Friday, 3 July 2015

Celestial wonder

Wonderful sight in the night sky during these past few days. Of course, I knew that it was the 15th day of the lunar month when the moon would be at its fullest glory, shining down brightly for all to see. But I did not expect to see the other wonder in the sky until the last day of June. By then, I had missed out on the opportunity of seeing Venus and Jupiter creeping ever slowly together for much of the month.

When I eventually saw the conjunction of the two planets, I called out to my wife to witness the occasion too. I explained to her that the brighter spot of light in the night sky was that of Venus while the fainter spot belonged to Jupiter.

"But isn't Jupiter a much bigger planet than Venus," she had commented, which was quite true. "Yes," I answered, "but Jupiter is so much more farther away. Among the planets which we can observe with the naked eye, Venus is the closest to Earth and should seem bigger than Jupiter."

"It is because of the conjunction, when both planets are lined up in the same sector of the sky, that we can compare their apparent brightness," I had added.

So there we were, facing westward outside the house, and staring in admiration at the two planets. Of course, I had to ready my camera to capture the amazing sight. Then we looked in the opposite direction and there we saw it: the rising full moon in the east. On the following night, I tried to photograph the planets again and I must say that I was more satisfied with my newer efforts. When I processed the images later, I was amazed to notice two of Jupiter's Galilean moons too, That was how bright the planet was shining.

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