Monday, December 8, 2008

A Gibbous Venus...

If you take a look at my post of 12/1, both planets look pretty round. But realizing that Venus goes through a cycle of phases, I wondered if the camera picked up that level of detail. I went back to the original hi res image, and enlarged Venus to get the image posted here. Sure enough, the gibbous phase of Venus is clearly visible in the photo! I'd seen pictures before, but had never observed the phases myself.
Notice that in the 12/1 photo Jupiter, many times larger than Venus and more than 40 times the diameter of the Moon, appears as a small, round dot of light almost 6 times farther from Earth than the Sun - and the nearby Moon was just "passing through" on it's monthly revolution around Earth.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Amazing Lenticular Clouds over Mt, Rainier

Folks around Mt. Rainier in Washington state were treated to a spectacular display of "lenticular clouds", formed as a wave of moist air moved over the peak on 12/5/2008. Komonews ran a short article which included some fantastic pictures.

You can find a brief explanation of lenticular clouds here on Wikipedia.

Some years ago, I photographed a lenticular over the Adirondack Mts. that was later featured as an Earth Science Picture of the Day.

Sometimes a similar process produces clouds as stable air moves over a rising column of air. I stopped along the Taconic Parkway one summer evening to photograph this example.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Moon, Venus, and Jupiter Conjunction

Last night was a washout...gray, wet, and dreary. Today, the skies cleared and I got this shot at Lasdon Park in Somers this evening. See more pics on my Flickr page. Conjunctions like this are not unusual or rare, but they are quite noticeable and dramatic in the evening sky. (A lunar eclipse like this one in February earlier this year provided another not so unusual but interesting show)