Saturday, November 29, 2008

Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon dance this weekend

It sometimes feels futile to be interested in astronomy while living in Seattle. As Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon swing toward a rendezvous, it appears we in the Puget Sound area have only a slight chance of seeing the spectacle.

On those rare days of clear twilight of late, you may have spotted Jupiter and Venus drawing ever closer to each other in the southwest. Come this evening, you'll see a slim crescent Moon -- it was new on Thanksgiving day -- swing into the picture below and to the right. They're closer on Sunday night, and closest yet on Monday. The approximate positions can be seen in the map above from Sky & Telescope magazine.

We've got an outside chance to see the show on Sunday, with the forecast being "partly sunny" for the day and "mostly cloudy" in the evening. If the clouds hold off, or break fortuitously, we might get a peek. Monday's forecast is for rain, which doesn't sound promising.

If you happen to be in Europe, you might see the Moon occult Venus on Monday -- read more in this article by S&T.

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