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Smiley Face Conjunction, 1st December 2008

Make sure you head outside over the next week and look to the West after sunset - you’ll see the brilliant Venus and Jupiter closing in on each other until they are at their closest on the evening of the 1st December, 2008.

What makes this conjunction even more special, is that the pairing is also joined by the thin crescent Moon - giving us our very own smiley face in the sky! Check the image below to see what I mean.

The view above is what you’ll see from mid-latitudes in Australia at around 8pm AEDST on the 1st December. Your view might be slightly different depending on where in Australia you live, and it might even be upside down if you live elsewhere on Earth.

Venus and Jupiter will be a close 2° apart, and the Moon will be about 3.5° away from both of the bright planets.

But don’t wait until the 1st December, just in-case it’s cloudy on that day! The couple of days before and after the 1st December still show a lovely conjunction of the planets but the Moon will be further away. The video here shows an animation of the motion from a few days before to a few days after the 1st December.

I just love conjunctions like this and love photographing them. Now I need to find a nice spot to set up and take some photos. Here’s hoping for clear skies!

Make sure you get out and take a look or a photo or two as well. I'd love to see your results posted in the Solar System Images forum on IceInSpace.

Good luck!

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