Monday, February 27, 2012

Celestial Triple Conjunction

Occurring this weekend there was a spectacular event in the night sky.  There was a triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon, it was able to be observed, looking toward the western sky at twilight..  Although, the past few days I have not been up to par and have been home and not doing any photography, I had to get out to at least observe this event.Twilight Sky at Horneck Beach
We arrived at the parking lot at Horseneck beach, prior to sunset and set up our cameras..  I was using a wide angle lens, a 17-35 mm, that was set on manual focusing and I had focused at an object fire in the distance to make sure everything was in focus.  I had set my lens to an f-stop of 4.5, the camera also was on manual, single shot, and I attached a remote release.  My ISO was 800, and my shutter speed varied depending on my histogram.
As the sky darkened, after sunset, the first object that appeared was a crescent moon, followed by Venus, which was below the moon, and then Jupiter appeared to the left of the moon.  - _ROT9689-Edit February 27, 2012 NIKON D3SOf course, as the skies darkened the celestial bodies got brighter and slowly did the stars appear.  Also, low on the western horizon, Mercury was visible.  In the photographs, the hardest part about locating Mercury was the lightness of the horizon due to the lights coming from the city of Fall River.
- Named sky_ROT9694 February 26, 2012 NIKON D3S
- _ROT9694 February 26, 2012 NIKON D3S
Planets and Moon over Bath House

Other sky events that are coming up in March:  Mars, (in the East) which will be the brightest around March 4; Venus and Jupiter will be the closest in mid-March.  On March 12 and 13th Venus and Jupiter will only like 3° apart and will look like headlights in the sky.  An interesting side to this conjunction of Venus and Jupiter was this was the event that occurred in 2 B..C.,  known as the Star of Bethlehem.

Big Dipper and Polaris
Big Dipper and Polaris
. Prior to leaving, I took this picture of the Big Dipper and Polaris (the North Star).  The light area on the bottom are lights from New Bedford, Massachusetts