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Sunset and Moonset at 2008 Equinox

By: Juan Carlos Casado

 

Region: Europe

Site: Figueres - Spain

Date: 2008 March 20-21

The image shows first the apparent path of the sunset (top sequence) of 2008 March 20th, at the vernal equinox and beginning of spring. At this day the sun is situated at 0 declination, on the celestial equator, and sets exactly on west. The Sun was photographed through a solar filter at 4 minutes intervals. By chance in 2008 full Moon of the Holy Week (the last week before Easter to commemorate the Passion of Christ in the Catholic world) took place on the night of March 21th. As a result the Moon is situated on the celestial equator too but opposite to the Sun in the sky. Approximately twelve hours after the sunset the Moon was photographed (also with intervals of 4 minutes) to reveal it's similar path to the sun. In the image one can see how the apparent distance between both celestial bodies is increasing (the Moon moves southward, separating increasingly from the Sun). To capture the whole process, a DSLR camera was installed on a fixed support on the roof of a house, orientated to the west point. The camera remained fixed all the time and the pictures were taken by the same lens, fitting the exposures according to the Sun and the Moon brightness. An extra exposure was made to capture the foreground scene after the sunset. The illuminated walls of Sant Ferran castle in Figueres of Spain is visible. This is one of the biggest fortress in western Europe. All photos were digitally combined to get this final composite image. Juan Carlos Casado/Starryearth.com.

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