The awesome bright planet show isn’t over yet!

If you haven’t seen the blazing bright awesome planets, Jupiter (fainter one) and Venus (brighter one) in the evening sky, you still have time for most of the rest of this month.

Venus and Jupiter in bright twilight. Click to enlarge and see fainter Jupiter to the left of Venus.

See previous entries for the view in a dark sky.
Here’s what the pair looked like through the finder scope (a little distorted from just holding the camera up to the eyepiece):
Jupiter (left) and Venus (right) in a snapshot taken through the 9x60 finder scope of my telescope

Jupiter will move closer to the horizon each day as the Earth runs around the other side of the sun from Jupiter. A telescope will show up to four bright moons and cloud bands on Jupiter. Venus is so bright that it is hard to see that it is only half-lit, even in a telescope.
Here’s the planets’ size through the telescope (lousy photos – just a snapshot taken at the eyepiece), but at the same zoom and cropped the same way.

Venus through an 8-inch dobsonian telescope, cropped. Note how it is half-lit, like a first quarter moon.

Jupiter, on the same scale as Venus and Mars. A poor snapshot with much less detail than actually seen through the scope.

Mars,on the same scale as Jupiter and Venus through the telescope. Visually, you can see the northern polar clouds and some gray areas of rock uncovered from the salmon-colored dust.

After you see Venus and Jupiter, do an about-face and the reddish dot rising is Mars, very tiny in a telescope, but the best we’ll get this year.

Mars is the bright dot (overexposed, so it looks white instead of reddish)

As it gets darker, see Orion and the nearby star clusters to the left of Venus and Jupiter.

Orion and star clusters - Venus and Jupiter are just off the the right outside this photo.

With or without a telescope, this is a great time to observe!


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