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An astrophoto of the conjunction of the moon, Venus, and the Pleiades over the Saskatchewan landscape

Cosmic Meeting – 2020

Back in January, I was exploring Stellarium for potential astrophotography deepscapes for the upcoming year. I had a couple of potentials jotted down (including this Rho Ophiuchi photo), and as I progressed to March I found this opportunity to photograph the Pleiades, Moon, and Venus. It’s not often you can photograph the conjunction of two space objects with a telephoto lens with the landscape so the likelihood of finding a date when you could photograph the conjunction of three space objects with the landscape was minuscule. I quickly jotted March 28th down and worked on finding a foreground that would work. 

It had to be in a dark sky, I needed to ensure that I gave the Pleiades a chance to shine by finding some Class 1/2 skies where light pollution wasn’t going to hinder that detail, especially with a 19% illuminated moon already washing out some of it. After scouring Google Earth, I found this tree near Avonlea, Saskatchewan and planned to check it out before March. Well, I never got there. Life got busy and I couldn’t justify the 3 hours of driving to go scouting. So as March 28th drew near and the weather forecast turned in my favour with clear(ish) skies, I felt unprepared. I thought long and hard of a location that would work better, but ultimately couldn’t. So on the night of the 28th, I headed to this location sight unseen (when I called to get permission the day before, the landowner said the tree was still standing). Thankfully, because of tools like PlanIt, I was able to get myself into the right position to photograph this. This was certainly a challenging shoot due to the brightness of the moon and Venus but I’m happy with what I was able to capture that night. If you’re curious to find out more about the story, I filmed an astrovlog from this night that can be found here

This photo was the winner of a NASA APOD

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