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updated: Sep 07, 2013, 5:30 PM
By Chuck McPartlin
Several impressive photos of the Milky Way over Santa Barbara appeared on Edhat
this summer. For those interested in astronomical photo opportunities, there are
some pretty lineups this Sunday and on Monday morning. They're a little more
challenging, but should prove worth the effort.
On the morning of Sunday, September 8, between 4 AM and dawn, the planet Mars will
be low in the east, passing across the an open star cluster called the Beehive
Cluster. It will still be transiting the cluster on Monday morning. Jupiter will
be shining brightly well above and to the right of Mars.
On Sunday evening, just after sunset, a beautiful crescent Moon will be closely
paired with the brilliant planet Venus in the western sky. Saturn will be a bit
above and left, and Mercury will actually be very low on the horizon to the right.
The star Spica will be just below Venus.
The challenge will lie in the greatly differing brightness levels of the objects,
with the Moon/Venus pairing being the easier event to capture. Finding a good
eastern view with a low horizon will be important for the Mars shots.
Mars will be about 210 million miles away, or just under 19 minutes away at the
speed of light. The Beehive Cluster is about 600 light years away. The Moon will
be about 235,000 miles away, or 1.27 light seconds. Venus will be about 99 million
miles away, or just under 9 minutes. Spica is 260 light years in the background.
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