Venus, Jupiter and Rome: a breathtaking view of a memorable conjunction (29 June 2015)
It is well known that looking at the sky, at night, is always a rewarding experience. But the involvement can be greatly deeper when something special up there shows above a memorable panorama, mixing beauty both in heaven and on earth.
This is surely the case for the Venus–Jupiter conjunction I could observe from Rome these days. Finally, this long awaited event entered its climax, once the two planets were close enough to be a very obvious feature in the sky at sunset. I would say the dances opened on 20 of June, when a tiny Moon shared the same spot in the sky as Jupiter and Venus. Since then, it has been great to see, by naked eye, how the faster Venus approached Jupiter, night after night.
On 28 June 2015 I had a memorable sight, picking my observing site in a widely celebrated spot of Rome, between “Trinità dei Monti” (hanging above the famous Spanish Steps) and “Pincio” in Villa Borghese: Saint Peter Basilica was just below those two cosmic wanderers.
On 29 June 2015, the Saints Peter and Paul Feast, I wanted another panoramic viewpoint and I chose it from one of my favorites: Piazzale Caffarelli, next to Campidoglio square designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti (who designed the S. Peter Dome, too), where the venerable Musei Capitolini are.
I reached the place well in advance, around 8pm, when the Sun was setting. The sky started to clear and the small clouds were playing with the stunning light of the end of the day: a sight by itself. I managed to properly setup everything and a few people, looking me handling that stuff, were promptly informed by me about the conjunction.
I had with me a great Canon 7D Mark II body with the excellent Canon 17-55-f/2.8 IS lens (a lens I really find unmatched for this kind of work), as well as a support to keep them while imaging.
The show already started before the planets were visible: I was welcomed by an elegant sunset, as you can see below
Soon after the sunset, colors started to amaze me a lot: I was blessed with very spectacular, not invasive clouds making the moment unforgettable: I felt as I was part of a painter’s wonderful palette.
It was matter of an handful of minutes and I started concentrating an Venus and Jupiter, slowly climbing the scenery. I spotted Venus very easily when the Sun was still above the horizon, but I needed a small amount of darkness to firmly see Jupiter, too. At some point, the planetary couple was simply stunning, as you can see below:
29 June celebrates Peter and Paul, both patron Saints of Rome. Indeed, at some point I was awarded with a bonus: fireworks from S. Angelo Castle, possibly added more to the overall enjoyment of a memorable experience.
It was hard to wake up from this dream and think I could possibly reach another venerable location. While my head was rapidly finding a suitable one (I had to run, the planets were rapidly setting and clouds were increasing), I wanted to capture another shot, to say thanks and goodbye to those beauties.
Meanwhile, I decided to go to Colosseum and see if there was a suitable panoramic place. It was hard, because I had to explore all around the Wonder of the World and that took time. Finally, I have found a spot I liked, providing a very nice view including Colosseum, Arco di Costantino and, of course, Venus and Jupiter:
Then, I went back to home. On the way back, I stopped at Quirinale, and had a view: another stunning sight. I had a nice conversation there with a couple of policemen, at first worried by the strange stuff (which I did not use, anyway, as I only wanted to admire that with my eyes) I was bringing with me, then reassured and amazed by the sight: too bad the Italian President could not join!
I will keep forever those amazing emotions, feelings and memories. I feel lucky for being in love with the sky, nature and beauty and I hope these pictures of mine will promote some good feeling to you, too.
All the images here are copyright by Gianluca Masi and cannot be used without permission
Support The Virtual Telescope Project!
If everyone reading this right now would donate something, our fundraiser would be done in a few days. Please, donate and receive a stunning, LIMITED EDITION image of the eclipsed Moon rising above the Colosseum in Rome and one of a potentially hazardous asteroid taken by the Virtual Telescope, specifically made for supporters like you!
donate now (you can adjust the amount later)