Venus and Mars conjunction, with halos – February 21th, 2015
After a lovely sunny day, I’ve traveled together with my wife a few miles south of our home, to hopefully catch a view of the Venus-Mars-Moon conjunction. We’ve installed our equipment in a field, and waited for the sunset.
At first, we thought that the cirrus front rolling in would ruin our view of the conjunction, but eventually, the spaces between the clouds allowed for some photographs to be acquired.The following two shots, made by my wife, show the entire conjunction, with the Moon included.
Not little was our surprise when we saw in the pictures an elliptical halo around Venus. During recent years, I did see coronas around Venus, and small halos, but never an elliptical halo.
The following image shows the halos around Venus and Mars in a High Dynamic Range image, made out of three frames with different exposures. Notice the colors.
I’ve switched afterwards to Jupiter and Sirius, and found them both surrounded by the same type of elongated halos. This added quite a bit to the show, despite the phenomenon being very hard to see with the naked eye; only around Venus the halo was clear, but small.
A combined effort:
Of course, the Moon had also a sort of halo, which was rather hard to image with the 65mm refractor. 15 frames with exposures from 8 seconds to 1/320s were combined into the following HDR images, showing a blue aura around the lunar crescent: