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Old 12-01-2008, 12:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
N~R~G
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(Nov. 29) - Every once in a while, something will appear in the night sky that will attract the attention of even those who normally don't bother looking up. It's likely to be that way on Monday evening, Dec. 1.

A slender crescent moon, just 15-percent illuminated, will appear in very close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter.

Also on Monday evening, you may be able to see the full globe of the moon, its darkened portion glowing with a bluish-gray hue interposed between the sunlit crescent and not much darker sky. This vision is sometimes called "the old moon in the young moon's arms." Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was the first to recognize it as what we now call "earthshine."

Sunlight is responsible for the slender crescent, yet the remainder of the moon appears to shine with a dim blush-gray tone. That part is not receiving sunlight, but shines by virtue of reflected earthlight: the nearly full Earth illuminating the otherwise dark lunar landscape. So earthshine is really sunlight which is reflected off Earth to the moon and then reflected back to Earth.

As beautiful as the view of Venus, Jupiter and the moon will be from North America, an even more spectacular sight awaits those living in parts of Western Europe where the moon will pass in front of Venus.

Astronomers refer to this phenomenon as an "occultation," taken from the Latin word occultare, which means "to conceal." This eye-catching sight will be visible in complete darkness across much of Eastern Europe. Farther west, Venus will disappear behind the dark part of the moon either during evening twilight or just before the Sun sets. When Venus emerges, it will look like a brightening jewel on the slender lunar crescent. For virtually all of Europe, the Sun will have set by then, the exception being southern Portugal (including Lisbon).

Such favorable circumstances are quite rare for any given location. For example, the last time London was treated to such a favorably placed Venus occultation such was back on October 7, 1961. And after 2008, there will not be another similarly favorable Venus occultation for the United Kingdom until January 10, 2032. So be sure to make the most of this upcoming opportunity. More detailed information, including maps of the occultation zone, as well as times for dozens of European cities, are here.

~source~
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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sounds interesting!

i will be on top of a hill as it happens later tonight, but it'll be a few hours past sun set.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdsnowman View Post
Time to break out the high powered scope. I hope I have all the lenses

as for that, the article says that venus won't be too impressive, but that jupitar should be good & that you should be able to see the rings (through a scope) provided it's clear enough.

from the site...
Quote:
Keep in mind that this head-turning display of three celestial objects crowded together will be merely an illusion of perspective: the moon will be only about 251,400 miles from Earth, while Venus is nearly 371 times farther away, at 93.2 million miles. Meanwhile, Jupiter is almost 2,150 times farther away than our natural satellite at 540.3 million miles.
Those using binoculars or a small telescope will certainly enjoy the almost three-dimensional aspect of the moon, but Venus will be rather disappointing appearing only as a brilliant blob of light, for right now, it's a small, featureless gibbous disk. That will change in the coming weeks, however, as Venus approaches Earth and the angle it makes between us and the Sun allows it to evolve into a "half-moon" phase in mid January, and a lovely crescent phase of its own during the latter part of February and March.
Jupiter on the other hand is a far more pleasing sight with its relatively large disk, cloud bands and its retinue of bright Galilean satellites. All four will be in view on Monday evening, with Callisto sitting alone on one side of Jupiter, Ganymede, Io and Europa will be on the other side. Io and Europa will in fact, appear very close to each other, separated by only about one-sixth the apparent width of Jupiter.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N~R~G View Post
jupitar should be good & that you should be able to see the rings ...
rings? are you thinking of saturn?

well the sun set about an hour ago. being in central london, i have very little sky to look at!
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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oops yeah, i meant the cloud bands.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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From where I am, in the middle east, it looks awesome.
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well its not only the snow gods that despise me.....

blue bird all day long when at work yesterday. i strolled home, ate energy and headed out to the ice rink on the hill just in time for rains.

pure cloud, no stars, no moon, no planet. nuffink!

bollocks!

i wake up this morning to find ice (not frost) but hunks of ice on cars. clearly once the night time rains ended, the skies cleared and the temperature dropped under the celestial splendor of this astral occasion. all as i slept.

oh well..... maybe in 2030-whatever it is..... i can look forward to such a spellbinding event when in my 60s!!!!!
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Anyone get pics? It was rainy here and I couldn't see crap.
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