Dec
01
2008

The Moon and planets unite

Moon and planets #1
Moon and planets #1Courtesy Mark Ryan
When I was a kid I remember my dad would like to point out that the word "syzygy" was one of very few multi-syllabic words that didn't contain any of the "normal" vowels. Moon and planets #2
Moon and planets #2Courtesy Mark Ryan
The definition in an astronomical sense is when three or more celestial bodies in the same gravitational system line up in essentially a straight line. One example would be the Sun, Moon, and Earth during an eclipse. Another may be the phenomenon that was visible in the western sky just after dusk today. Moon and planets #3
Moon and planets #3Courtesy Makr Ryan
Here are four photographs I shot of the alignment of the Moon with the planets Jupiter and Venus. I don't know if the celestial alignment is technically a syzgy but the word has stuck with me and I'm still waiting to use it in a game of Scrabble.

Moon and planets #4
Moon and planets #4Courtesy Mark Ryan
PLEASE NOTE: From my vantage point the event was happening right in a flight path for the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport so aircraft kept flying through the frame. That's what all the streaks and extra lights in the photos are. The exposures were long, ranging between 6 and 15 seconds, and I used a timer so as not to shake the camera during each exposure. Timing the shutter with the aircraft was tricky but I got a few good ones.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I thought about taking this photo, but you did it. Thanks

posted on Mon, 12/01/2008 - 9:32pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

mdr, great photos! I tried to take some too, but my digital camera was not up to capturing the faint light of the stars. I dug around, and found some other interesting photos with Venus, Saturn and the moon in them. Some, like this one from 2006 make a sort of happy face. And this happy face from this year. Did I read somewhere that this wouldn't happen again for 54 years?

posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 4:22pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Thanks Joe. I read the next time this will happen is November 18, 2052. If I'm still around I'll be watching it from a nursing home wheelchair.

posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 5:14pm
mumzy's picture
mumzy says:

i am not mumzy, don't know how to logout of that username.
but i wanted to say thanks, i believe i should still be alive in 2052 if i live according to theory so i will get a chance to see it again! of course the supposed future is unseeable so accidents can't be ruled out, but...

posted on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 9:08pm

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