While the rest of the United States basks in a record setting heatwave, here in Woodinville, WA we are just coming out of a week long rain stretch into what was supposed to be some clear skies. And clear they were – right up until I had set up my equipment. So, after five hours of dysfunctional imaging spoiled by large wafting masses of dihydrogen monoxide, I decided to go ultra short focal length with the Canon Rebel XSI to see if I could capture some of mom nature’s beauty on a wider, less exotic scale before crawling into bed, tired and demoralized. And that’s when things went from duly miserable to moderately pleasant.

The moon and Jupiter, two of the brightest nighttime sky objects (Venus is brighter) make for a beautiful display when they’re close together in the sky. Throw in a dash of M45, sprinkle some cloud-trails throughout and one ends up with a rather functional image of nighttime wonder. A few “goalpost” trees in the foreground almost seem to call out for celebration! Ah yes, this works much better on an otherwise dysfunctional night.

While the moon here is heavily overexposed which normally wouldn’t be desirable, here I think it gives a whole new perspective on just how bright these three objects are. For the first image, I set the camera atop the telescope (which gives it some tracking), while the second has the camera simply propped up on a chair. What do you think? Which do you prefer and why?

M45, The Moon, Jupiter

M45, The Moon, Jupiter

M45, Moon, Jupiter

M45, The Moon, Jupiter

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