The first days of each month, I check in “tonight sky” to look for some targets. February’s chapter announced a conjunction of two planets and the moon so I wrote a reminder on the Calendar for the 19th and the 20th. I don’t usually sketch the conjunctions, but take pictures of them instead. I also wanted to get a good capture of the scene and picture seemed, to me, to be the best way to do it.
I have a few pictures from previous conjunctions, but this one is first I published from our new camera, a Canon T5. I’m not an expert on astrophotography, but I have been doing some shot sessions to understand the manual settings to get good pictures and of course, this conjunction was a good opportunity to try. I set up the camera focused on the infinite and with 2 seconds of exposure and aperture F/10 I got a nice picture of the scene.
Because Mars was in contrast with Venus, I felt that the Martian red color seemed more intense than usual. According to Stellarium, Venus was shining at magnitude -3.84 while Mars was shining at magnitude 1.26. At about 20:00 hours, the planets were separated by about 46 arc minutes from each other. Because the camera has a short lens, I could not get a closer view of the moon, but it seemed very big, the product of an optical illusion and it was just in the perfect position to decorate the sky with a big smile.
These kind of astronomical events are easy to enjoy with just the eyes, but because sometimes we don’t know what we are seeing, we don’t put our attention to them. Five of our solar system planets are easy to see without optical instruments and conjunctions are kind of common events. To enjoy these events the only requirements are a clear sky and the mood to go and see. At the end of this entry, I will leeave the link of Tonight sky to check every month.
I wish all of you, clear skies!
Edited by Jennifer Steinberg (editor in chief)