April 29, 2010
The photo above features the frigate D. Fernando II e Glória separating the crescent Moon from Mercury, Venus and Saturn. It was taken in Cacilhas, Almada, just south of Lisbon, Portugal on the morning of October 16, 2009. Note that these planets are parallel to the frigate’s rigging; nicely illustrating that all of the planets are situated on the same plane – the plane of the ecliptic. Brilliant Venus, opposite of the Moon, is slightly below and to the left of the much dimmer Saturn on this mid autumn morning. It’s shining at a magnitude of approximately -3.9. Per usual, modest Mercury is lying low. Look for it just above the horizon’s golden glow. The old Moon’s illuminated sliver offers a hint from which direction the Sun will soon rise and where to look for Mercury. Also noteworthy is the Moon’s partially darkened disk, made visible by earthshine.
Photo details: Canon 400D camera; ISO 400; 45 mm; F/14; 5 second exposure; 7:08 local time.