Thanks to Tom Clark’s post on Saturday, and the clear blue skies we’ve been having recently, I was able to make something of what’s been going on outside our house for the past two nights.  Jupiter and Venus are very bright and close to the Moon.  This is known as a conjunction or appulse, and this – it looks like the piece of wire you need to blow bubbles –  is its symbol:

File:Astronomical conjunction symbol.png

The planets and the Moon were very bright; so bright that by contrast all the rest, stars and what have you, was invisible.  The only other light was coming from the other side of the lake.  I’m illiterate when it comes to reading the night sky.  From what I’ve gathered, the upper planet is Jupiter and the lower one is Venus.  For some reason in Tom’s pictures all three are aligned, with the Moon at the bottom, whereas from in Norway they form a triangle with the Moon in the middle.

My camera was fastened to a rock-solid tripod, so I’m assuming that the slight blur in the image of the planets is caused by the Earth’s rotation during the long exposure (it took, I’m guessing, about 45 seconds).

If anyone knows more about this, please feel free to add a comment.