Jupiter’s adventures from early December 2018 until uniting with Venus late January 2019.

A photo essay on some planetary conjunctions

Asger Mollerup, Phu Phan, 22nd January, 2019

Keywords: Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mercury-Venus conjunction, Venus-Jupiter conjunction, Moon-Jupiter conjunction, Winter Solstice, Antares as reference. Planets. The Nine Planets, the Navagraha.

Intro: Two planetary conjunctions, of which the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in late January will be the most impressive, and in ancient India held as an auspicious moment. During the construction faze of an ancient Hindu sanctuary many inauguration ceremonies were held from sanctifying the land to the laying the foundation deposit and the instalment of the central deity. A final inauguration ceremony was held at the top spire of the central shrine where auspicious objects were offered; the temple was completed and opened for worshippers. The construction process was timed with the conjunction and planned a decade in advance. (Ref. 1).

Three planets participate in the celestial show above the eastern horizon in the two months around winter solstice 2018, Venus being the most dominant. Jupiter is less bright than Venus but easily recognizable; whereas the more faint Mercury hardly gets noticed. Saturn will substitute Mercury in January. The 5th of the planets observable by the naked eye is Mars, who was absent in the New Year celestial show. These five planets, together with the Sun, the Moon and Rahu-Ketu counts for the Nine Celestial Deities, the Navagraha, and depicted in stone in ancient Hindu Khmer temples in Thailand and Cambodia.

Jupiter dawn
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-12-13 at 05:45. Manual, single shot, ISO 100, ˝ sec. and f/6.3. Focal length: 153mm.
STORY
: Jupiter gradually became visible before dawn on the eastern horizon throughout the month of December 2018. Also Mercury and Venus adorned the eastern sky in December. Jupiter rose to the altitude of Mercury the 22nd of December as marking winter solstice and will reach Venus the 24th of January, when also Saturn has become visible above the horizon.

Mercury and Jupiter mirror
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-12-17 at 05:34. Manual, single shot, ISO 800, 8 sec. and f/4.5. Focal length: 24mm.
STORY
: Mercury is eminently mirrored in the water and Jupiter attempts to join.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

As in heaven so in the river
EXIF: Sony RX10, 2018-12-21 at 05:38, manual, single shot, ISO 640, f4, 3.2 sec., focal length: 75 mm
HISTORY
: Jupiter and Mercury (top) dancing above the Mekong River and Tha Khaek (the’Indian Pier’), Laos PDR.
LOCATION: The riverfront in the middle of at Nakhon Phanom city of SE-Thailand.

Jupiter-Venus and Venus above Tha Khaek pier
EXIF
: Sony RX10, 2018-12-21 at 05:43, manual, single shot, ISO 640, f4, 3.2 sec., focal length: 36 mm.
HISTORY
: Venus presides high above Jupiter and Mercury.

Conjunction in Triangle
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-12-22 at 05:25. Manual, single shot, ISO 4000, 2.5 sec. and f/2.8. Focal length: 51 mm.
ASTRO
: Astronomical twilight started at 05:11. Sunrise at 06:28.
STORY
: A Mercury-Jupiter conjunction beautifully marking Winter Solstice. To the right Antares shines brighter than Alniyat I and shapes a triangle with the conjunction. The planets will night after night slowly move away from Antares and Alnyat, Mercury fast; Jupiter slowly. The two stars are a good reference frame for observing Jupiter’s relative movement in 2019. See coming Venus-Jupiter conjunction January 23rd ...
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Planet gate
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-12-24 at 05:23. Manual, single shot, ISO 1000, 3.2 sec. and f/2.8. Focal length: 34 mm.
LOCATION
: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Moon-Jupiter conjunction
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-01-02 at 06:25. Manual, single shot, ISO 80, 1/30 sec. and f/8. Focal length: 200 mm.
ASTRO
: The sun rose at 06:31. Lunar illumination: 15.2%. The moon and Jupiter is separated 1°45’, close to 3 diameters of the moon (0°32’).
LOCATION
: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Obscured in morning clouds
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-01-04 at 05:47. Manual, single shot, ISO 1000, 5 sec. and f/2.8. Focal length: 31 mm.
ASTRO
: The sun rose at 06:33. Astronomical twilight started at 05:17 and ended at nautical twilight, 05:43. Jupiter appears half way up towards Venus; Mercury and the moon are obscured in the red clouds at the horizon.
LOCATION
: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

