wide angle shot from a friend:

NOTE: Some media reports have compared the June 30, 2015, conjunction to the 2 B.C. conjunction of the same planets often identified as the "Christmas Star" reported in the book of Matthew. In fact, there is no comparison. The conjunction of 2 B.C. was almost 200 times tighter than last night's meeting. In "The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomical and Historical Perspective," Susan S. Carroll writes:
On June 17, 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter joined .... in the constellation Leo. The two planets were at best 6” arcseconds apart; some calculations indicate that they actually overlapped each other. This conjunction occurred during the evening and would have appeared as one very bright star. Even if they were 6” arcseconds apart, it would have required the sharpest of eyes to split the two, because of their brightness.
By the numbers: The June 30, 2015, conjunction was 0.3 degrees (1080 arcseconds) wide. The 2 B.C. conjunction was no more than 0.002 degrees (6 arcseconds) wide. Last night was beautiful, but the Christmas Star blew tonight's away!

The Moon was especially bright and beautiful last night and deserving of inclusion in this blog!

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