The Moon and its show in Rome above St. Peter’s Dome – 6 May 2019

In our constant research for cosmic beauty, the young Moon is always a great target and a few days ago we could grab some breathtaking images, some of the best ever. We are happy to share them with you.

A sharp Moon crescent adds its speechless beauty above St. Peter's Dome, at sunset. The star Aldebaran is visible in the upper left corner.

A sharp Moon crescent adds its speechless beauty above St. Peter’s Dome, at sunset. The star Aldebaran is visible in the upper left corner.

Our long time readers know how much we love to image the Moon above Rome, no matter its age. But when it is young, just at the beginning of its cycle, its aspect is of particular beauty. In the old days of Ancient Greece, the waxing Moon was named after Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. I like the young Moon because its sharp crescent is so elegant and you can also see its earthshine.

On 6 May 2019, at sunset, I was ready to grab some images, facing the setting Sun. The Moon was expected to show on the foreground of the Hyades star cluster, not far from Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus (the Bull), which star is not a member of the cluster.

The sky was particularly clear, after an exceptionally long series of cloudy/rainy nights (more than one month, the longest slot of bad weather I can remember), with a cool wind making the temperature unusually cold for being early May.

The sun says goodbye to Rome: the domes are Sant'Andrea della Valle (right) and St. Peter (close to center)

The sun says goodbye to Rome: the domes are Sant’Andrea della Valle (right) and St. Peter (close to center)

I managed to set up all my imaging gear: a Canon 5D mark IV DSLR body and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, very flexible for this kind of work. I was ready to capture the Sun leaving Rome, with the silhouettes of St. Peter’s and Sant’Andrea della Valle domes.

The changing colors of sunset are always amazing. Domes are, from left to right: San Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari, St. Peter and Sant'Andrea della Valle.

The changing colors of sunset are always amazing. Domes are, from left to right: San Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari, St. Peter and Sant’Andrea della Valle.

 

A close up to St. Peter's Dome (left) and Sant'Andrea della Valle (right)

A close up to St. Peter’s Dome (left) and Sant’Andrea della Valle (right)

Once the Sun had left the celestial theater, I was carefully looking up to spot the Moon as soon as possible. Locating such a small, subtle lunar phase is not easy, but the wind made the air quite clear and in a few minutes, I found it!

The first evidence of the Moon crescent above the skyline of Rome

The first evidence of the Moon crescent above the skyline of Rome.

Minute after minute, the sky was slowly darkening and at some point I could see the earthshine: if you were on the young Moon at that very moment, you could see up in your sky a full Earth, flooding the lunar night with the solar light our planet directs to its satellite.And I love imaging it while the sky is still blue, not completely dark.

Close up the Moon: with some attention, the entire disk can be seen, thanks to the eartshine.

Close up the Moon: with some attention, the entire disk can be seen, thanks to the eartshine.

At this point, every moment had its wonders to show. Sunset is such a gift from mother nature also because it is so rich that every fragment of it has its value. The images below barely succeed in bringing to you the stunning vision I had.

Now that is darker, the Moon shines with its unmatched elegance, while around the first stars of the Hyades start to show. Aldebaran is easy to see on the upper left.

Now that is darker, the Moon shines with its unmatched elegance, while around the first stars of the Hyades start to show. Aldebaran is easy to see on the upper left.

Time does not make sense when you face Beauty

Time does not make sense when you face Beauty

 

Around 09:00 PM local time I was ready to leave, though this was not easy: too much beauty! A few more shots, with a few more stars, while St. Peter’s Dome was now dominating that spot of heaven.

Time to go, but a few more glances to honor this speechless beauty

Time to go, but a few more glances to honor this speechless beauty

 

I hope you could appreciate this vision, looking forward to share with you the glory of the sky above Rome again and again.

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