Astrophotography: Moon-Venus Convergence, February 27, 2009

In what has become a busy week for astrophotography, the Moon and Venus danced close together this evening, with the Moon in its faintest mode and Venus in its brightest.

Both were actually crescents. Unlike the Moon, which is in a crescent phase when it is least bright, Venus is at its brightest when it is a crescent. This is because it can only be a crescent when it is relatively close to us, and can only be full when it is on the other side of the sun from us (and thus fainter due to distance).

[Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture.]

Technical Notes: All pictures taken on my Nikon D200, tripod mounted with a cable release. The first three close-ups used my Sigma 50mm-500mm f/5.6 at maximum magnification. The fourth was taken with my Sigma 24mm-70mm f/2.8. The last two were taken with my Nikon 70mm-200mm f/2.8.

Hat tip to Paul G. for reminding me this was happening.

Saturday Update: I was rushing a bit to get this post up last night, and I forgot to post the real close-ups that I wanted. So here you go.

These are all crops of images taken with the Sigma 50mm-500mm f/5.6.

10 Comments on “Astrophotography: Moon-Venus Convergence, February 27, 2009

  1. Larry Gerstman

    Great Shots! We were rained here in NYC and Long Island.

    Where were you located when you took these photos?

    Larry Gerstman

  2. Brian Combs


    They were taken off my back porch, actually. I’m in Cedar Park, Texas, a suburb to the northwest of Austin. It’s somewhat light polluted, but that didn’t matter as bright as this conjunction was.

    Sorry to hear you got rained out. It was cloudy all day for us, and I feared there wouldn’t be much to see, but then it just cleared right up at the end of the day.

  3. alanna

    Hi! We saw this looking to the west from our back yard last night in Radville, Saskatchewan and had a debate going with friends on facebook as to what it was…the answers ranged from commet to the space station! Thanks for clearing that up:)

  4. cece

    Thanks for this. I have been scratching around on Google trying to find out what it was and found your post. It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I saw it from the heart of San Francisco and light pollution knocked everything out of the sky except for this, which made it all the more remarkable.

  5. Debbie Johnson

    I was looking for a picture on the internet for something about the moon and the bright light on
    Feb. 28. I live in Southern California. I thought it could be a planet, but I was not sure. Now I understand it was the Planet Venus. Great Shot.
    Thank you

  6. Gladie

    My sister called me (San Mateo, CA) from Denver on February 27, to be sure and look at the moon/Venus rendezvous. Then I made calls to my three sons to be sure to look for the moon and Venus. Now I have found you for a second viewing. What a delight! Great photos! Thank you for sharing these photos with all of us.

  7. deb k

    I was walking into a friend’s house (oakville, Ont, CDA) at 730pm on 27 Feb, and happened to look up at the sky – WOW what a sight. It was clear nite with alot of stars about, were you able to capture that? Thnx for posting your pics.

  8. Leslie

    I have always thought of my sister who is passed away while gazing at Venus..on 2/27/90 the moon looked like a smile right next to Venus. Coincidentally I buried my Father that very day and it appeared that he was smiling next to my sister in silent lucidity.
    Thank you for this perfect picture.

  9. Sean Manix

    Brian, we spoke via email shortly after this occurred. The nite you took these photos my father succumbed to cancer. As my mother and I left hospice feeling empty, we looked up and saw this beautiful site. this was a sign, as my dad was an avid astronomer, that he was ok. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Brian Combs

    That’s a great story, Sean. Thanks for sharing!

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