Astro photography
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Venus and an Old Moon

Venus and an Old Moon, June 30, 2011. Observing or photographing the Moon when it is very young or very old, i.e. within about 24 hours of being a New Moon, is a challenge. All of the circumstances are working against you — only a tiny percentage of the sunlit Moon is visible so its light is faint, it is close to the Sun so the sky is bright, and it is low on the horizon so its faint light has to pass through the filter of Earth's atmosphere. It's rewarding however when you can find the Moon's thin sliver of light.

The effect is subtle, so where is the Moon in this photograph? The bright, star-like object in the upper part of the photograph is the planet Venus, which helped me to locate the Moon. The faint, thin, whisker of curving light in the centre of the photograph, just to the lower right of the small bird, is the Moon.

The photograph was taken at 5:09 a.m. EDT when the Moon was 23 hours and 45 minutes from new. The Moon was just one percent illuminated, and it was just over one degree above the horizon.

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Steve Irvine
R.R. # 2
Wiarton, Ontario
Canada N0H 2T0
(519) 534 2175
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