I spent a lazy Sunday writing blog entries and emails, reading an ebook and watching the best bits of an old movie (Hatari! from 1962). I kept one eye on the clock and the other one on the sun because I did not want to miss the opportunity to photograph the conjunction between Jupiter and the Crescent Moon (the moon passed within three degrees of Jupiter last night). I had witnessed a similar conjunction last month when I went hunting for Mercury and caught it.
I had read earlier in the day that you can sometimes see Jupiter before the sun sets with your naked eye. I could easily see the moon and Venus before sunset, but try as I might I could not discern Jupiter amidst the twilight glare, even though the skies were exceptionally clear, free of clouds and haze and the wind seemed calm or non-existent. I switched my camera from it’s normal lens to the telephoto and took closeups of the moon in the hopes that I would later be able to find Jupiter once I downloaded the photos. I proved that theory this morning with the following photo:
I spent the next hour taking the occasional snapshot of the triangular conjunction and several planes that flew near or through the area. To view most of the photos (the ones worthy of uploading) in an album (or a slideshow), click on this link.
I packed up the camera and tripod at about half past eight and traipsed back inside. I returned to my library and finished my ebook just a minute shy of ten o’clock. I needed to charge my Nook Color, which required descending downstairs again. Since I was up and halfway to the band room, I decided to drag the camera and tripod back outside in an attempt to photograph the constellation Leo and the visiting Mars. I had to switch back to the normal lens as I could not get the entire constellation in the field of view available through the telephoto. I took three or four snapshots of Leo and Mars, but I could not see the stars very well through the viewfinder or the preview display on the back of the camera. I just had to cross my fingers and hope that my efforts had captured enough of the stars to clearly see the outline of Leo. The best of the photos turned out to be the three second exposure shown here:
This is the same photograph edited to add lines to outline Leo and a label for Mars: