June 18th, 2022, 3:25 a.m. local time
2022’s planet season officially started for me as I stayed up to 3 a.m. to see the Moon as well as planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. Mercury was just starting to rise and too obstructed by trees to my East.
The theme for this early morning was “it’s been a while.” Been a while since I photographed the Waning Gibbous Moon, at about 76%. Been a while since I saw any of the bright planets, and this was a unique opportunity to see at least four, with Saturn close to the Moon. And been a while since I imaged a Constellation, in this case Capricornus, where the Moon resided in my Sourthen sky view.
I did observe Saturn through my 127mm Mak-Cass telescope with my stock 23mm eyepiece, the first time since last year. It was…small, but the rings were clearly outlined. I look forward soon to photographing it again with my Dobsonsian in somewhat short order.
Jupiter and Mars were relatively close. I wish all four planets were a bit closer and I would have attempted a panoramic photo. But with the trees and houses, and the planets stretching from due East to due South, there was no practical means to do this from my driveway.
Speaking of Jupiter, and Saturn, I cannot believe it has been 18 months since their Great Conjunction!. They were so close in December 2020, both in the same view through my small telescope! And now, here in June 2022, they have already pulled so far apart, like they were never together. Their next Great Conjunction will be in October 2040. If I am still around then I’ll be 65; it would be nice to see at least one more.
Venus, which I could only see in spurts through the East trees, was incredibly bright.
Capricornus is not a Constellation I usually photograph or observe, since it is low in my South and too dim through the light pollution with the naked eye. But I did mount my DSLR camera to take some pictures of it along with the Moon and Saturn in proximity. The traced outline is only a part of Capricornus since the rest of the Constellation is blocked by my maple tree to the right in this photograph:
Saturn’s next opposition is August 14th, less than two months away; I am sure I will be outside about 1 a.m. that month to capture the planet at is brightest, weather permitting. Stay tuned.
Equipment Used (for Moon closeup):
- 127mm Mak-Cass telescope
- 23mm eyepiece
- No eyepiece filter
- iPhone XS
- Smartphone telescope eyepiece adapter
- Nightcap app on iPhone
- 1/800 sec exposure
- ISO 24
- Focal length: 4mm
- Minor touchups in PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro