Tag Archives: planets

Four planets and the Moon over the Mercator telescope

I am back on La Palma (again), supervising our Master students at the telescope (again). Although I did not bring the ‘big guns’ from my photo gear this time, I still have my small camera with me. The first night of this observing run was my 100th night at the Mercator telescope :) To celebrate this, here is a picture I took of the beautiful planetary conjunction before Sunrise on the morning of the 11th with my FUJIFILM X100S camera (with an equivalent focal length of 35 mm) set at f/2.8, at ISO 800, and using an exposure time of 10 seconds.


Although the Moon looks full, it is just a thin crescent (which is better visible after clicking on the image), but the dark side is quite strongly lit by light reflected back from the Earth. This is called earthshine. (At the same moment, Earth looks almost full from the surface of the Moon, so there is a lot of Earthlight even on the dark parts.)

Moon, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, and the ISS


After a week of cycling, I am back again at the Mercator telescope, supervising a group of Belgian and Dutch master students while they are working on their observational projects. This is our second night, and we already saw a quite rare celestial conjunction. The picture above was taken with a FUJIFILM X100S camera set at f/2.8, at ISO 400, using an exposure time of 30 seconds. It shows the Moon and Venus towards the top left, the track of the International Space Station in the centre, and slightly hidden among the hundreds of stars, also Saturn and Mercury towards the lower right, just above the horizon. Use the finder chart here to identify them!