The Show Ain’t Over — Venus Pleiades Conjunction Continues

Last night’s close conjunction was a once every 8-year event. Despite the brilliance of Venus I could still see the four bright Pleiades to the right of the planet with the naked eye. Details: 35mm lens at f/4.5, ISO 2000 and 8 seconds. Bob King

Did you see Venus and the Pleiades last night? Although it was mostly cloudy at my place a few holes provided several quick viewing opportunities. For me there were two surprises. First, I could still see the little trapezoid of stars to the right of Venus with the naked eye. I thought the glare of Venus might block them from view. Second, the view in binoculars was simply amazing — the planet was so bright compared to the tiny stars it felt like looking at the sun.

Venus and the Pleiades through a 200mm telephoto lens on a tracking mount. The insane halo around Venus is caused by the blades of the camera’s diaphragm, the part that determines how much light falls on the sensor. It works much like the iris in your eye.  If you take a photo of a brilliant point object with the lens wide open (f/2.8 in my case) it will appear round, but if you “stop down” or close up the aperture to f/4.5, the blades create a crown effect. Details: 200mm lens at f/4.5 and ~20 seconds at ISO 400. Bob King

Don’t think the show is over! Venus will still gleam on the cluster’s doorstep just one moon diameter to its east tonight. Step outside sometime between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. and face west-northwest for a look. And do bring binoculars!

Facing west tonight, April 4 around 8:30-10 p.m. Venus will direct you to the V-shaped star cluster called the Hyades and Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus the bull. Stellarium

3 Responses

  1. Edward M Boll

    I could kick myself for forgetting. I woke up to see the 3 planets and Mars and Saturn had already faded into the dawn. Well, there’s always tonight. Last night was bitter cold anyway, a lot of ice. Well, of course I don’t believe that comets are Omens of disaster, but I would call Corona a triple disaster in intensity. And I look forward when we get back to normal, hopefully by May, as we have a potential bright comet to see, Y4. Of course then there is the one in June, Encke kind of tough to see for most, and now it looks like we may have one in the July evenings climbing to a high declination. The prediction is magnitude 6 for F3, but it is already near magnitude 14, and still gets 6-7 times closer to the Sun by July 3. I am hoping for a magnitude of 3. We will have to wait and see.

  2. Edward M Boll

    Well, I counted 6 Pleaides with binoculars and Venus last night on one view. I looked briefly for Comet Atlas but I wasn’t too optimistic about it because most are calling it magnitude 9. It was reported around 7.4 before.

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