Moon, Mars and the Moon's Glitter Path

January 10, 2020


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Photographer: Kevin Saragozza
Summary Authors: Kevin Saragozza; Jim Foster

I captured this photo of the Moon and Mars from Syracuse (Sicily), Italy, approximately 2 hours before dawn on December 23, 2019. The camera is facing the Ionian Sea. Because only about 10 percent of the Moon is illuminated, its magnitude is -10.3; still very bright compared to the Red Planet, which is shining at a magnitude of 1.6. At left is Beta Scorpio in the constellation of Scorpius. This impressive celestial trio lasted until just before sunrise. Earthshine, the non-illuminated portion of the Moon, is brought out here by a 4-second exposure time.

At bottom, note the Moon’s softened reflection on the sea. This is referred to as a glitter path and results from myriad reflections of the Moon itself on each and every wave.

Photo Details: Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II; Lens: EF70-200mm ƒ/2.8. Two shots: For landscape - Aperture: ƒ/8.0; Exposure Time: 25 s; ISO equivalent: 800; Focal Length: 142.0mm. For celestial bodies - Exposure Time: 4 s; Aperture: ƒ/8.0; ISO equivalent: 800. Post-production: LR; PS. Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 (Windows).