Solar system

The beautiful variety of objects in our solar system count amongst the favourite targets for the observer. The ASSA Shallow Sky Section coordinates efforts in this regards:

July 2021
Conjunction of Mars, Venus and the Crescent Moon on 11-13 July 2021

Shortly after sunset on the evenings of July 11 to 13, weather permitting, we should be able to see a fine conjunction (close approach) between Mars, Venus and the crescent Moon in the western sky. The trio will be closest on the 12th, as the Moon zips by. Such events are pretty to watch and present opportunities to capture a relatively rare sight photographically.

On the 12th, the sun sets at about 17h00 SAST (there will be some variance according to your location), with the planets reaching the horizon about two hours later. The Moon will set at approximately 18h25 on the 11th (and of course later on the following days, as it moves from west to east through the sky). During the intervening time between sunset and the planets setting, the sky will naturally darken progressively. Given the proximity of the celestial bodies to the horizon during that time, it should be possible to include interesting foreground detail illuminated by twilight.

ASSA invites all who are interested, to submit their photos of this event. The best three, as judged by Chris Stewart (ASSA President) and Martin Heigan (ASSA Imaging Section Director) will be featured in the 2022 Sky Guide (with the photographer of course being credited), and the photographers will each receive five copies of that Sky Guide.

Find out more about the photographic challenge