Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Look! Up in the Sky!

As gondoliers, we are well versed in many things involving our cruises,
including all those things that shine in the sky above us.
My friend Steve Atkins sent me this great summary of what's going on
in the sky this week.  I will be sure to share it with my passengers who are lucky to be on the water as it happens, and even if you don't get out on the water this week, take a few minutes around sunset to appreciate this unique set of lights in the sky.
Greetings Greg,

   I thought of you and gondoliers in general last week when I noticed that Jupiter and Venus were converging.

   I suppose most gondoliers are interested in astronomy whether they would put it that way or not. Certainly they care about seasons and weather and tides, especially when low bridges are involved. A beautiful sunset makes a great ride excellent for passengers. When photography is involved, the hour before the sun disappears can be magical. And again, a lovely view of the moon and stars makes a later romantic cruise grand.

   Well, tomorrow night, lucky passengers can have it all!
As the sun sets in the west, a full moon will be rising with Saturn a little higher in the eastern sky, and Jupiter and Venus will be chasing the sun. The terrific part is that Jupiter and Venus will be about 1/3 of a degree away from each other, which seems really close. They’ll be visible in the west for almost 2 hours after the sun sets, until they themselves set. Venus will be brighter because it is closer to us. Even though Jupiter is much larger, it is currently on the other side of the solar system from us, and it is much further away. The next brightest celestial body in the vicinity of Jupiter and Venus will probably be Regulus, which is part of the constellation Leo. Gondoliers will also note a post-sunset high tide typical of the full moon.

   I think a nice long cruise that started 20-30 minutes before sunset on July 1st would be particularly breathtaking.
Similar views will be available tonight and throughout the week, but by the weekend, the moon will be rising later.
I hope you get a chance to savor the beauty of the night sky and that your passengers enjoy it as well.

1 comment:

Tamás said...

The Jupiter-Venus proximity was indeed very noticable all over the world. I think the next similar occasion will repeat in 1.5 years time? Here are two photos amateur astronomers made in Hungary:
The two planets over the Royal Palace
Planets over the mid-country plains