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Sunset Clouds, Jupiter-Venus-Mercury Conjunction

Posted: 26 May 2013

During the day on Saturday, 25 May 2013, removed another pack rat nest from near the observatory.

The observatory was opened Saturday evening, at 1837 MST, 94°F. A few clouds were in the sky, mostly in the west near Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. At 1846 MST, viewed Venus in the 8" LX200-ACF, 83X. Still a gibbous phase. Then viewed Mercury, 83X, also a gibbous phase but less than the phase of Venus. Lastly, viewed Jupiter, 83X. The equatorial belts were visible. The planets were viewed 39 minutes prior to local sunset. At 1901 MST, Jupiter was almost lost in the clouds. Due to increasing clouds over much of the sky, I decided to Park the telescope. Sunset occurred at 1925 MST.

I left the observatory and set up for sky imaging in the hope of photographing the planets. This iPhone 4 photo was taken at 1933 MST and shows the D7000 DSLR and Cassiopeia Observatory, along with the clouds shortly after sunset:


This photo, taken at 1955 MST, D7000 DSLR, f/4.2, 1/20sec, 34mm, ISO 800, flash, shows the observatory with Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury in the upper lefthand corner (mouseover the image to see the labels):


Compare the positions of the planets in the above image to their positions on 24 May, 23 May, 20 May, and 19 May.

I returned to the observatory at 1957 MST as clouds nearly covered Venus. I began closing up for the night.

The observatory was closed at 2003 MST, 75°F.

The planets will be closest together Sunday evening, but the current forecast is for even more cloud cover.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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