Big Five from Africa and Twilight Arch

November 22, 2011

Astro_Big_Five_in_Africa_c-by-EvB

Photographer
: Eduard von Bergen; Eduard's Web site
Summary Author: Eduard von Bergen; Jim Foster

The photo above shows a gathering of planets and the waning crescent Moon as captured from Tivoli, Namibia just before dawn on May 30, 2011. The "Big Five" in Africa refers to the top five big game animals; lion, leopard, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, and elephant. On this late autumn morning (Southern Hemisphere), however, I was able to a bring down a prize night-sky quarry -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and our Moon all in the same frame. Venus shines brightly at magnitude -3.9, Jupiter at -2.2; Mercury at -1.0, and Mars glows dimly at 1.4 magnitude. Only five percent of the slender Moon was illuminated. The shallow arching band of red, gold and yellow at the bottom of the photo is the twilight arch. Sunlight from the rising Sun (still about six degrees below the horizon) is scattered by the cloud-free atmosphere. 
 
Photo details: Canon EOS 20Da camera; sigma 24mm-70mm zoom-objective; 1/5 sec. exposure; 27mm f/3.5; 800 ISO 800; small table tripod.