I captured the first images around 5:20pm at Avila Beach, California just after sunset when the conjunction was just barely visible. You can see Jupiter and Saturn at the right center of the image.
At this point, it didn’t look much different than the last two nights. I soon realized that I needed to try to keep the conjunction closer to the center of the frame to avoid comatic aberrations.
The next image taken at 5:41pm just up the way at pirates cove. The sky beginning to darken, and no orb to be seen with the lens, but with the naked eye it just barely appears as two separate planets extremely close to each other.
5:53pm and the sun finally setting. Jupiter and Saturn looking more like one single star in the sky. I switched lenses to the Sony 20mm 1.8 G lens for more light and better control of the coma.
The Christmas star directly over the arch near Pismo Beach
6:06pm. Now the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is the brightest star in the sky. Fog and clouds beginning to roll in.
6:18 pm. The last two are my favorite images of the night. I’m not sure if the planets were closer aligned or if the fog was increasing the haze to make the planets glow, but either way it was pretty sweet.
This last photo was the most challenging. I had to time the rising tide just right to get low enough to see the alignment under the arch. And just moments after snapping this last photo the star disappeared behind the fog.
I’m not sure if this is the same Christmas star, but it was a lot of fun to be part of a once in a lifetime event. I hope this brings excitement and hope to you as it did for me. Merry Christmas!