From water thou come
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-01-04 at 04:41. Manual, single shot, ISO 4000, 10 sec. and f/2.8. Focal length: 24 mm.
ASTRO
: Venus and Jupiter. The sun rose at 06:33. Astronomical twilight started at 05:17.
LOCATION
: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Low Mercury at dawn
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-01-06 at 05:54. Manual, single shot, ISO 200, 2 sec. and f/8. Focal length: 107 mm.
ASTRO
: The sun rose at 06:34. Nautical twilight started at 05:44 and ended at 06:10. Mercury is seen lower and lower on the eastern horizon and will disappear in a few days only to be substituted with Saturn.
LOCATION
: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Mercury departing Venus and Jupiter
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2018-01-06 at 05:56. Manual, single shot, ISO 160, 2 sec. and f/8. Focal length: 35 mm.
ASTRO
: The sun rose at 06:34. Nautical twilight started at 05:44 and ended at 06:10. This might be the last observation of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury together, before the latter goes too close to the sun to be visible.
LOCATION
: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Venus-Jupiter Ascent
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2019-01-17 at 05:56. Manual, single shot, ISO 2500, 20 sec. and f/2.8. Focal length: 24 mm.
ASTRO
: Two hours after moonset and two hours before sunrise is the darkest time of the night, when only the lights of a village 5 km away paint the horizon to the northeast.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Venus-Jupiter and Antares in full moon light
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2019-01-21 at 04:42. Manual, single shot, ISO 2000, 8 sec. and f/5.6, focal length: 24 mm.
ASTRO
: Two hours before sunrise the sky should be as dark as the previous photo, but the light from the full moon turns night to day. Besides Jupiter and Venus only Antares has the power to join the planets in the pool.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Venus-Jupiter conjunction rising over Mount Phumoi
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2019-01-22 at 03:33. Manual, single shot, ISO 2500, 2 sec. and f/3.2, focal length: 200 mm.
ASTRO
: The blue cast of the sky is caused by strong light from the nearly full moon.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Venus-Jupiter conjunction in full moon light
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2019-01-22 at 03:49. Manual, single shot, ISO 2500, 2 sec. and f/3.2, focal length: 33 mm.
ASTRO
: The blue cast of the sky is caused by strong light from the nearly full moon.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

Venus-Jupiter conjunction with Saturn rising above the horizon
EXIF
: Sony RX10. 2019-01-22 at 05:46. Manual, single shot, ISO 400, 8 sec. and f/2.8, focal length: 24 mm.
ASTRO
: 50 minutes before sunrise the light of the rising sun blends with the light of the moon. The light of the 'blue hour' blends with blueing effect of the moon shine.
Hereafter the slow-going outer planets, Jupiter and Saturn will gradually approach one another until 21 December 2020, when they form a rare close Saturn-Jupiter union, only separated from one another appr. 20% of the diameter of the sun or moon. For comparison then Jupiter and Venus on the photo above are separated nearly five diameters of the sun or moon. When writing this and Google-checking the 2020 Saturn-Jupiter date, I see that the border between astronomy and astrology still can be diffuse. Various web sources have accounts about the assumed cosmic significance of the coming celestial show. The big fuzz is that the conjunction will take place in the sign of Aquarius. Various social media will have their fun next year defining the border between fake and fiction.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.

The rendezvous of Venus and Jupiter
EXIF: Sony RX10. 2019-01-23 at 03:38. Single shot, manual, ISO 1600, 4 sec. and f/2.8, focal length: 200 mm.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.
ASTRO: Astronomical twilight: 05:21. The 96% illuminated moon lights up the mountains and makes the night sky blue. Venus (left) and Jupiter are close to have similar altitude; from tomorrow Jupiter will be above Venus, which is heading for the horizon.

Paddy-field cottage with view
EXIF: Sony RX10. 2019-01-23 at 04:27. Single shot, manual mode, ISO 2500, 4 sec., f/2.8, focal length: 33 mm.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.
ASTRO: Astronomical twilight: 05:21. The 96% illuminated moon lights up the paddy fields and makes the night sky blue. Venus (left) and Jupiter are close to have similar altitude; from tomorrow Jupiter will be above Venus, which is heading for the horizon.

The old tamarind tree
EXIF: Sony RX10. 2019-01-24 at 04:22. Single shot, manual mode, ISO 2000, 8 sec., f/2.8, focal length: 33 mm.
LOCATION: Phu Phan, Kalasin, Thailand.
ASTRO: Astronomical twilight: 05:21. The 85% illuminated moon lights up the landscape and colours the night sky. Venus is now below Jupiter.

Above: Screen cache, STELLARIUM software. Next and final photo session will be the 3rd of February from when Venus rises at 03:30, local time, and until the moon rises.
Jupiter and Saturn will throughout 2019 indicate the location of the eye of the Milky Way

 

© Asger Mollerup

macsida@thai-isan-lao.com

24 January 2019

Photography.Thai-Isan-Lao.com

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