March has been an amazing month for planet viewing. Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are visible in the west just after sunset while Mars is rising in the east. By 10 PM Saturn is also visible in the east. These planets are the brightest objects in the night sky and the experience can be greatly enhanced with binoculars or a low powered telescope
Here’s a photo from March 14th of Jupiter, Venus and a meteor. Venus is the bright object in the lower side of the picture. Jupiter is to its right. The Pleiades is also visible in the upper left.
This past Tuesday evening was a great night for astronomy work here in Northern Baltimore County Maryland. With the new moon phase only two days away most of evening was nice, dark and clear. I had a pretty good session, started a final photography job and then went inside and dosed off. I woke up Wednesday morning around 5:00 AM, went outside to close up shop and was happily greeted with a waning crescent moon hiding behind a thin veil of clouds just above the horizon in the east. A bright Venus was a little higher in the sky setting the stage for a spectacular dawn. The morning was graced with a special moon phase as its the last visible moon of the last quarter. I was pretty tired and out of it, but felt compelled to capture the moment as this is a relatively difficult moon phase to shoot timing wise and you only have a max of 12 chances per year to get it and they are always at inconvenient times in the early morning and the window of opportunity is only about an hour or so each month.
So, I snapped two pics of the last Waning Crescent Moon…
one with clouds and one without.
And a few pics of Venus too.
And then I went back to bed.
Here’s a quick snap of Venus.