Roberto Porto captured Jupiter, Venus and the moon with star trails in the Canary Islands, Spain, Feb. 24, 2012.
Credit: Roberto Porto
Skywatchers around the world were treated to a spectacular celestial show over the weekend when Jupiter and Venus lit up the sky with help of a slim crescent moon. And the two bright planets promise to put on an even more dazzling display in March.
The cosmic views of Venus and Jupiter began at sunset when another planet, Mercury, was also visible in the western night sky. On Saturday (Feb. 25), the crescent moon hovered low in the sky near Venus, but by Sunday it had crept higher to shine near Jupiter.
"The moon and planets lit up the sky at dusk, what a beautiful site," skywatcher Scott Tully of Kent, Conn., told SPACE.com in an email Sunday. "As the sky grew darker Mercury shined through the twilight. The moon, Jupiter, and Venus really put on a show tonight I was very thankful for the clear skies!"
Venus and Jupiter have been steadily creeping close together in the night sky, as seen from Earth, over the last few months as they follow their own orbits around the sun. On March 12 and 13, the two bright planets will appear so close that you will be able to cover them with your fingertips, according to a NASA announcement. [More Skywatcher Photos Jupiter, Venus & the Moon]
Tully captured his serene photos of the bright moon and planets, with the red glow of sunset fading at the horizon. He was one of many skywatchers who sent in photos to SPACE.com from across the United States, as well as from Portugal, Spain and other countries, to chronicle the skywatching view.
In Spain's Canary Islands, photographer Roberto Porto snapped stunning views of the planets and moon from Montaña Samara on the road to Tiede National Park in Tenerife. "The moon and Venus can already be seen, even in daylight!" Porto said via email.
Porto also created an amazing time-lapse video of the planetary conjunction, which he sent to SPACE.com.
In Concord, Mass., veteran astrophotographers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre snapped stunning views of Jupiter, Venus and the moon on Sunday night as they sparkled over Minuteman Monument near the city's historic Old North Bridge. But strong winds on Saturday posed a problem
"It was gusting close to 50 miles an hour, creating wind chills way below freezing!" Aquirre told SPACE.com. "We had to give up after about an hour. The conditions on Sunday night were perfect — clear skies, a light breeze and relatively mild temperatures."
Skywatcher and photographer Jack Fusco braved the harsh weekend winds in Bradley Beach, NJ, to catch amazing views of the planets over Sylvan Lake. Fusco took the opportunity to catch a self portrait, snapping a photo of himself in a park bench while marveling at the celestial view.
"I always love watching and identifying planets in the sky," Fusco told SPACE.com. "It's a nice reminder than even in an area with a high level of light pollution you can still see beautiful things in the night sky."
If you snap an amazing photo of Jupiter, Venus the moon, or any other skywatching target, and would like to share it for a possible story or image gallery, please send images and your comments to SPACE.com managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.