CelestHeader CELESTIAL ALIGNMENT CelestHeader


1 December 2008




Anybody who looked up at the night sky on 1 December would have said "Wow, look at the moon".
But how many actually realized what they were looking at?

The two bright starts near to the moon were actually the planets Venus and Jupiter.
The brighter planet above the moon was Venus and and the duller below the moon was Jupiter.
Jupiter is of course larger, but due to its greater distance from the Earth appears smaller to us.

Merrick Flugel and myself have been tracking the movements of Venus and Jupiter for several weeks.
Merrick, with the aid of computer software, realized that the crescent moon would pass between the planets
just as they were passing each other at their closest point.
He let me know, allowing me to prepare myself to take the photographs that appear on this page.

Please take a moment to look at the photos and consider the the magnificence of what you are actually seeing.



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CelestHeader PLANETARY ALIGNMENT CelestHeader


1 September 2008


In the wake of the "Mars as big as the moon on August 28" email hoax,
the Johannesburg Planetarium announced a true astronomical event that was to take place in early September.

That event is the near alignment of the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars - together with a crescent moon.
To the untrained eye these planets will appear as stars near the horizon just after sunset.
If you are in time, take a look and appreciate this celestial wonder as you wont get another chance for a very long time.

The three planets aren't close in space, but presently they happen to be along the same line-of-sight as seen from Earth.
Right now Mercury, Venus and Mars are at distances of 161, 225 and 354 million kilometers, respectively.

  After this week Mars won't be easily visible until next year.
Venus will grow in prominence.

These two Pictures were taken from my front yard at around 19:00 on 1 September 2008.

Thanks to Merrick Flugel for helping me identify the Planets.


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