Neighbors Down the Block: Venus and the Moon


Phoenix, Arizona, February 2, 2000

An hour before sunrise, I am standing in the middle of the street in front of my house. Why an hour before sunrise? Because on this day, the crescent moon and the planet Venus appear very close to each other (less than a degree apart) in the pre-dawn sky, and it is a sight I do not want to miss. Why in the middle of the street? That happens to be the best spot to photograph the conjunction with a streetlight illuminating the foreground but not shining right into the camera lens. I am lucky; no early commuter comes driving down the street, and I am able to observe and photograph the silent spectacle undisturbed.

Later, using the moon as a guide, I was able to still spot Venus in the daylight sky after the sun had risen!

Date: February 2, 2000
Time: 6:36am MST
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 on fixed tripod
Film: Kodak Elite Chrome 100 slide
Focal length: 50 mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure time: 8 seconds
Scanned with Nikon Coolscan LS-2000

This photograph appeared on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site on April 6, 2000.

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Revised: July 23, 2004
Copyright © 2000 Joe Orman
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