Moon Overtaking Jupiter and Venus

Venus Jupiter Moon
The moon overtaking Jupiter and Venus

I fell asleep amid visions of rainbows and towering gilded sunsets dancing in my head. I woke up to clear skies this morning. Clear enough that I drug the tripod out and stuck the camera on it for a few minutes during the five o’clock hour before the sun began bleaching the eastern horizon.

Jupiter still hugged close to Aldebaran, but the most surprising sight for me was Orion visible, appearing to be lying down on the eastern horizon.  I could see most of the stars in that constellation, but the moon and Venus shone significantly brighter.

As the week wears on, the moon will pass by or through the two planets.  I plan to take more early morning photos until the new moon.  I am especially looking forward to the opportunity presented Sunday morning, when I may be able to capture Mercury in addition to the objects shown above.

I may be staying up all night Saturday to watch the Perseid meteor shower (if you follow that link to Sky & Telescope‘s web page, you’ll see a beautiful photograph taken by local phenom astronomer Fred Bruenjes, a fellow member of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City).  The weather, in addition to being much cooler, may cooperate and keep the skies clear.

I should probably take a nap Saturday or go to bed early, and then get up after midnight and drive somewhere, probably northwest of my home, to a darker sky location.  Then, I should be able to see more meteors streaking through the sky, than if I lounged around in my backyard, peering through the local light pollution and leafy tall trees.  But I doubt I’ll be able to take a nap, because I am also expecting out-of-town visitors for the weekend.

No rest for the aspiring amateur astronomer.