Saturday, February 25
Get out your camera tonight because the night sky’s normally brightest objects pair up in the western evening sky. As the sky darkens (about 45 minutes after sunset), Venus glows brilliantly approximately 3° south of the thin (15-percent-illuminated) crescent Moon. The planet shines at magnitude –4.2, or about 12 times brighter than Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris), the night sky’s brightest star. For best photographic results, mount your camera on a tripod to minimize vibrations or the normal shakiness of your hands. Most imagers think capturing some earthly features (trees, buildings, a lake with reflections of the two celestial objects) adds to the appeal of the final picture. If you have a zoom lens, try several different settings with it. Also use several different exposure times starting with one second and going all the way up to 30 seconds or more.