Before sunrise on this morning, the planet Mercury appeared only about 1 degree to the upper left of the much-brighter planet Venus (seen here to the right of the bottom of the cactus).
Farther to the right, the constellation of Scorpius peeks above the twilight, with its central bright star Antares. The planet Mars, appearing the same brightness and the same pink color as Antares, is straight above Antares in the head of the scorpion. It is because of this similarity in appearance, and because Mars occasionally passes through the same part of the sky, that Antares got its name, which means Rival of Mars.
Date: December 30, 2004
Time: 6:45 a.m. MST
Location: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100F slide
Focal length: 40 mm
Exposure time: 15 seconds
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000