On 26 May 2013, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury gathered close together in the sky and it looked as though they would set over the Langdales in a triangle that just begged to be caught on camera.
I went out to rehearse the previous evening and it looked spectacular. Sunset over the Langdale skyline from the outskirts of Kendal can make for a stunning vista. Here are the three planets in not-quite-perfect alignment, with a multiple exposure shot to give an idea of their setting trajectories:
Jupiter looks to be on a collision course with the edge of Harrison Stickle, and about an hour later it set exactly as expected. Multiple exposure again:
On the 26th, it was cloudy. Oh well, that’s life in Cumbria. Time to get creative, so here’s a fully stacked version of all the shots, so that we can see the exact configuration of the three planets:
So what would we have seen if not for the cloud? Well, using the positions of the planets on the cloudy evening shots, I can move the dots from the rehearsal night and show what was happening behind the clouds:
Had the clouds not moved in, this would surely have become one of my favourite photos. In truth, however, it’s nothing but a fake. Please don’t tell!