Mars and Spica in Conjunction

July 12, 2014

Joe invited me to join him with the "Moon Benders" - a group of friends who have a dinner social every full moon, just a half mile from my place. Good company, and good socializing. As it got darker, and after the birthday cake - I promised them I'd get some full moon pix from the wharf as the moon came up over the ocean and the distant Big Sur mountains. Got on my mtn bike and sped down, got my camera at my place, and spend to the wharf, just in time to see a beautiful orange moon at it's largest of the year, coming above the low distant layer of fog. Alas, my 32GB SDD card was stiil stuck in my computer! "Demo" pix only, as the Nikon D7000 has no internal memory. No time to go back and get the SD card and still get the shots I wanted. But the second half of the double feature tonight was still up - red Mars passing only 1 degree from blue Spica, nicely visible from my deck

Nikon D7000 2.5 sec, ISO 800 f/4.2, 18-200mm zoom, Photoshop: AstroTools space noise reduction, levels, curves, saturation

Same lens and other settings except, wider angle. Manual focus set at center of infinity sideways figure "8". Mars is the red object above blue Spica, brightest star in Virgo. Tonight is their closest approach