Mercury in the beam

One of the nice things about my job is working in international collaborations. Most of the time we work by email, Skype and the internet but with people spread across about 130 degrees of longitude that can be awkward. Sometimes you just need to meet up and work face-to-face. So on Tuesday - a day that felt like the start of summer - I travelled to Paris for a three day meeting.

As is becoming a tradition on my blog, I wanted to get an astronomical shot with a famous landmark whilst I had the opportunity. I've previously snapped Saturn from Piazza San Marco (St Mark's square) and Venus next to the Colloseum so it seemed fitting to get another of the planets with a famous Parisian landmark.

La Tour Eiffel, Mercury and the Moon
Mercury in the searchlight beam of La Tour Eiffel taken on 7th May 2008. Click for the larger version. CREDIT: Stuart
I took this image from my hotel room window on 7th May when Mercury and the Moon were quite close. The quality of my shot isn't brilliant, as I only had my cheap digital camera withme, but it does just pick up Mercury. In this particular shot Mercury is fairly easy to find. Start at the Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel) over to the right-hand side of the image. These days it looks rather like a lighthouse with a rotating searchlight beam. If you follow the beam past the foreground office block you will see a little blob (brightened for the small version of the image so it can be seen). That little blob is Mercury and up to the top left is a slightly over-exposed crescent Moon.

To see hundreds of stunning images of the night sky pictured above famous landmarks all over the world, visit The World At Night website.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 09th May 2008 (18:52 BST) | Permalink
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