Four In A Row


June 17, 2007

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On this evening, four evenly-spaced lights were arrayed across the western sky: the bright star Regulus, the planets Saturn and Venus, and the crescent Moon. The seemingly-close arrangement was only an illusion; the four objects were actually at vastly different distances from Earth. The Moon was a relatively "close" 235 thousand miles away, Venus 59 million miles, Saturn 910 million miles ... while Regulus was a staggering 426 trillion miles away! The Moon, Venus and Saturn are along a line across the sky known as the ecliptic, which traces the plane of our solar system -- but it is only due to chance that the star Regulus falls on this line.

Date: June 17, 2007
Time: 8:27 p.m. MST
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100F slide
Focal length: 40 mm
Aperture: f/4
Exposure time: 8 seconds
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000

Revised: July 5, 2007
Copyright © 2007 Joe Orman
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