The Sun, The Moon, Venus, Jupiter & Wendelstein Mt.

Since the transit of Venus, 06/06/2012, there has been nothing much on in astronomical speaking. This is my favorite image from that day, which I developed after my previous post…

Composite image: one for the landscape and one for the sun/venus with Baader Solar Filter

Last weekend I scheduled my stay at Wendelstein Mt. to watch the conjunction of Jupiter with the Moon on the 17th, and the conjunction of Venus with the Moon on the 18th of June. So far, so good. The 1838 m high mountain at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps gives you a 360° view, which is great for watching the rising moon/planets. This legendary mountain is also home to an observatory with three telescopes. But I wanted to have this nicely shaped mountain, which also calls the highest placed church in Germany (1740 m) its own, to be placed between me and the setting sun. After hiking up and down for a couple of hours, with temperatures above 30° C, and watching some chamois, I put up my gear at Lacherspitze, 1724 m.

Crepuscular rays during sunset behind Wendelstein Mt.; three domes with telescopes are on top, the church is to the lower (middle) left…

At 10:00 pm I had put up my cameras, ready for shooting startrails, and went for a nap. But after one hour I woke up by a roaring –  a thunder-storm was coming in. What to do?! I packed my stuff and descended on a hiking trail I´ve never been before, in pouring rain, in  a moonless night and an estimated walking/climbing/crawling time of 2.5 hours/5 km and almost 1000 m difference in altitude. My back and angles were aching due to the slippery track, but I got back sound and safe to my trusty Mercedes-Benz and drove back home the 160 km the same night/morning. Tired, but happy, I arrived at 3:00 am back at Landshut, but had nothing better to do than scouting a place for the moonrise, which was scheduled for 3:37 am. The birds started to sing already as I put up my gear again. There has been some clouds, but they added some extra drama to the composition.

06/17/2012, the rising, waxing crescent, 60 hours before New Moon, 5.8 % illuminated, 2.2° separated from Jupiter, which can be found now about one hour before sunrise; 4:15 am…

At 5:00 am I arrived back at home and was very happy and thankful! What a night to spend! The next morning I got up to photograph the very thin crescent, the last before New Moon, which is very difficult to spot. But this time I got some “help” – Venus. The crescent was supposed to be just opposite left of Venus, but I could not spot it, even with my long lens. So I took some shots just in case I might spot it when it’s on my computer; and guess what, I got two lucky shots.

06/18/2012, Venus to the right, which also got a crescent of about 5.4 % illuminated, and opposite left the very thin crescent Moon, 36 hours before New Moon and 2.1 % illuminated, 2.3° separation;  4:45 am…

The two images with the Moon and the planets are featured here today:

The waxing crescent of Venus, 5.4 % illuminated,  telescope imaging, single shot, 3000 mm..

Venus got a seeming size of about 53 ” arc seconds and the Moon a seeming size of about 0.5° – that means? One arcs. is a 1/3600 of one degree, which means that the Moon is seemingly about 34 times bigger than Venus – you are still with me? “Seeming” means: the Moon is actually smaller than Venus ( Venus is about the same size as Earth), but Venus is much further away than the Moon. “Projected” to the firmament, the Moon “seems” to be bigger while closer.  By the way, our Sun “seems” to have the same diameter like the Moon, 0.5°, but in truth it’s not. This is why solar eclipses happen, but that will be another theme for a post someday. Enjoy!




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