Wednesday, March 1, 2017

THE APPROACH TO THE MARS AND URANUS CONJUNCTION Taken by Marion Haligowski on February 26, 2017 @ Lancaster, PA, USA

It has been a couple of busy months in the constellation of Pisces! The following image has been an ongoing project of mine since the end of November 2016. I wanted to record the movement of Uranus among the backdrop of the constellation of Pisces. The first set of images was taken on the evening of November 27, 2016. I took a sequence of images and stacked them using Nebulosity. The stacking was helpful to counteract light pollution and the occasional high cloud cover. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative until December 8, 2016; thus the gap in the path of Uranus at this time. Uranus was stationary on the evening of January 5, 2017.

After January 5th, Uranus can be seen moving eastward each evening. Fortunately, the weather began to cooperate and I was able to get many more photographs to adequately image the movement of Uranus. On February 13, 2017, Mars began to enter my field of view. I was able to image both Uranus and Mars together on the path to their close conjunction on February 26, 2017. At this conjunction, they were 0.6 degrees apart. I wanted to get a couple more after the conjunction; however, the weather had other plans!

The images were all taken with a Canon 70D and a Canon 100 mm f/2 lens. On each night a sequence of photos was taken with an iOptron Sky Tracker and stacked in Nebulosity. Each master image was then aligned in Nebulosity. Varying exposure times and apertures were used according to conditions, moonlight, light pollution, etc.

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