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.
Apaches over the Downs
A walk from Steyning, along the field edge with those lumpy Downs caught in a smoke-like haze. The sun beat over the hilltops, the trees naked, grey and brown without leaves.
A tale of two hedges in the South Downs
The light was low over the Arun valley. To the south the Sussex coast was a band of grey concrete, the horizon between sky and sea broken only by the pale sticks of the offshore wind farms. The Isle of Wight rested out at sea to the west like a great sleeping sloth.
Snowy disco fungus ⛄
Snowy disco sounds like a night club in Reykjavic.