Venus, Jupiter, moon lining up for rare group hug among stars.......
We celebrated Thanksgiving this past week in New Mexico at Danny's sister, Darlene and her husband Doug's 160 acre ranch. What a unforgetable experience. When Brian had asked what it would be like I told him, "Brian, at night, you will see more stars than you had ever seen in your whole life!!"
It's so sad to think that my kids haven't really even seen the milky way. Yes, we've been out to CA deserts and Utah but not in a spot like out in the middle of nowhere, Pie Town, NM, population 182! The sky was so black and yet decked out in beautiful, sparkling jeweled stars and a shimmering choker milky way of stars! My kids couldn't believe it. We were also treated to shooting stars! I remember as a kid, living in Utah, sleeping outside on the lawn with my friends in late August and watching meteor showers. It's sad to think my kids don't have that treat of nature. So what a joy it was to share this with them.
It was so weird, but looking up in the night sky, I could see these 2 HUGE stars, which I knew were really planets. I assumed they were venus & mars but they were so much larger than I remember.... it looked like this (but not my pic, mine wouldn't come out)
That's because they weren't venus and mars but venus and JUPITER!! It turns our that we are being treated to a rare celestial phenomena! Danny looked it up on-line and figured it out
Venus, Jupiter, moon lining up for rare group hug among stars....... (from an article Danny found on-line)
WASHINGTON – It's not just families that are getting together this Thanksgiving week. The three brightest objects in the night sky — Venus, Jupiter and a crescent moon — will crowd around each other for an unusual group shot.
Starting Thanksgiving evening, Jupiter and Venus will begin moving closer so that by Sunday and Monday, they will appear 2 degrees apart, which is about a finger width held out at arm's length, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine. Then on Monday night, they will be joined by a crescent moon right next to them, he said.
Look in the southwestern sky around twilight — no telescope or binoculars needed. The show will even be visible in cities if it's a clear night.
"It'll be a head-turner," MacRobert said. "This certainly is an unusual coincidence for the crescent moon to be right there in the days when they are going to be closest together."
The moon is the brightest, closest and smallest of the three and is 252,000 miles away. Venus, the second brightest, closest and smallest, is 94 million miles away. And big Jupiter is 540 million miles away.
The three celestial objects come together from time to time, but often they are too close to the sun or unite at a time when they aren't so visible. The next time the three will be as close and visible as this week will be Nov. 18, 2052, according to Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.
But if you are willing to settle for two out of three — Venus and the crescent moon only — it will happen again on New Year's Eve, MacRobert said.
So if you're reading this tonight, you still have a chance to see it tomorrow night too. It really is such a wonderful display of how wonderous nature is!