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Posted by on Sep 17, 2010 in Photography | 2 comments

Friday Photo 30: Appulse for When the Moon was in the Seventh House

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Friday Photo here. Let’s make up for that with a double dose today…

These are pictures taken last week on Saturday evening during the conjunction of the Moon and Venus. The appulse in my title is not a spelling mistake despite what every spell-checker I’ve run this through says! An appulse is an astronomical  term that refers to the very near approach of one celestial object to another, as seen from a third body. Usually it refers to the close approach of two planets together in the sky, or of the Moon to a star or planet  as the Moon follows its monthly orbit around Earth, as seen by an observer located on Earth. An “appulse” can also be referred to as a conjunction.

The first is a close-crop of the long exposure (8 seconds) original showing the fantastic radiance of the crescent moon and the effect known as Earthshine. Leonardo da Vinci explained the phenomenon in the early 16th century when he realised that both Earth and the Moon reflect sunlight. Light is reflected from the Earth to the Moon and back to the Earth as Earthshine.

Earthshine & Venus
“Earthshine & Venus” (c) Greg Pillhofer, 2010
Original Capture: 11/09/2010, 20:16 – Johannesburg, South Africa
Canon EOS 350D | f/5.6 | 8 sec | ISO-400 | 234mm | No flash

The two bodies were closest earlier in the day, but unfortunately the Joburg skies were well overcast for much of it so I couldn’t get a good moon in the daylight shot in. (I have one of those somewhere as well – might dig it out for a future Friday Photo). Also, I would have preferred to have taken these shots a little earlier in the evening when the Moon and Venus were lower to the ground and closer, but duty called. I only managed to get outside with the tripod after 8pm by which time the best views had gone already. None-the-less, I think these two shots make up admirably.

The second shot is (obviously) of the same event, but with a much shorter exposure time. I’ve always struggled to get a good clear moon shot – as in clear enough to make out the craters, seas and mountains to some degree. This one is a good effort for me…

Smiling Mr. Moon
“Smiling Mr. Moon” (c) Greg Pillhofer, 2010
Original Capture: 11/09/2010, 20:22 – Johannesburg, South Africa
Canon EOS 350D | f/25 | 1 sec | ISO-400 | 173mm | No flash

It was also a day or two after Ramadan, and the smiling crescent moon shone over the Eid ul-Fitr celebrations all over the world. Pretty cool ne?

As always with these things, I’d love a comment or two, or a criticism or two if need be. And clicking on the images should show you the enlarged versions.


    • Ta for that Cindy.
      Hope you're feeling better?


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