Saturday, April 26, 2014

View to the South: Corvus, Virgo, Mars, and Saturn

There are some great views to the southern sky this month, with Mars blazing near Spica, and Saturn hanging out in Libra. I also got a chance to see one of my favorite smaller constellations, Corvus the crow - also known as Spica's Spanker because it resembles a type of sail called a spanker, and because two of its stars form excellent pointers for Spica.

corvus point to spica
Single frame at f/4.5, 10 sec, ISO 800, 18mm
corvus the crow spica's spanker
Same image as above without labels
Next, I wanted to see if I could fit Saturn, Mars, Corvus, and Arcturus all in the same frame. At 18mm, my calculated field of view is about 64° horizontal and 45° vertical. Currently, Arcturus is about 38° from Saturn, Saturn is about 41° from Corvus, and Corvus is about 48° from Arcturus in a big triangle. It looks like it should fit, and it does!

virgo constellation DSLR
Single frame at f/4, 13 sec, ISO 400, 18mm - Gaussian blur light pollution layer subtracted in Photoshop
corvus virgo mars and saturn
Same image as above with fewer labels

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