Moon and Jupiter Amid the Winter Stars

The Moon near Jupiter in the Winter Sky, January 21, 2013

The Moon lights up a sparkling snowscape on the night it was close to Jupiter, as Orion and the winter stars rise.

The Moon is the bright and overexposed glow at upper right. Look carefully and you can just make out Jupiter above the Moon, almost lost in its glare. Below shines Orion, with Sirius the Dog Star just coming up above the distant trees. The Pleiades, at top above the Moon, complete this winter sky scene from Monday, January 21, 2013.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go far to shoot it, just 20 feet out the front door. Standing there for just 15 minutes was a chore, with a wicked east wind blowing in -18° C temperatures. This was a night that would normally fall below my threshold of tolerance for winter observing. But with the Moon so close to Jupiter it was worth a little pain for the gain of a neat winter sky portrait.

The image is a composite of a long and short exposure, in order to capture Jupiter so close to the Moon which, in a single long exposure, would have overexposed so much its light would have swamped Jupiter.

– Alan, January 21, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

3 Replies to “Moon and Jupiter Amid the Winter Stars”

  1. Thanks Roy. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the colours around the Moon in this shot — I think they are more from the lens, vis a vis the red lens flares above and below the Moon as well. I had to use a 16-35mm zoom for this one to get the framing, but it tends to be prone to flares. I didn’t see much iridescence visually. But it looks nice in the photo!

  2. Hi Alan,
    Very nice winter scene, and it looks cold! The warm glow of your house light (?) in the foreground emphasizes the cold blue of the night. Also, that warm glow balances the red-edged corona and iridescence surrounding the Moon (described in the RASC’s Observer’s Handbook, p. 202).
    Thanks for a view of the prairie winter night!


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