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Aug 3-5 2013 Conjunction - Mercury-Mars-Jupiter-Moon


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nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 20-Jun-13 08:47 AM

The mornings of Aug 3-5 2013 (East Coast USA) will have Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and the old crescent moon rising at dawn.

The image below, from SkyMap Pro, are the circumstances of August 3 at about 4:38am my time on the East Coast. The moon will be about 3 days from new and a great candidate for Earth shine exposures.

There are 4 bright major constellations here, Gemini, Orion, Auriga and "the Horns" of Taurus. Interestingly, Mercury is, right now, in Gemini in the evening sky and the subject of our ongoing Mercury/Venus conjunction thread.

The map time is set to 15 minutes after the start of Astronomical Twilight, when full night time darkness ends and dawn slowly builds in the eastern sky.

With very favorable skies I think it would be possible to image Gemini and Orion, just rising, along with Mercury, and with at least the bright stars of these constellations well image.

That is what is so exciting about these circumstances, and that would be the challenge here. It would be a race against time as Mercury rises into the increasingly bright dawn sky. Somewhere between the rise of Mercury and the beginning of Nautical Twilight at about 5:02am EDST my time would be the very short window to do this.

With a full and clear view of the eastern horizon, and very clear skies, this will be a spectacular image. I can't think of a better set of constellations that fit into one 24mm FX (16mm DX) field of view that would include some planets and/or the moon.

A lot could be done with these circumstances, and various focal lengths. I could easily see setting up two cameras and tripods, covering 24-200mm or so.

The following evening (Aug 4) the moon will be now 2 days from new, and slightly below Mars. On Aug 5, the slightly over 1 day from new moon will be slightly below Mercury, and reasonably favorable and very doable. You have a 3 day window to take in some great astronomical landscape images.

Click on image to view larger version

Attachment#1 (jpg file)


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