I scooted out of the house this morning, binoculars, camera, and tea in hand , in the hopes of catching one installment of May’s early morning planet show. I was cutting it close. Prime time would be 5:10 am – I made it to Gooseberry at 5:06 am. But I’m ahead of my story.
Here’s what I wanted to see:
For this you need an unobstructed eastern horizon – Gooseberry offers this – and you need exceptionally clear skies. As I stepped out the back door to head for the car I immediately had grave doubts. I could see fog to the east hugging the horizon over the Westport River.
As I drove down Drift Road the fog was thick in spots, but surprisingly it cleared by the time I got to Horseneck Beach and I caught a glimpse of Venus out the rolled-down car window to my left! However, I had to put on my windshield wipers every five-to-ten seconds – there was that much moisture in the air – and the horizon was very red. I pulled up in the parking lot before the causeway. The horizon looked clear, but red. It took me a few moment to pick up Venus with the naked eye – but that was all I saw. I swept down and to the left using 15X70 binoculars and Venus as the anchor to the right (south.) No luck at first – and then, Jupiter popped into view. Terrific!
But search as I would, no Mars and no Mercury. Just too much moisture in the air as that red horizon indicated and these other two planets were significantly fainter any ways. I took a few shots. here’s what I saw.
Then I walked out to the towers on Gooseberry and back as exercise. And on the way back I saw this
– yep, fog inland over a portion of the Westport River and neighborhood near East Beach. Actually, I like this shot with the cormorrants in it better.
And yes, when I drove home I hit some fog at the bridge. All of which made it clear that I should not assume that just because I have fog at my house, it’s foggy at the ocean. I’ve always thought of the fog moving in from the ocean and smothering the whole area – and it frequently does. But there are exceptions. You can have instances when the fog is really just one or morel ow lying clouds – not a continuous blanket. My lesson for the morning.
Oh – and for more details on the May planet show, go here.