It’s a Moon, it’s a plane… it’s Jupiter!

Currently, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon are in the western sky at and after sunset.   This is a picture I took at 5:45pm on February 27, 2012.   The Moon is obvious in the picture.  Venus and Jupiter are small specks of light that are marked in the photograph.   Mercury is not in this field of view—it was lower and further west (down and to the right of the lower right corner of the photograph).   The commercial jet flying by added an extra bonus.

Human Journey

Meet the Author
Robert J. Vanderbei is chair of the Operations Research and Financial Engineering department at Princeton University and co-author of the National Geographic book Sizing Up the Universe. Vanderbei has been an astrophotographer since 1999, and he regularly posts new images on his astro gallery website.