The sky put on a show last night. Not only was there a beautiful full moon, but Venus and Jupiter came together in a conjunction that takes place just once per year. And the timing worked: the moon was rising in the east at the same time that the planets were setting in the west, keeping the moon's brilliance from obscuring the planetary show.
I got good photos of each (click on the pictures for larger versions). First the planets, already clearly visible in the evening sky:
And then the full moon, even brighter, though the background sky was still blue:
Yesterday afternoon, we were thinking that seeing the sky show was going to be a long shot. We've been in an unusual summer weather pattern with a high pressure system located to the east of us drawing waves of subtropical moisture over California. We have had clouds (a rarity for mid-summer) in the sky most of the week, gathering density enough twice (this past Saturday and yesterday) to provide a few sprinkles. The rain hasn't been enough to register at our weather station, or to affect the growing season, but those overcast days have provided a nice respite from what has been a hot stretch for us, with high temperatures mostly in the upper 90's and lower 100's, and unusually elevated humidity.
Still, when you know that there is going to be a performance in the night sky, you don't want cloud cover. When it broke apart around sunset, it gave the feel of a curtain opening at a play.
And the performance turned out to be memorable.