Miss the conjunction? Here’s your consolation prize

Clear skies prevailed over Königswinter, Germany for a great view of Venus and Jupiter just 0.2° apart at dawn this morning August 18. Credit: Daniel Fischer

Those killers of all things astronomical – clouds – were back again this morning, so no Venus-Jupiter conjunction here. Looks like I’ll pin my hopes on the one scheduled for next June 30 in Leo at dusk. I’m grateful for the flatness of the solar system, which guarantees that every few years we get repeat planet pairings.

Look east this coming Saturday morning for a sweet pairing of the bright planets and wiry crescent moon. This view shows the sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. Stellarium

I hope some of you got to see the conjunction from your home or on the way to work this morning. While Venus and Jupiter will now part ways, they’ll be one more blast of celestial awesomeness involving the duo and the crescent moon this weekend. Consider it a consolation prize. Who knows, this event might be even prettier than what passed this morning.

On Saturday morning, August 23rd about 30-45 minutes before sunrise, the thin, waning lunar crescent joins Jupiter and Venus in a stunning triangle of loveliness in the eastern sky.The threesome will all fit inside an 8° circle.

Now that I know this is coming I don’t feel so bad about missing the conjunction.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

16 thoughts on “Miss the conjunction? Here’s your consolation prize

  1. No, I did not miss it. It was a spectacular sight in the words of the late Jack Horkheimer that would knock your socks off.

  2. I had a pretty good observation here despite the lingering distant forest fires aerosols that made mighty Jupiter look less than majestic. The Moon was awesome :) Had the 20X80 binocs setup at 4:15 am on Main street a block away from home. Despite having about 50 people walking on their way downtown before sunrise, not a single one asked what I was looking at or curious enough to peek a look thru… Must be the “monday” factor …

    • BC,
      Even Duluthians aren’t that shy. I get people who drive by me at night on the road and occasionally stop. That’s a little scarier, but all my encounters have been good ones so far. Sometimes you have to deliberately invite people. These guys would normally stay in their trucks but if Jupiter or Saturn’s out, I’ll ask them if they’d care to look.
      Here’s hoping for clear skies this Saturday morning although the long range forecast doesn’t look good. We finally shucked the fire haze starting about last Thursday. Sounds like you still have it.

  3. No luck in New Brunswick,Canada this morning,either,Bob.There were some small breaks in the clouds in the northeast sky but they weren’t in the right spot to reveal the planets.Very frustrating! Hopefully,Saturday will be different-we are certainly due.Good luck Saturday to you,as well!

  4. Yes,I was thinking that,as well.The addition of the crescent moon,with a lovely deep blue sky,overlaying orange and red on the horizon,should make for a beautiful sight.

  5. Shame I missed it but it made me wonder about actual occultations of planets by other planets, and I found this…

    http://www.bogan.ca/astro/occultations/occltlst.htm

    Unless there are some very young readers here I think we’re all going to be out of luck, but we can begin to look forward to the very close “Winter Solstice Conjunction”™ of Jupiter and Saturn coming up in 2020, details of which you can find right at the very end of that page. This one will only be 6′ arc but it looks like it’ll favour Middle Eastern/European observers.

    • Hi Paul,
      Thanks! That’s a great site. I almost used that in my article but decided to keep it short. Looks like you’re in a great spot for that 2020 conjunction.

  6. Bob, I have been watching Venus and Jupiter with clear skies here in Independence, California. I would add that Sirius is also spectacular at about the same elevation a bit to the south. Both Jupiter and Sirius have remained visible until 6:00 AM PST…plenty of light at that hour to read my watch. Because Sirius twinkles so broadly, it becomes invisible, then flashes back into visibility in the bright sky. Wow!

  7. Been fortunate to see it here every day this week. Looking forward to Saturday morning, now that I know there is something to do other than make a cup of coffee and cruise the internet.

  8. thanks astrobob for reminding me of my NJ childhood backyard 70 yrs ago, stargazing w/mom,
    guess that’s how I became an insomniac

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