Venus retires from the evening sky, setting beside St.Peter’s Dome – 15 & 16 Sept. 2018

After shining for months at sunset, Venus is ready to leave the evening sky, back to early morning shows. We captured the planet from Rome, while it set beside the St. Peter’s Dome and Basilica, on two consecutive days.

Venus sets beside the legendary St. Peter's Dome and Basilica - 15 Sept. 2018

Venus sets beside the legendary St. Peter’s Dome and Basilica – 15 Sept. 2018

Catching Venus at sunset is getting harder and harder. It is slowly moving to its inner conjunction with our Sun, before starting its morning visibility season in a couple of months. But with the planet setting early in the evening twilight, you can grab great pictures including some elements of your local panorama.

I managed to plan an imaging session from Rome, to capture Venus beside St. Peter’s Basilica, while the light of the twilight was still on. I really like this moment of the day: you start enjoying the wonders of the night sky, but you can still admire our own things on Earth, before it is too dark. I find these conditions splendid for my own photographic work.

I selected a place between the Spanish Steps and the Pincian Hill, assuring a nice view on the western horizon, assuring I could have the planet exactly where I wanted. At last, I found the right spot where to set up my imaging hardware: a Canon 5D mark IV DSLR body, with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, both installed on a sturdy tripod.

The imaging setup facing west

The imaging setup facing west

Soon after sunset, I cold see Venus, very bright, with clouds moving all around, playing with lights and colors. As an astronomer, I do not like clouds by themselves, unless they add their beauty to the scenery, as they did in this case (and in many more, to be honest…).

I took just a few images and I’m happy to share with you the one above: Venus is visible very well, while delicate clouds gently brush its light, with St. Peters’ Dome and Basilica standing in the unique colors of the twilight.

On the next evening, I decided to image Venus again, as the cloud pattern was very different and the resulting light perhaps more interesting. I went to the same place of the previous night, changing the imaging position slightly, with the same imaging gear as above.

Below is the image I obtained on this second session, with the planet still involved with some gentle cloud veils, with a stunning light.

Venus approaches the St. Peter's Dome and Basilica before setting - 16 Sept. 2018

Venus approaches the St. Peter’s Dome and Basilica before setting – 16 Sept. 2018

I will try to keep an eye on Venus saying goodbye to the evening sky, meantime be sure to go out there and look up by yourself!

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