The Moon and Mercury

Last night I took my first astro photos for a long time. There was a near conjunction of the Moon and the planet Mercury. I set up my Canon 350d and Sigma 70-300 zoom lens in my bedroom, pointing out through an unopenable (and dirty!) window towards a cluttered horizon.

By about half past eight it was beginning to get dark enough that I thought I might see something, but it was only at about ten to nine that the crescent Moon suddenly popped into view. I started taking pictures, one after another, playing with exposure time, focus and focal length in the hope of getting a good shot. I knew Mercury would be to the left of the Moon (thanks to the Planetarium program on my Palm PDA) and that it should fit in the field of view of a 300mm lens, but I couldn’t see it in the viewfinder or with the naked eye.

Of all the pictures I took, this is the least worse. Mercury is clearly visible, and it’s also the youngest new Moon I’ve photographed – just 1 day, 7¾ hours old.

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