An aspiring photographer who caught four planets in alignment on film last week has gone one better with this latest attempt.
Martin Dolan said he was “really pleased” with his latest shot, which managed to capture five planets in alignment – something he didn’t expect to be able to get on camera.
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He said: “I was very lucky to have the right conditions yesterday morning.
"This time, I went up the road from my house to Stephens Castle, a nature reserve that’s also the highest point in Verwood. It was between 6.30 and 7am I got the shot.
"I felt I had a better view of the planets this time. Normally the light pollution from Verwood and Bournemouth is really bad, but it doesn’t seem to affect the planets.
“It was on location I realised the moon wasn’t setting until 9.30am, so I had to make sure not to overexpose it when I took the picture as it wasn’t going anywhere.”
Our earlier story: AN ASPIRING photographer has taken advantage of a rare astronomical event to capture four planets on camera.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have appeared together for the first time since 2005, and Martin managed to get a picture of all but Mercury.
He said it was very difficult getting the shot.
“I’ve been trying to get it for a few days. I thought Corfe Castle would be a great setting as it’s such an iconic place. I went down there on Saturday morning as the forecasted predicted clear skies, but the cloud ended up rolling in.
“It’s all a question of getting a window of opportunity. I got down there for 5am and when I arrived, I could see Jupiter brightly. Because of the current moon phase, the whole sky was pretty much washed out except for the planets.
“I took loads of test shots before I got this one, which was taken at 6.30am. Around that time, the east starts to light up before Mercury even reaches the horizon and the light is already starting to wash out Mars and Saturn.”
Martin, who is a train driver for South West Trains, said he was pleased with his final shot but said he would definitely be going out again to try and get all five planets.
“I’m my own worst critic. I set out to get all five so I’ll certainly be trying again. It’s a case of looking at the weather forecast.”
The planets rarely come together because of their differing orbits, but the best view is likely to be on the morning of February 5.
The planets will form a diagonal line from the Moon to the horizon, with Venus the brightest. Astronomers say with clear skies all five should be visible with the naked eye.
Mercury will be hardest to see because it’s nearest the horizon.