Venus & Distorted Moon

I would like to say I planned these photos but I’d be lying if I did. An hour after sunset, I looked through a window and caught a glimpse of the Moon about to set, just above the distant horizon, with Venus in attendance. I grabbed my camera, raced outside and started taking images as fast as I could.

The camera was making funny noises and time was running out. I looked at the monitor. It said “communications error with lens”. 😧 I raced back inside, changed lenses and ran outside again, lucky I didn’t fall down the steps. Got my tripod out set up the camera. More minutes lost.

The Blue Mountains are about forty kilometres to my West and the contorted Moon was almost kissing them. I focused and started snapping. I was in manual mode. Didn’t have time to worry about adjusting the settings.

I caught it moments before it set. The Moon was two days into its cycle and it’s graceful crescent curves were twisted and deformed!

I’m always fascinated by the atmospheric distortions of objects close to the horizon – something I don’t often get the opportunity to see any more. At the time the last picture was taken, the Moon was already partially below the mountains (from my perspective) but it was still 1° above the theoretical horizon, so the atmospheric distortion had not fully kicked in.

…..but Venus was looking good!

0.6 sec, f/6.3, ISO1000
Canon 60D:
150-600mm Tamron lens
Image date:

Thanks for reading 🙃

Images © Roger Powell

I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society and current webmaster.


  1. I appreciate your race to get those images. It is surprising how quickly things can change. I have a friend who does very early morning photos around his countryside. He often comments about the rapid change. Thanks for sharing those orange crescents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good job, Roger! I had the same thoughts watching the same thing up here in Utah: it would be hard to plan for this, and so gorgeous. Mars was hiding in there, too. So I just sat there and watched. My intrepid wife didn’t know you couldn’t capture such a thing on a phone, and so went ahead and did it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice capture of those interesting atmospheric distortions. It could be the “Race Crescent” as I know myself to have hurried in a few times to grab a camera when I see Moon so thin, when time is short.


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