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Oh Venus…

Whatever role the goddess Venus plays in the fortunes of love, as Frankie Avalon’s song  suggests, the planet Venus makes a lovely astronomical object that dominates the night sky, outshining everything other than the moon and the sun. Venus at its brightest has prompted reports of UFOs and other celestial phenomena.

Venus at Twilight

I took this picture of the celestial queen  on the grounds of Keystone College’s Cupillari Observatory as the twilight began fading. Overall, the balance of the lighting and the framing are acceptable, but next time I will be trying to make improvements. This was a 25-second exposure at f4.5, ISO 200. Venus is blazing at -4.46 magnitude, overwhelming the nearby star Elnath in the constellation Taurus, which is shining at a rather pedestrian +1.62 magnitude.

A second picture I took of Venus and Elnath from approximately the same vantage point as the sky darkened was disappointing, but instructive. Again it was a 25-second exposure, this time at f5.3, ISO 800. It didn’t have quite the impact I thought it originally had in the image review screen, but I think I understood where to go from here.

Venus at Night

One of the problems, of course, is that with Venus as bright as it is, exposing for the foreground tree will tend to blow out the disk of the planet. I need to experiment further to find a more appropriate exposure value.

Oh Venus…I’ll get you next time.

Staff Writer Paul Sevensky is a communications specialist and amateur photographer.  When he isn’t shooting, he covers advertising and PR on his own blog, at www.paulsevensky.com. View all of Paul Sevensky’s posts on The Roving Photographer.

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