Jim Horn, QPSA  

The Great Conjunction by Jim Horn, QPSA

January 2021 - The Great Conjunction

January 2021 - Jim Horn, QPSA


About the Image(s)

Sony α7Riv, Sony FE 200-600 5.6-6.3 G lens, 1.4 teleconverter, 1/15 seconds, f/6.7, ISO 200, tripod, gimble. I took this photo from my backyard in Havre de Grace, MD.
The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has not been seen for over 800 years. The closest Jupiter would get to Saturn was December 21 at 7PM when it rained. On Tuesday, December 22, the cold front came through after 5PM. The cold air cleared the sky and I got this. Using focus magnification of x11.9 on my 840mm lens equivalent I focused carefully on Jupiter’s moons, taking over a dozen photos, and selecting this because I could see the yellow band on Jupiter’s northern hemisphere.
In Photoshop I cropped away 90%, then adjusted white, black, shadow, highlight, contrast, texture. I reduced the exposure on Jupiter several times and used most of the sharpening tools again and again (sharpen edges, sharpen more, smart sharpen). I know it is still blurry because Jupiter and Saturn were barely above the horizon and the atmosphere is about 6000km thick. I used Photoshop dodge and burn tools extensively on the artifacts on Jupiter and Jupiter's moons. I feel exceptionally good about this photo because it is much better than what observatories posted on-line about the event. This is photojournalism. I wanted to capture a rare event. This is an event that took 800 years to happen. The next great conjunction will be on March 15, 2080.
I entered this because I think it is better than any other photo I've seen posted online. Let me know if I should have entered something else.

4 comments posted

Thorro Jones   Thorro Jones
I think from a photojournalism perspective this is a great photo of the Great Conjunction. It is better than most photos I have seen online and those taken by my local photo club. I also like the detailed explanation of the postproduction editing process you went through. Looking at the original photo I would never have thought that you could draw as much detail of Jupiter and Saturn as you did out of the photo. It gives us newbies to Photoshop postproduction editing something to strive for in our own work.   Posted: 01/05/2021 07:13:46

Sam Fernando   Sam Fernando
I have not paid attention to this genre of photography. Therefore, I don't have much idea comment on this photo. However, it looks like difficult to take photographs with such vivid details.

I would prefer a white border with each of these photos as they can't be seen as two different photos.   Posted: 01/15/2021 05:21:22
Jim Horn   Jim Horn
Sam, thank you for your comments. This is a very rare event. Imagine Jupiter eclipsing Saturn. The planets did not quite overlap but got close enough for their moons to "merge" in one tight viewing space.
At night, turn off all lights. Click on the finalized photo to make it full screen and increase the brightness of your monitor. You will see additional moons of Jupiter and about 3 or 4 moons around Saturn. This is one photo - not two. It is amazingly rare to see -- if you know what you're looking at.
A white border won't help because there are lots of stars and moons in the the shared area of Jupiter and Saturn. Jim   Posted: 01/15/2021 08:40:08

John Tabaczynski   John Tabaczynski
Jim, This is a fabulous image. I am surprised with only 840mm that so much detail could be captured, especially at such a low elevation angle. I am happy that you did enter this image. It has got me thinking about trying some astral photography. I would not have guessed that with our equipment such a result was possible. Thanks for the inspiration. Tab   Posted: 01/16/2021 13:04:28


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