It has been one of those years in which, if I didn't have any photographs,…
I camped out on the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge about seven miles north of the small community of Pilar, New Mexico on Saturday night. I was with a small group of old friends and the plan was to run the river the next morning (We did! And it was fabulous!). In the western sky three bright stars lined up in the nearly cloud-free sky. Take a look (The picture was made at 11:01pm, May 30, 2015. 30 second exposure). They run diagonally from the upper left-hand corner of the shot to the lower right.
Well, actually they aren’t stars. The one in the lower right corner is Venus. The one in the middle is Jupiter. And the one in the upper left corner is Regulus, a star system made up of four stars organized into two pairs. As an added bonus, in the upper left you can make out the constellation of Leo (that’s my sign, man). And as an even bigger bonus, just to the left of Venus I believe you can see the constellation of Gemini.
Now. I am no expert of the night sky so if I got it a bit wrong here, please don’t yell at me, just drop me a comment.
Oh. And one more added bonus. While the shot of the stars was the view west from my tent, the view to the east was the one below. A lone thunderhead was putting on quite a lightning show. That peak in the lower right area of the photo is Picuris Peak in the Carson National Forest. The storm was farther east than it looks in the photo, reaching out over the plains near Wagon Mound, New Mexico. Yes. That is lightning back in the clouds in the lower left portion of the shot and I believe that is Saturn you can see in the upper center right area of the photo.
That was quite a sky to watch while fading into sleep.
The stars align!