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Best photos: Morning planets!

Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego in Mérida, Mexico wrote on January 15, 2018: “Mercury down, moon and Saturn above, before a cold dawn.”

As 2018 opened, the planets Jupiter and Mars were closing in on each other in the morning sky. On January 7, 2018, they came spectacularly close – only 0.25 degrees apart – or about half a moon-diameter. On January 10-12, 2018, the waning crescent moon swept past Mars and Jupiter. This weekend, the moon is moving downward in the predawn sky, preparing to sweep past Saturn and Mercury.

Read more: Saturn, Mercury, moon this weekend

Read more: Moon, Jupiter, Mars on January 10-12

Read more: Mars/Jupiter conjunction on January 7

Neeraj Ladia in India wrote: “The great planetary alignment of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and Mercury (top to bottom) along with the waning crescent moon, captured in the predawn sky of Jan. 14, 2018.”
David Rojas in Guatemala City, Guatemala caught all 4 planets – Jupiter and Mars above, Saturn and Mercury below – and the moon on the morning of January 13, 2018.
Zheng Zhi in Beijing, China wrote on January 12, 2018: “We see the moon, Jupiter (bright and upper right in this photo) and Mars in the eastern sky before dawn these days. As the moon get thinner, the earthshine can be found in this picture. I took this photo near by Forbidden City.”
Martin Gstoehl in Valduz, Liechtenstein caught the moon, Jupiter, Mars – and a little streak of the International Space Station – on January 11, 2018.
Stephanie Longo in Colorado wrote on January 11, 2018: “The sky was gorgeous, but it was bitter cold at 8,700 feet in Mueller State Park. My fingers were numb, and I had trouble with my equipment, but I was glad to get one picture I like!”
William Eager in San Tan Valley, Arizona wrote on January 11: “My first time to see Mercury, but to see Saturn, Mars and Jupiter along with the moon was truly eventful.”
Dennis Schoenfelder in Alamosa, Colorado caught the moon, planets and Jupiter’s moons on January 11.
Moon, Jupiter, Mars on January 11, 2018 from Karl Diefenderfer in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Click in to view larger and see Jupiter’s moons.
Trish Collins wrote: “Moon, Jupiter and Mars just after fog cleared on January 11, 2018.” Jupiter is the brighter starlike object to the upper right. Mars is to the lower right.
Brighter object Jupiter, fainter one Mars, on January 7, 2018 – the day of their spectacular conjunction – via Jenney Disimon in Sabah, North Borneo. On that morning, these 2 planets were about half a moon-diameter apart. In this photo, you can also see the star Zubenelgenubi, above the 2 planets. In all the photos on this page, Jupiter is the brightest starlike object visible. It’s also now the brightest object visible in the eastern half of your sky before dawn.
Jupiter and Mars on January 7 from Greg Diesel-Walck.
Patrick Prokop in Savannah, Georgia caught Jupiter and Mars on January 7, at less than 1 degree separation. View is from the prime focus of the ‘scope.
Laura Martin in Stirlingshire, Scotland wrote: “It was definitely worth braving the cold in the wee hours of January 7 for a clear view of the Jupiter – Mars conjunction.”
Jupiter, Mars and the red star Antares – Heart of the Scorpion in the constellation Scorpius – shining over Hyderabad, India early in the morning, January 7. Photo by Abhishek Bethanabotla Abhishek.
View larger. | Dennis Chabot of POSNE NightSky Astrophotography caught Jupiter and Mars on January 7, 2018.
Deirdre Horan captured Jupiter and Mars from Dublin, Ireland on January 7.
Jupiter and Mars on January 7, caught over a frosted car from Whitehaven NW England by Adrian Strand.
Wodige Wehali in Atlanta, Georgia wrote: “This image was one of the best out 55 shots, taken on a frigid Sunday morning (20 degrees Fahrenheit) at 7:14 a.m. EST as dawn was breaking. You can see all four Galilean moons which look like 2 pairs of double stars.”
Nikolaos Pantazis in Glyfáda, Greece captured the Jupiter (and satellites) and Mars conjunction on January 7, 2018. To the right is the star Zubenelgenubi, a double star and the Alpha star of the constellation Libra the Scales.
Elizabeth Worthy Clark at Greene County, Tennessee wrote on January 7: “Almost froze my fingers off getting this shot of Jupiter/Mars conjunction at 4:10 a.m.”
Karl Diefenderfer in Quakertown, Pennsylvania wrote: “I would rather brave 1° temperatures than to miss this conjunction of Jupiter/Mars because of clouds.”
Steven Bellavia in Mattituck, New York on January 7, 2018 (temperature 6 degrees F.) wrote: “Jupiter, with all 4 moons showing, and Mars, from 4:55 a.m. EST. This was the coldest I have ever been outside to image anything!”
View larger. | Bright object is Jupiter, with its 4 largest moons all seen to one side. Second-bright – to the right – is Mars. Chirag Upreti wrote on the morning of January 6, 2018: “Jupiter (and its moons) and Mars seen close together from Bronx, NYC. The cold temperatures here cause instant white plumes of exhaust to form from heating vents, the light pollution from the city illuminates this with the orange tinge.”
Alan Dyer in Gleichen, Alberta, Canada captured this image of the planets and the little double star Zubenelgenubi on the morning of January 4, 2018.
View larger. | In this photo by Michael Holland in Lakeland, Florida, you can see Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, Jupiter’s 4 largest moons.

Submit your Mars and Jupiter photo here

View larger. | Michael Holland in Lakeland, Florida also caught Mercury near the sunrise! He wrote: “Mercury did not disappoint this morning. Ambient temperature 28 degrees, wind chill of 22. Articles from EarthSky though keep me going, rain or shine to capture, these images (weather permitting).”

Jenney Disimon in Sabah, North Borneo caught Jupiter and Mars on January 5, 2018. Watch for a little star above them, Zubenelgenubi in the constellation Libra the Scales.
View larger. | Greg Hogan caught Mars and Jupiter near the star Zubenelgenubi in the constellation Libra on the morning of January 4, 2018. Mars and Jupiter will be closer on January 7! If you have binoculars, use them to glimpse Jupiter’s moon – enhance the color contrast between Mars and Jupiter – and see that Zubenelgenubi is a double star.
Steve Pond (@aboveeg on Twitter) sent this awesome shot of the planets before dawn on the morning of January 3, 2018.
Dennis Chabot of POSNE NightSky Astrophotography caught Jupiter and Mars on the morning of December 30, 2017.
Steve Pond (@aboveeg on Twitter) captured the planets on December 28 ” … from a very cold and frosty southern England.”
The planets Jupiter and Mars were relatively far apart when the waning crescent moon swept past them on the morning of December 13, 2017. The moon will be passing them again around January 10-12. See chart below.

Bottom line: On Sunday morning, Jupiter and Mars were half a moon-diameter apart. Photos here from the EarthSky community around the world.

January 15, 2018
Astronomy Essentials

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