Friday, October 9, 2015

Australian Dawn Occultation of Venus of October 2015

In the hour before dawn the waning crescent Moon rose minus Venus. But that was because the  planet was already covered by the Moon. Then at 6:08 am local time at the beginning of twilight the first sparkle of Venus emerged from the dark limb of the Moon and in a few seconds brightened to its usual glory. The sight of a diamond glint held just beyond the horns of the crescent Moon was enchanting! Pentax Kx 300mm telephoto.

    UT 20:05, 8 Oct 2015

    The Two Crescents! Imaged at sunrise. Meade ETX90 with compact Canon camera through eyepiece.

    UT 21:18, 8 Oct 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Dark Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015

Lunar eclipses fall on a full moon by definition. This full moon was the closet to Earth full moon of any other this year. This not only makes the full moon look about 7% larger than average but also puts it deeper into the Earth's shadow during the eclipse darkening it a bit more than usual. It was further darkened due to volcanic ash from the Calbuco volcano in Chile still erupting since earlier this year.  The dust and smoke injected into the stratosphere served to filter out more of the refracted sunlight bending around the earth's circumference to the surface of the moon.

The following sequence of images were taken at the last few minutes before the beginning of totality. Camera is compact Canon Powershot SX150 pushed to full optical plus digital 48x zoom! The graininess of the original 14MP images were smoothed out by image size reduction.

    UT 2:05   

   UT 2:10

  UT 2:32

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Comet for the Merry Season

Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) is high in the north-east for southern hemisphere observers.

This 2.8° wide image was taken from the suburbs of Adelaide 23/12/2014 UT13:00 
Pentax kx, 30 sec guided, f4.0, iso800 cropped from 10° wide image with telephoto zoom 133mm. Post processing applied. (North-> left, east-> down. constellation Puppis)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Comet PANSSTARS L4 Vists Evening Sky

Images taken at Largs Bay, South Australia 4 March 2013. Pentax Kx using wide and tele zoom lenses. Exposures 10 to 30 seconds. ISO 400 to 1600.

Comet closest approach to Earth on 5 March 2013. Misses us by 163 million km!

 View from the foreshore at Largs looking west over Gulf St Vincent just after sunset.

Crop from image above

Further crop form previous image. Compressed image scale horizontally to reduce diurnal trailing in 20 sec exposure. (Image rotated to accommodate).

Comet hovers over Largs Jetty as it heads toward setting.

Comet now low over the horizon and reddened by atmospheric extinction. Refracted lights at York Peninsula normally beyond horizon appear lower right.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Eye-catching Moon-Jupiter-Pleiades Grouping

On the evening of 21/22 January 2013 a waxing gibbous Moon is visible near Jupiter and Pleiades.  North hemisphere observers need to face south and look up about 60 degrees while for southern observers  they are lower toward the north.  Use binoculars to view the four Galilean satellites arranged near Jupiter.

South hemisphere View

 North hemisphere view

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pre-dawn Planetary-Stellar grouping

Took this before dane about 6am. What a wonderful sight!
Left to right: Pleiades ("Seven Sisters"), Jupiter, then Venus within the A-shaped Hyades Cluster. Star just right of Venus is Aldebaran.  [Click on image for high-res]

From Astroscapes

Pentax Kx 50mm-f1.8, 4se,c iso400, 8 Jul 2012 Pooraka, South Australia

Friday, April 6, 2012

Venus and Pleiades

After its encounter with Jupiter two weeks ago now Venus gracefully drifts by the Pleaides Cluster (M45) on 3 April. While these encounters occur every year they are not all so well placed in the evening sky like this one, Close encounters with the Pleiades occur every 8 years. the last was 3 April 2004, the next 3 April 2020.


The Pleiades are about 400 light years away while Venus is a foreground object in our solar solar system "only" 5 light minutes away (94 million km).