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Sax-Zim at Night: Jupiter, Venus & a Saw-whet

March 27, 2012 Category:

Midnight in Sax-Zim Bog during mid March is about as quiet as it gets…Except for the Northern Saw-whet Owl tooting away on McDavitt…and the Barred Owl hunting along the ditches of Nichols Lake Road. And, oh yeah, the spectacular night sky including the bright beacons of Jupiter and Venus: recent traveling partners low on the horizon. The dazzling duo have been visible together low in the western sky from dusk to early in the morning.

Here’s an excerpt from MSNBC.com

“Venus-Jupiter conjunctions are fairly special events, occurring roughly every 13 months. This year’s was especially stunning, experts say, because the two planets were visible for so long in the sky and appeared so bright. Though Jupiter is about 11 times wider than the roughly Earth-size Venus, Venus appears about eight times more luminous these days. That’s because Venus is so much closer to us than Jupiter is. So while the two planets appear close together in the night sky, in reality they’re nowhere near each other. The orbits of Venus and Jupiter are separated by Earth, Mars and the main asteroid belt.”

So while doing a late night owl survey up in the Sax-Zim Bog tonight (March 13), I decided to try to capture the pair of planets. The moon was not yet up and so the stars were brilliant. I put the camera on the tripod with my 10-20mm Sigma, set the self timer to 2-seconds (to prevent any camera shake from tripping the shutter) and let it go for 25 seconds at ISO 6400. I left the Tamarack low in the frame to highlight the stars and planets. You can see Jupiter and Venus low on the horizon just to the right of the big Tamarack.