News Release

In case you missed the conjunction

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photo of conjunction of moon, Venus, Jupiter

St. Cloud State University student Jonathan Leonard took this shot of the conjunction of the moon with Jupiter and Mars at sunset Monday, Dec. 1, near Darwin, Minn.  In a rare event, the crescent moon, 252,000 miles away, was aligned with the two brightest planets in the sky, Venus, 94 million miles away, and Jupiter, 540 million miles away.  Leonard, who is a junior majoring in mass communications, took the shot after students in Astronomy 106, Concepts of the Solar System, were alerted to the special event by Professor Maria Womack, physics, astronomy and engineering science.  Because Womack’s course is online, photos were submitted by students from as far away as North Carolina. 

This celestial event has been called the "frownie face" conjunction because the moon appears to make a sad face and the two planets look like the face's eyes.  Venus and Jupiter can be seen at sunset toward the southwest for a few more weeks, with Jupiter the one on the right. 

Background information on the alignment at http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16175-rare-celestial-trio-dazzles-sky-watchers-.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news.  Leonard can be reached at 320-583-8523, lejo0606@stcloudstate.edu.

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