Bad Astronomy


Thursday night, Venus and Jupiter made their closest approach in the western sky after sunset. It’s been interesting watching them getting closer every night!

Below are the images from every night this week, starting on Sunday August 28.

When that last image was taken, Venus and Jupiter were about 1.25 degrees apart– less than 3 times the size of the Moon. I could easily cover them both with my thumb. I could also see a difference in color– Venus was a brilliant white, but Jupiter looked duller, a little more yellow. In the image, you can see the famous San Francisco fog trying to ruin the shot.

Oh, and an added bonus! When I was out on Wednesday night, the International Space Station (ISS) passed almost directly overhead. I hastily aimed my camera and managed to squeeze in a single shot.

It was a 30 second exposure, and ISS entered into the frame from the upper right. The exposure ended before it left the frame. It wasn’t fully dark yet, so the sky is a bit blue. The bright star near the top is Gienah, also called Epsilon Cygni. The star below ISS is Zeta Cygni.

It’s been quite a week of observing! And next week, on September 6, the new Moon will be in the picture as well. I’ll get another image of that if the fog doesn’t come back by then!

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