Moon and Venus

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By Ronald Williams

We had a post-Christmas celestial gift this evening (Dec 28) with a very clear sky and a beautiful crescent moon accompanied by Venus. The two of them were separated by only 2.5 degrees (about the width of your pinkie at arm's length).

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a-1577652906 Dec 29, 2019 12:55 PM
Moon and Venus

Beautiful! We were lucky enough to see it, framed by branches of our trees.

a-1577653379 Dec 29, 2019 01:02 PM
Moon and Venus

Wonderful photo. Thank you. Full "Wolf Moon" January 10.

macpuzl Dec 29, 2019 02:04 PM
Moon and Venus

For perspective, Venus was about 120 million miles away (11 light minutes), on the other side of the Sun from us, while the Moon was only about 244 thousand miles away (1.31 light seconds). The apparent diameter of the Moon was about half a degree, which is the apparent width of your pinkie finger at arm's length - Venus was separated from the limb of the Moon by about 1.5 degrees, or three pinkie-widths.

a-1577662526 Dec 29, 2019 03:35 PM
Moon and Venus

Depends on the size of your hands...or pinkies.

macpuzl Dec 29, 2019 04:28 PM
Moon and Venus

Actually, that's a standard measure because it scales well with normal body proportions.

macpuzl Dec 29, 2019 06:09 PM
Moon and Venus

Mistake on my part. A nominal pinkie subtends a degree of arc, rather than the 1/2 degree I stated. Just because a pinkie covers the Moon, doesn't mean it is the same apparent size as the Moon, just at least as big.

Sagepup Dec 29, 2019 02:41 PM
Moon and Venus

It was beautiful to watch .

EastBeach Dec 29, 2019 03:11 PM
Moon and Venus

Yes it was cool to see and think how ancient civilizations marveled at the same sight ..... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_and_crescent

a-1577728664 Dec 30, 2019 09:57 AM
Moon and Venus

Yes, it is worth considering how ancient peoples observed this. They attributed such coincidences to some sort of god as they had no other knowledge as yet. Religions were founded on this sort of awe. Today we know better and intelligently try to separate the imagined meaning of a mechanical solar system from religious or philosophical concepts. Unfortunately the religions inspired by this sort of stuff continue to impose rules on us today that have disastrous impact on the people of the world. Let's try and get away from such things and live rational lives.

macpuzl Dec 29, 2019 04:30 PM
Moon and Venus

If you want a real photographic challenge for the start of the New Year, on the night of Friday, January 10, at approximately 9:50 PM PST in Santa Barbara, the International Space Station will pass across the face of the Moon from our point of view. You can figure out the exact times for your location at:
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https://transit-finder.com or https://www.calsky.com
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For instance, the line where the ISS will appear to go across the center of the Moon runs along Figueroa Street right by the Courthouse. If your observing location is at the corner of Santa Barbara Street and East Figueroa Street, the ISS transit will last about 0.71 seconds centered on 21:53:29.58. You'll need magnification giving an image scale to resolve the apparent angular size of the ISS, which will be a little less than an arcminute, about 1/30 the diameter of the Moon.

macpuzl Dec 29, 2019 04:32 PM
Moon and Venus

I should add that the orbit of the ISS may change slightly, so you should update your prediction as the day approaches.

macpuzl Dec 29, 2019 04:37 PM
Moon and Venus

Also, the ISS will not be visibly illuminated by the Sun as it approaches and departs, so you'll have to go with accurate timing.

EastBeach Dec 30, 2019 06:40 PM
Moon and Venus

That's going to be a challenge indeed. My APS-C camera has a burst mode so I could try that. Focus could be an issue as the lens is focus-by-wire and not that precise. Fingers crossed.

macpuzl Dec 30, 2019 08:50 PM
Moon and Venus

Burst mode, or video mode, or extreme confidence in your timepiece and the prediction ;)

macpuzl Jan 07, 2020 04:24 PM
Moon and Venus

The current (Tuesday Jan 7) ISS transit prediction is putting the path of visibility over Montecito.

a-1577673471 Dec 29, 2019 06:37 PM
Moon and Venus

My pinkies are tiny and very pretty. Now I can't stop looking at them. (ha)

a-1577729882 Dec 30, 2019 10:18 AM
Moon and Venus

Eastbeach: Yes, it is worth considering how ancient peoples observed this. They attributed such coincidences to some sort of god as they had no other knowledge as yet. Religions were founded on this sort of awe. Today we know better and intelligently try to separate the imagined meaning of a solar system from religious or philosophical concepts. Unfortunately the religions inspired by this sort of stuff continue to impose rules on us today that have disastrous impact on the people of the world. Let's try and get away from such things and live rational lives.

EastBeach Dec 30, 2019 06:34 PM
Moon and Venus

RHS: Your 10:18AM comment is non-sequitur.

macpuzl Jan 11, 2020 02:51 PM
Moon and Venus

One of our SBAU members, Tom Totton, captured the transit over Montecito:
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Here is a link to the Youtube 1 sec or 35 frames of the ISS going in front of the Moon last night.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGCU1zMrgaY

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