Moon and Jupiter Amid the Winter Stars

The Moon near Jupiter in the Winter Sky, January 21, 2013

The Moon lights up a sparkling snowscape on the night it was close to Jupiter, as Orion and the winter stars rise.

The Moon is the bright and overexposed glow at upper right. Look carefully and you can just make out Jupiter above the Moon, almost lost in its glare. Below shines Orion, with Sirius the Dog Star just coming up above the distant trees. The Pleiades, at top above the Moon, complete this winter sky scene from Monday, January 21, 2013.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go far to shoot it, just 20 feet out the front door. Standing there for just 15 minutes was a chore, with a wicked east wind blowing in -18° C temperatures. This was a night that would normally fall below my threshold of tolerance for winter observing. But with the Moon so close to Jupiter it was worth a little pain for the gain of a neat winter sky portrait.

The image is a composite of a long and short exposure, in order to capture Jupiter so close to the Moon which, in a single long exposure, would have overexposed so much its light would have swamped Jupiter.

– Alan, January 21, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

The Moon Meets Jupiter

Moon & Jupiter (Jan 21, 2013) HDR with 320mm

The cool blue of this scene fits the night – a bitterly cold winter night as the gibbous Moon passed below Jupiter.

This was the view as the sky got dark on Monday, January 21, 2013 with a close conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter underway. The Moon was closer to Jupiter later in the evening but I wanted to shoot it at sunset to capture the duo before for the sky got too dark and the Moon too bright and prone to overexposure. Even so, to capture the scene as your binocular-aided eyes saw it, I combined 4 different exposures for an “HDR” stack.

This is the closest we in North America will see the Moon by Jupiter in a darkened sky until 2026. But just next month those in southern Australia get to see a rare occultation, or “eclipse” of Jupiter by the Moon. It doesn’t get any closer than that!

– Alan, January 21, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer