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  • Writer's pictureAnasq Qaraman

Seeing Venus & Blood moon for less than a dollar.

It's 4:00 p.m.; on a Wednesday afternoon. I am all prepared with my photography gear to have my mind blown with a rare celestial event called "super flower blood moon" For the past few months, I was trying to shoot the full moon but got defeated by the cloudy weather. Still, today 26 May 2021, is a special day. Lunar eclipses are not uncommon. Still, the coincidence of Wednesday's blood moon with other astronomical events is what makes this event special. First, because it is a "#bluemoon", — that means it is the second full moon to occur in a month. Also, it is a #supermoon, meaning it will be closer to the Earth than usual. When I left my apartment scouting for the moon that day, little I knew what fates hides in store for me. To my pleasant surprise, I ended up observing a beautiful moon and seeing Venus!

It goes without saying, planning is one of the most critical steps in moon photography. If you plan it all right, you will end up with stunning images of the moon, especially if you choose the correct location. I had several places in mind, but in the end, I decided to go to the Kalemegdan fortress; I knew that the eastern side of the fort could secure a viewpoint free of obstruction. While roaming the fortress, I checked multiple places when I suddenly laid my eye on the western tower of the fort. The tower was suited in an excellent location with 360 view and great altitude.

On my way walking toward the tower, I had doubts it will be open to the public, but I was determined to leave no stone unturned for the sake of this special night; and who would have thought! The tower was basically an observatory deck founded in 1934 by a group of students, Astronomical Society "Rudjer Boskovic. What can I ask more than this?

I climbed the spiral stairs to find a small office before reaching the top. Fifty Dinar, a rough voice came from the small room, less than 1 USD for the ticket. I paid. I believe this is the only place on Earth that allows you to see Venus and observe the sky for 50 cents !

To my pleasant surprise, the tower had an observatory terrace with a 360 panoramic view. A few minutes later, the tower caretaker showed up. Marko is a part-time student from Montenegro studying Chemistry with a solid knowledge of astronomy. While he was rotating the 1950s telescope, he looked at me and smiled, assuring me the telescope works perfectly; he said, "the senior astronomist in the tower managed to spot the international space station in a clear night using the same telescope". We talked about planets and how Venus orbits the Sun faster than the Earth; he told me it appears in the sky from the West in the evening and described how to pinpoint its location. Then it was my first encounter with Venus! the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the moon.

Dwell on the beauty of life, watch the moon and the stars and see yourself running with them.

Time is ticking, nearly fifteen minutes before the moonrise, I had my eyes and my heart fixed to the East. Around 8:40, p.m. I started to see the moon shadow on the far horizon; while the moon features became more apparent, I thought to myself the term "blood moon" cannot do justice to the wonder I am watching. As the Sun, Earth, and Moon were not perfectly lined up during that night, the eclipse lasted only14 and a precious half minute.

After three spectacular hours, I left the tower happy and content. Comparing to many places in the world where I lived and visited, Belgrade public facilities didn't grossly get commercialized. If you want to do what you love, you will be able to ; money wouldn't matter then. As a wise man once said dwell on the beauty of life, watch the moon and the stars and see yourself running with them.

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