Venus Jupiter Moon Conjunction

Venus Jupiter Moon Conjunction by Jeff Sullivan

Via Flickr:

Update June 2017: My photo has been published as the lead photo in an article in the August 2017 Sky and Telescope Magazine by Don Olson. An article on that article appears on the University of Texas Web site, along with a copy of this photo:
‘Celestial Sleuth’ identifies Lord Byron’s stellar inspiration…
Here’s their description:
“On August 23, 2014, astrophotographer Jeff Sullivan observed the Moon with Jupiter nearby in a morning twilight sky. Glitter paths below three celestial bodies reflect in the waters of California’s Mono Lake in this morning twilight scene captured by astrophotographer Jeff Sullivan. Venus, at lower left, has just risen above the distant hills. Jupiter, with its Galilean satellites visible, stands higher in the sky, just below the stars of the Beehive Cluster, M44. The faint glow of Earthshine appears on the “dark” part of the waning crescent Moon. Automobile headlights illuminate the tufa rocks on the shore of Mono Lake in the foreground.”

Apparently no other photographers had planned to shoot here, although one car did pull in to watch the moon and its headlights were left on briefly, providing some unplanned light painting on the tufa-strewn shoreline.

The sky gradually brightened as twilight “blue hour” progressed, and the view of the moon became more clear and it tone more white as it rose above the densest slice of atmosphere. Venus increased in apparent brightness as it rose, and hints of the approaching sunrise could be seen on the horizon.

I should explain why you can see the full disk of the moon even though the sunlit part is only a slim crescent. You can see the part of the moon not illuminated by the sun because the side of the moon facing us is illuminated by the light of a nearly “full earth”… the entire face of the earth reflecting sunlight onto the area of the moon in shadow.

The light from a slim crescent moon is dim enough that I am able to use an exposure close to what I use on dark nights, so you can pick a lot of detail in the foreground and sky, even though it’s twilight / blue hour.


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