On the first day of July, Venus and Jupiter (the third and fourth brightest objects in the sky), were in a close conjunction, when the two were separated by less than a moon width (0.45°) apart. Venus was to the south of Jupiter. Conjunctions of these two bright planets produced a beautiful spectacle this year in the evening sky. The closest approach occured at 09h in the morning sky, Venus was so bright that it could be spotted fairly easily through binoculars if you knew where to look. It has been suggested that an even closer conjunction of these two planets was responsible for the Star of Bethlehem story: See The 'STAR OF BETHLEHEM' page, obtainable from the 'MENU' (or 'MORE') page, above.




These pictures were taken on the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2015 by IAN ATKINSON of Newby, SCARBOROUGH, UK.  he used a FUJI J2 camera. The images were taken between 22h 19, and 22h 22 local time (British Summer Time) Thanks Ian!


The Brighter and lower of the two objects is Venus. Jupiter is the fainter. 

JUNE 30, 2015 - 22h 20m local time (21h 20 UT)

JUNE 30, 21h 22 UT Venus and Jupiter's 2015 conjunction in the evening sky. Notice the subtle contast in colour between the darker methane clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere, to the white, highly reflective, sulphuric acid clouds of Venus
Photos : Ian Atkinson.

Many thanks to our friend Mary Petr in Australia for this excellent attempt at imaging the Waxing Crescent Moon in close proximity to Venus and Jupiter on Saturday evening, JULY 18, 2015.
Notice 'earthshine' illuminating the night portion of the moon's disc.

Mary tells us:
'The camera is a Panasonic DMC-TZ40. Date: 18 July 2015. Time between 6.30 and 6.45 pm. Place: Toowoomba, Queensland, Coordinates : -27.580 S 151.980 E.'
Mary also adds that Regulus (alpha Leonis) was also visible at the time, just to the left of Venus, and on closer inspection of her image the brightest star in Leo is just visible. the two vertical streaks lower down in the picture are the shaded windows of a house nearby.