Pictures of the Smiley Face Conjunction

Wow, well last night certainly proved to be more stressful than was expected! After a beautiful and clear practise run on Sunday night, it was supposed to be crystal clear on Monday night too but high cloud and then thick low cloud came in during Monday afternoon which threatened to spoil the whole event for me.

News of the rare celestial alignment had made it to all the media outlets and it got quite a bit of coverage yesterday. I gave a short interview for the local Star 104.5FM radio station, and I saw it mentioned on news.com.au, and the TV news as well.

It did clear for me, just! Here’s the first of the many images I captured.

Smiley Face Conjunction at Sunset

Smiley Face Conjunction at Sunset

The picture above is available for purchase – just get in touch!

POST EVENT UPDATE: The night turned out to be very productive. This post (and the images) were linked on a number of blogs, and also Spaceweather, which helped to kick-start a busy couple of days. It culminated in being featured on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on Friday, which also included being submitted on digg.com (almost 1000 diggs at time of writing).

I decided to try somewhere different last night, not wanting to end up with the same type of shots from the night before with the same foreground. So I stopped at Green Point at a lovely reserve on the edge of Brisbane Water.

Some thick cloud rolled in and actually started raining on me for a short while, but after it cleared the clouds provided a lovely backdrop for some beautiful landscapes.

I discovered that our Solar System celebrates “Movember” as well, as can be seen in the pic below – with the face having a beard and hair 🙂

Our Solar System Celebrates Movember

Our Solar System Celebrates Movember

I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, but while the conjunction was still visible I put up with it. I grabbed some reflection shots off the water before the wind picked up ruined the mirror-like surface of the water.

Reflections of the Smiley Face

Reflections of the Smiley Face

Smiley Face Reflections

Smiley Face Reflections

As the night wore on, longer exposures were needed to still capture the foreground and as a result the smiling mouth turned into an open/gasping mouth.

Smiley Face over Brisbane Water (HDR)

Smiley Face over Brisbane Water (HDR)

Smiley Face Conjunction - Jupiter, Venus and the Moon

Smiley Face Conjunction – Jupiter, Venus and the Moon

Smiley Face Conjunction - Jupiter, Venus and the Moon

Smiley Face Conjunction – Jupiter, Venus and the Moon

By about 9pm, clouds had covered the whole scene and it was time to packup and head home. I was up late processing the images and I’m feeling very gritty today but these alignments don’t happen often so I needed to make the most of it while I could!

This last image is a panorama of 6 images (with quite a bit of overlap), compiled using Auto Pano Pro. It’s reduced to 2000px wide for the gallery, but the original is almost 6000px wide.

Smiley Face Conjunction Panorama

Smiley Face Conjunction Panorama

After getting rained on for 5 minutes, attacked by mosquitoes, sniffed out by a wet dog who went for a swim just near me, stepping in water on the rocks (cause I left my red light torch at home!), and almost missing the entire thing due to clouds, I’m very happy with how the shots turned out.

Thanks for looking.

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