Venus and the Pleiades - VI
Conjunctions between Venus and the Pleiades (M45) star cluster at favorable elongations from the Sun are relatively rare astronomical events. The last one occurred in April 2004 and the next is in 2020 (source: More Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, Jean Meeus, 2002). The Pleiades is one of the most famous night sky asterisms and is also known as the Seven Sisters, Subaru and M45 (from the Messier Catalog of Deep Sky Objects).
In April 2012, Venus and the naked-eye star cluster were again in close proximity for several days, and with Venus favorably placed in the evening sky just days after its Greatest Eastern Elongation from the Sun on March 26.
The image above shows the close conjunction of Venus and the Pleiades (M45) on the evening of 2012 April 5 (local time) from Portal, AZ. A Nikon D90 and a Nikkor 300mm lens were used to capture the event (North is up). The exposure was 4 minutes at f/22 (ISO 800). Camera tracking was accomplished with a Losmandy G-11 equatorial mount. The diaphram of the camera lens produced the diffraction spikes around Venus and the brighter stars.
Check Planetary Conjunctions for more photos of this lovely event.
For an almanac of other interesting sky happenings for each year, see Calendar of Astronomical Events.
- Conjunction: Venus and the Pleiades - VI
- Date/Time: 2012 Apr 06 at 03:03 UTC
- Location: Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, Portal, AZ
- Mount: Losmandy G-11 German Equatorial Mount
- Lens: Nikkor 300mm f/4 AI
- Camera: Nikon D90
- Field of View: 4.5° x 3.0° at 3.8 arc-sec/pixel (web version: 17.5 arc-sec/pixel)
- Exposure: 240s, f/22, ISO 800
- File Name: VenusM45-0057w.jpg
- Processing (Adobe Camera Raw): Noise Reduction
- Processing (Photoshop CS5): High Pass Filter
- Original Image Size: 2848 x 4288 pixels (12.2 MP); 9.5" x 14.3" @ 300 dpi
- Rights: Copyright 2012 by Fred Espenak. All Rights Reserved. See: Image Licensing.