Venus and the Pleiades in April 2020

Click for full-sized image.

April 5th, 2020, 8:30 p.m. local time

Inspired by other blogs such as Heads UP! taking cool pictures of Venus near the Pleiades, I knew I had to get in on the action myself.

On Sunday night, aside from imaging the Moon, plus another target (stay tuned), the bright planet and star cluster were my primary objective.  Venus is now “above” the Pleiades in our perspective from Earth, but they were still very close to each other as of Sunday.

Observing the Pleiades has been a hobby of mine ever since I built my Dobsonian in late 2016, though I don’t think I have mentioned it directly on this blog.  Even in my light polluted environment, that big scope has the power to illuminate some of the faintest stars in the cluster.  They are all a beautiful blue.

For comparison, here is a previously unpublished sketch of the Pleiades I drew a few years ago.  I have flipped it upside down so it aligns with the photo I took on Sunday (Newtonian reflectors like my Dob invert the image).

Image settings for reference:

  • f/5.6
  • 1/2 sec exposure
  • ISO 3200
  • 140mm lens
  • Minor post-processing in PaintShop Pro

3 thoughts on “Venus and the Pleiades in April 2020

  1. Wow. Beautiful photo. It was cloudy here on the big nights, so it’s great to see photos like yours. Thanks for posting (and taking) it. I didn’t know you were a telescope builder, though if you’ve written about it, sorry I’ve missed it. I’m always amazed that regular people are able to do that. Seems like such precision work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Haha, yes, I did build a Dobsonian. I haven’t written about it directly for a while, but allude to the build at times.

      It was “only” construction of the core components and building the base out of an 8-ft sheet of wood from the hardware store. I did not go “full John Dobson” and grind my own mirror. I can see why he had to do that 50 years ago, but today when it comes down to time and effort, “make vs buy”, it’s just far easier to purchase the primary and secondary mirrors from an optics company.


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