Planetary Twilight

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Jupter and Venus shining over a stand of trees on snow-covered Murphy Dome in Fairbanks, Alaska
Jupiter and Venus shining brightly in the sky

Back in 2012, a friend and I went out on Murphy Dome at night on skis. The temperature was -30 °F/-34 °C. For years since, I’ve told myself that 20-below was my cut-off for venturing off into the woods. Especially in the dark. I still do it, but at least I remember that I keep telling myself this. On this evening in early March, we spent hours photographing trees, rock outcroppings, and the gorgeous sky during blue hour. I dug a snow-pit to stay out of the wind while waiting for aurora.

Before the stars came out, two beacons, Jupiter and Venus, shined brightly to the west. I had some vague awareness that the conjunction was happening, but had gone out to watch for aurora. As it turns out, this ended up being my favorite photo from this evening. The northern lights didn’t materialize much, and I got some mild frostbite on my toes and fingers after about 3 hours in the cold wind.

The next Venus-Jupiter conjunction will occur on February 11, 2021.

CameraNikon NIKON D7000 (Current model NIKON D7500)
LensTokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8) Nikon MountCanon Mount
Focal Length11.0 mm (16.0 mm in 35mm)
Aperturef/2.8
Exposure Time2s (2)
ISO640

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