TAWBAS star party

Triple Conjunction by Rick Stankiewicz

Photo of the Week for February 27, 2015

Triple Conjunction by Rick StankiewiczOn the evening of February 21, sky watchers were treated to the rare sight of a triple conjunction that included the planets Venus and Mars, as well as the earthlit waxing crescent Moon, as portrayed in this lovely photograph by Rick Stankiewicz. He captured the scene in bone-chilling (–24° C) conditions from a location south of Peterborough, Ontario. The precise arrangement of the conjunction varied depending on when you viewed the trio. By the time darkness fell on the West Coast, the Moon’s rapid eastward motion had carried to a position above and to the right of Mars.

Stankiewicz used a Canon EOS 400D DSLR camera equipped with a Sigma 18-70mm zoom lens set to 36mm and f/4.5 for this 2.5-second exposure at ISO 400.

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2 comments on “Triple Conjunction by Rick Stankiewicz
  1. Eric Briggs says:

    But… but… there’s no such thing as a triple conjunction!

    Two objects are “in conjunction” when they share the same ecliptic longitude. For three objects to share the same ecliptic longitude at the same instant in time is impossible. Three objects will always be joined by a bent line, except for the special case when the line is straight… but in that case the odds of the line being parallel to ecliptic longitude are negligible.

    Thanks for the photo 🙂 It’s a lovely close planetary grouping.

    • Gary says:

      You are correct if we use the strictly astronomical definition of conjunction. But conjunction can also mean “a combination of events or circumstances,” which is the usage here. Not strictly correct from an astronomical point of view, but okay from a plain English perspective.

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