An article popped up recently highlighting the chance to see several planets in the sky at once. On the evening of the 29th December 2022, I took out my camera and tripod to see what was happening out there in the garden. Turns out, there was quite a lot going on!
I had actually spent the late afternoon admiring the half moon, with Jupiter in close attendance (below). I was down by the river Arun in the town of Arundel, the sun creating a gentle, pastel-coloured twilight.
Later on in my garden, I ticked off a couple of other planets with the help of my camera, binoculars and the phone app Stellarium. This app has helped me to learn loads, though I struggle to remember it all, of course.
Just visible over an extension of a neighbouring house was Saturn (above, top right), ringless to my eye and the camera’s lens. I had managed to get a rough image of it in the past with rings just about visible.
Mars was prominent in the sky, hanging out in the eardrum of Taurus, earwax coloured, too. I used the nearby Pleiades to attempt to find Uranus, something much more difficult to see because of a lack of colour definition or prominence in the night sky.
Compare with image below to identify Uranus (best to click/expand)
Screenshot from Stellarium, showing the Pleiades on the left, the ^ roof of three stars, and then Uranus
Using the pitched rooftop shape of a trio of stars (Tau Arietis, Zeta Arietis, and Botein) I found a wonky cross shape. In the middle of the cross was Uranus, indistinguishable in colour from those close by. This is a first for me, which is always a lovely thing.
Far more visually dramatic was the sudden burst of a meteor in Taurus, shooting upwards to the south-east. A little researched revealed this to be one of the Quadrantids, a meteor shower that peaked on the 3rd January 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere.
Thanks for reading.
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A spring epistrophe? 🐝
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Is this England’s national mushroom? 🍄
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