Monday night. The sky was clear, the weather was calm and unseasonally clement. Oh, it was, wasn't it. It was, don't you know. What, what. It's a couple of weeks since the rare close alignment of Venus and Jupiter, that I first spotted hanging beautifully over the roof of Aldi. Ahh, the supermarket carpark, between the wonky-wheeled trolleys and the chatty beggars and the honking cars; the natural home of the spotter of astrological phenomena.
Monday night, and the close alignment of Venus and Jupiter has passed. Jupiter remains low in the sky and Venus has risen a few degrees higher, making its gradual getaway, across the solar system and eventually back again. Venus, where the days are longer than the years and the sun rises in the west. Jupiter could now be seen with a new partner in the sky. Our closest celestial body, illuminator of the night, sweeper of tides, major contributor to the conditions on Earth perfect for evolving life.
Monday night and the moon sat close beside Jupiter. A special moon – a crescent moon, illuminated by Earthshine where otherwise it would be blackness. And all I've got is a bog standard digital camera. No special lenses. My position is in the centre of Manchester, at the northwest point of the Blue Banana, the European Megalopolis, where the sky is next to invisible as an indistinct backdrop to street lights and tower blocks.
I photographed the sky from Seymour Park in Old Trafford and got three faint and blurred spots of light. Much less distinct and clear than was seen with just the naked (admittedly spectacled) eye. The photographer of this picture clearly knew much better, and was much better equipped for snapping lunar landscapes:
And here're my little pictures: