Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama

Conjunction - 9 Jan. 2021

Mercury is about to set in this last triple conjunction shot. From top to bottom- Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury.

For me, astronomically, 2021 started with another conjunction. This one, involving Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury was more widely spaced than the tight Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of December 2020. Due to the short time between sunset and setting of Mercury, this was a scramble to find the planets, focus, and shoot. Because of the low altitude of the planets, I was a bit pessimistic about having a clear view of the conjunction, but luck was with me.

If you look very carefully, you can see one of Jupiter's moons, Ganymede, in the shot (above, left of Jupiter). Europa and Callisto were also (barely) captured in the shot. Europa is near Ganymede, slightly closer to Jupiter, and Callisto is on the the opposite side of Jupiter, very close to the planet. Io was behind Jupiter at this time.

Photo info:
  • Date/Time: 9 Jan. 2021 - 17:48 PST
  • Location: Vanishing Point Observatory
  • Camera: Nikon D850 @ ISO 400
  • Exposure: 1/10 sec.
  • Lens: Borg 76ED (500mm FL) with Borg 0.85x reducer
  • Filter: --
  • Mount: photo tripod
  • Image processing: Lightroom / Photoshop