This observation was made on the last day of a family holiday near Faro in the Portuguese Algarve. We had flown out the previous Thursday. My throat was burning with an infection. I was struggling to talk and suffering from repeated coughing fits that kept me awake at night. In addition to preventing me from observing, this limited my enthusiasm and ability to join the nippers in the swimming pool.
Luckily I didn’t miss much observing. The days were bright and sunny before clouding over each evening with frequent heavy rain showers throughout the night. After a few days of resting in the warm sunshine my throat and the weather had both recovered.
Due to a lack of space in my suitcase, I had only brought my 15×50 binos, DSLR and camera tripod. The telescope, alas, remained at home. As the forecast was so good on Thursday, I set an alarm for 0600 to catch Venus, Jupiter and Mars as they rose before the sun. It was a beautiful sight. The three planets were set like differing size sequins against a sky as blue as a jay’s wing. The eastern horizon was lined with golden orange as the sun threatened to rise. On the other side of the sky, the waning moon shine brightly casting a pale glow over the wakening village.
Through the binos, two of Jupiter’s moons were seen, one on each side. The moon was a magnificent site with the terminator approaching Mare Crisum. Mercury was not seen despite a quick scan – I was careful to avoid catching the sun in the binos. All too soon it was time to pack everything away as this was our last day before driving back to the airport to catch the morning flight. What a fantastic way to end a fantastic holiday.