Astronomical Events Above Canyonlands

Comet Leonard Above Green River

Christmas in the Moab, Utah area can be a wonderfully special thing. While I found the crowds at Arches National Park to be surprisingly busy, I was excited to see Canyonlands National Park relatively empty. At the advice of another camper occupying the vacant campground, I chose a nearby spot to stay for a couple of chilly nights.

Naturally, the night sky above Canyonlands National Park is hard to rival, and so, on the clear night I had, I headed over to the nearby Green River Overlook to capture a quick shot of the night sky.

Back in Jackson Hole, I had missed my opportunity to photograph Comet Leonard, visible in late 2021, due to consistent cloudy weather. By the time I reached Moab, my assumption was that it was long gone.

From the Green River Overlook, I took a couple of nice night shots, capturing a linear conjunction of Venus, Mars, and Jupiter adorning zodiacal light in the day’s remaining illumination. Satisfied with my shots, I headed back to camp to continue my adventures in the following days.

It wasn’t until I was back home on my computer that I noticed, in addition to the dazzling conjunction, that Comet Leonard had snuck in an appearance in the lower-left corner. This extra little light left me overly happy with the trip as a whole.

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