Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Venus, Jupiter, and the Crescent Moon

I shot these photos from our balcony on Sunday. There was too much light around to really show the crescent of the moon, but it helped when I shot from behind the curtain. Too bad the double-paned windows created some "echos" because as NPR and The Manila Times stated, depending on where you were on the globe, some people could see a "smiley face" and other people saw a "frowny face".:
This article by AP Science Writer, Seth Borenstein - published Tue Nov 25, 4:21 pm ET - put me on notice to look in the sky yesterday. I was so busy and tired after the Alternative Christmas Faire, it took a phone call from Tom (who almost always works in his classroom on Sunday evenings) to tell me to look at the sky Sunday around 6pm.

(Quoting from Yahoo! News):
It's not just families that are getting together this Thanksgiving week. The three brightest objects in the night sky — Venus, Jupiter and a crescent moon — will crowd around each other for an unusual group shot.

Starting Thanksgiving evening, Jupiter and Venus will begin moving closer so that by Sunday and Monday, they will appear 2 degrees apart, which is about a finger width held out at arm's length, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine. Then on Monday night, they will be joined by a crescent moon right next to them, he said.

Look in the southwestern sky around twilight — no telescope or binoculars needed. The show will even be visible in cities if it's a clear night.

"It'll be a head-turner," MacRobert said. "This certainly is an unusual coincidence for the crescent moon to be right there in the days when they are going to be closest together."

The moon is the brightest, closest and smallest of the three and is 252,000 miles away. Venus, the second brightest, closest and smallest, is 94 million miles away. And big Jupiter is 540 million miles away.

The three celestial objects come together from time to time, but often they are too close to the sun or unite at a time when they aren't so visible. The next time the three will be as close and visible as this week will be Nov. 18, 2052, according to Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.

I took the rest of these yesterday after work - before the moon and planets set into the fogbank that has been hanging out in the area for over a week:

(If you click on the photos, you'll see bigger versions)I took this last one from Oxnard Shores. It was pretty dark but you can see the moonlight on the water and that light on the horizon is an oil platform.

Home & World Improvement Rather Than Christmas Shopping

Carpet shampooing, wood floor cleaning and oiling, and ivy trimming took up our weekend after Thanksgiving. The annual Alternative Christmas Faire that I've organized for many years took place the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and in only two hours plus a few more purchases over the next two weeks, we raised $7,000.00 for local and global organizations - literacy programs, California wildfire and 2008 hurricane relief, flocks of chickens, building supplies, elderly care, food and services for homeless families and people needing mental health services all benefitted from the generousity of our church's and community's people who made donations at the Faire. It's good to know that even in tough economic times, there are still a lot of people willing to share their resources for the good of others!

Thanksgiving in Costa Mesa

Since Renata had to work the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we stayed in the area and got to celebrate with the SoCal part of our family. (There are just a few more photos to see if you click on the posting title.)

Catching Up: CLA in San Jose

I always enjoy the annual California Library Association conference learning opportunities, special events, and seeing old friends. This was my second CLA in San Jose (the last one was spent finishing and turning in another set of culminating papers so I could finally get my MLIS!) This time, besides the workshops and speakers, I got to tour the Adobe Systems corporate library shortly after arriving from Tahoe and checking-in Friday afternoon. At the end of the afternoon Saturday, I was treated to wine and hors d'oeuvres and a tour of the Almaden Community Center and Library. What a fabulous place! (These are photos of their TeenSpace.)There were other special events: Brodart invited me to the Friday night Awards Dinner and I attended the State Librarian's Breakfast Saturday morning. After returning from the Almaden Branch Library, I barely had time to enjoy the final hour of the San Jose State School of Library & Information Science Fundraiser at the San Jose Art Museum - a quick bidding time at the silent auction where I got two autographed books, a few more hors d'oeuvres and wine, and a brief look at photos of Frieda Kahlo and some fabulous cardboard and glass art. On Sunday morning, I took part in a poster session about the How I See It: My Place program.
Of course I took lots of pictures; you can see the album by clicking on this posting's title.

Catching Up: Tahoe Trip

With the Veterans Day holiday and two vacation days off before CLA's annual conference, I drove up to visit Sam and Jenn. I got to finally see their new apartment, visit Ingrid and see her new home, AND finally totally satisfy my Fall Colors desire (the Big Bear trip helped a lot but I wanted to see MORE!)
Photos of Sam, Jenn, Diesel, and Tahoe

Pictures of my visit and walk with Ingrid outside Grass Valley