Hey, sky fans! I hope you had a terrific weekend, full of all kinds of Decembery fun.
Friday night, the skies cleared. After weeks of waiting, all of us around this damp and wintry corner of the northeast were finally treated to a view of the Moon, Venus and Mars setting over river and hills to the west. I like to watch things in that part of the sky popping from the fading blue as the Sun settles behind the far-off hills. From our perspective, they aren’t in the skies at all until they’ve already started to set. It’s like seeing only the end of a great movie, and looking forward to getting a chance to see the first two hours, to find out how the ending was left to unfold.
My neighborhood has a problem, though: too many street lights. Light pollution is a real problem. Around the world, there’s too much wasted light, even far outside cities, and no one can get a good view of the skies anymore. Lots of animals can’t live the lives they’ve evolved to live because they fall out of sync with the night and day cycles thanks to the unnecessary extra light people have given them.
So, with that complaint about light pollution in mind, here’s a couple of photos I was able to grab with my little Canon PowerShot something-or-other camera. Friday evening. These two shots were taken… eh… I dunno… maybe a half hour apart. In the second one, you can really see the flares from the streetlight I spent most of that intervening half hour trying to block from the camera. I did the best I could. You can still see the Moon, Mars, and Venus in both photos. In the first, the brighter one, Mars is tangled in among the upper in the tree near branches. You know… where someone wrote “Mars” in green letters in the sky. Altair, which you can see… plain… as day… in the second photo couldn’t be reached for comment in time for the first one.
Remember, tonight, it’ll all be pretty great, too, with the three in a long diagonal with the Moon at the top. I hope you can see something. I’ll post more photos if I can. Clear skies, everyone!