With rainstorms for the first half of the week, I figured the sky would be clouded over, and I completely forgot about the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter tonight.
Despite wind, rain and even hail today, it cleared up this afternoon. I happened to run out for groceries and looked up from the parking lot to see a blue sky with Venus and Jupiter right next to each other!
And…I think I may have caught some of Jupiter’s moons?!?
The brighter planet to the right is Venus. The almost-as-bright one to the left is Jupiter. Venus shows diffraction rays, but Jupiter doesn’t…but those dots lined up on one side of it? They’re in the right location to be Callisto, Ganymede and (possibly) Io!
I’ve got to remember to use the telephoto after getting the wide shot the next time I’m taking night sky photos with planets. Just in case.
A full 22-degree circular halo spotted today, caused by sunlight refracting through ice crystals in the thin cloud layer. (It was around 65F at ground level.)
These halos are about the same width as a 1x photo on my phone (and most point-and-shoot cameras I’ve had), so I used the wide angle mode to catch the whole thing and then crop it down. I bumped up the saturation a little, but otherwise it’s unprocessed.
The flood control basin has been partly restored for stormwater infiltration and as habitat for native plants and migrating waterfowl, bounded by a city park on one side, baseball fields on the other, and hills all around. The city is currently expanding the basin while the water level is low.
From this afternoon’s walk along the greenbelt: About as many monarch butterflies in one photo than I’ve seen in the last few years!
There were a whole bunch of them clustered on a pine branch above the path. I wouldn’t have even seen them, but other people out walking had stopped to check them out.
I was just reading that this year’s overwintering monarch count is up to over 200,000 – a huge improvement over last year’s count of, I kid you not, 1,914. Though still not up to the millions that were regularly seen as recently as the 1990s. That article lists ways you can help the iconic species rebound, or you can follow the Xerces Society’s Monarch Call to Action.