There will be a spectacular conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, just after sunset, this coming Saturday, 27 August 2016. Venus, Jupiter, and all its moons will easily be in the view of a high power telescope. Venus will only be slightly further away than Jupiter's moon Callisto. Mercury will also be close by, only about 5 degrees below Jupiter.
From Austin, they will only be about 10 degrees above the western horizon, 15 minutes after sunset. You will need a clear view of the western horizon to see the event. An hour after sunset they will be below the horizon.
The view will be spectacular by eye, with binoculars, or a telescope. Be sure to try to catch Mercury by eye or with binoculars. The close approach of Jupiter and Venus will allow the use of a high power telescope to see both. The simulation from SkySafari below shows the view from a 10mm eyepiece in an 1280 mm focal length telescope.
Venus will not show a crescent; it will be 92% illuminated. Astrophotographers should be able to use a Barlow lens to capture detail on Jupiter. All will look great by eye in the eyepiece. Astrophotographers should be sure to use different camera exposures for Venus, Jupiter, and Jupiter's moons. The exposure range for all three can span 10 stops.
Content created: 2016-08-21
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