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Moon and Venus #2

The crescent moon, lit by earthshine, and the planet Venus at dawn over the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Wales

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The story behind this image

Pre-dawn on a crisp, clear autumn morning and I'm indulging in one of my favourite early morning activities, a climb up and down my local hill, Moel Famau in the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

With my working day starting at 8am in a factory on the Deeside Industrial Estate, climbing in the dark is a normal thing to do for me and I really love it as you get to see stuff that is invisible in the daylight.

Stars, constellations, the milky way, meteors, satelites the moon and various planets are all there to be enjoyed in the dark when the sky is clear.

To find out in advance what interesting things will be happening in the heavens I take advantage of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics website, which lists interesing astronomical events for the coming month.

So I wasn't takem completely by suprise by this lovely conjunction of the waning cresent moon and the planet Venus, low on the horizon on the 18th October 2017, and had my long telephoto lens handy to catch the action.

What I wasn't expecting however, was the slight haze that took the edge off the very brightly lit crescent, allowing me to expose the scene a little longer than otherwise would have been possible and therefore getting plenty of earthshine detail in the unlit portion of the moon's face.

Also, that haze added a lovely glow around the planet Venus, making it much more visible in the sky than would otherwise have been the case.

Set low on the horizon, with some trees of the Clwydian Forest punctuating the horizon, the moon and Venus were just beautiful, and I spent several minutes after taking this photo just standing and staring at the wonder laid out before me.

But clocking in time waits for no man, and all too soon I had to climb back down Moel Famau for the drive to work, elated at having witnessed such a glorious scene.

What a way to start the day!

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Image data

Filename - moon venus 02.jpg

Camera - Canon EOS 6D

Lens - 100-400mm zoom @ 285mm

Exposure - 1 sec @ f5.6, ISO1600

Location - Clwydian Range AONB, North Wales

This image - 800x533px JPEG

Conversion - Adobe Lightroom

Comments - Tripod, mirror lockup and cable release used to prevent camera movement blur.