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Setting Moon & Picacho Peak;
Venus-Mercury Conjunction

Posted: 4 March 2018

Saturday morning, 3 March 2018, I watched the setting Moon. 0750 MST: took this D850 DSLR photo (FL 280mm) of the Moon and Picacho Peak (31 miles away):


Shortly after the photo was taken the Moon disappeared from view due to the haze and brightening sky.

Open: Saturday, 3 March 2018, 1814 MST
Temperature: 76°F
Session: 1210
Conditions: Mostly clear (except in west)

Equipment Used:


Venus and Mercury were at their closest this night (1° 04'). Unfortunately, there were clouds along the western horizon.

I opened the observatory dome but did not power on the 12" LX600 due to the approaching clouds.

1822 MST: sunset.

I set up the Nikon D850 DSLR + Tamron 150-600mm lens on a camera tripod at a convenient location between the house and observatory.

1825 MST: this is how the western sky looked (f/11, 1/30sec, ISO 100, FL 150mm):


Fortunately, for awhile Venus and Mercury were visible just slightly higher in the sky than the band of clouds.

1838 MST: Venus and Mercury (f/8, 1/40sec, ISO 100, FL 600mm, cropped):


1846 MST: Venus and Mercury, clouds, and mountains (f/6.3, 1/15sec, ISO 100, FL 150mm):

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1856 MST: the clouds obscured the planets.

I mounted the iOptron SkyTracker Pro on the camera tripod in the hopes of doing some Orion nebulae wide-angle astrophotography once Astronomical Twilight ended (1944 MST).

1911 MST: the clouds were now higher in the sky and getting close to the constellation of Orion. I decided to give up imaging for this night.

Close: Saturday, 3 March 2018, 1918 MST
Temperature: 61°F
Session Length: 1h 04m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

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