Friday, October 26, 2007

October Big Moon

This month's full Moon is closest of the year. About 7% closer than average. In this image the full moon rises looming like a giant orb above the roof tops of shops at Henley Square in Adelaide South Australia on 26 October 2007.

Pentax K100D 200mm. Composite of two images, one exposed for the buildings, the second for the Moon.

Moon imaged later same evening with Vivitar compact digital through Meade ETX90-EC telescope - through cirrus haze. A bit of contrast enhancement however brings it up nicely.

How imagining through the scope is done.

The near point of the Moon's orbit to Earth advances about 40 days per year so the next Big Moon season will be in mid December next year.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September: Mercury and Spica Align

The blue-white star Spica 270 light years away aligns with Mercury 9 light minutes away. Click on image to enlarge.

They're only 4.3 arcminutes (0.07°) apart in this image taken 22 Sep 2007 from South Australia. Next time they are this close together will be in 2040.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse - 28 August 2007

For Australia this was a prime time eclipse. Starting just befoe sundown the moon rose with eclipse already in progress. These images were captured with a Pentax K100D DSLR wit 28-50mm and 55 to 200mm zoom lenses

By 21:15 CST the Moon is minutes away from total phase. .

Just entering toality. The red colour is the light from a ring of sunsets around the circumference of the Earth falling on the face of the Moon

The totally eclipsed Moon bears ove the residential area at Henley Beach

Tatally eclipsed Moon over the Henley Pub

The end of the partial phase 21:52 CST

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Aphrodite - Evening Star

You might have noticed her low in the west after dusk shining like a beacon as the Evening Star. Venus is heading between the Earth and Sun for her superior conjunction (see further down) on the 18th this month, after which she becomes the Morning Star.

This sequence shows the appearance of Venus on July 10, 20 and August 6. As it moves between the Earth and Sun waning to a slender crescent increasing size as it gets nearer. On the evening of the last frame I could just make out the crescent in 10x50 binoculars. (Click on image to enlarge). ETX90-EC & Vivitar compact digital.

Later in the Evening, at low elevation just above the horizon before setting, the light of Venus is spread out into a rainbow of rippling colours. Its light is dispersed by thicker layers of our atmosphere that acts rather like a turbulent prism. Maximum digital zoom. ETX90-EC & Vivitar compact digital.


Birth of Venus (Aphrodite) is depicted here emerging from the ocean "foam" in this 1879 rendition by William Bougereau (click to enlarge).


The changing phases of Venus are due to its perspective as seen from Earth as it orbits the Sun. It completes a cycle of phases in about 584 days (19 months). Venus reaches inferior conjunction on August 18 (closest to Earth) when it crosses to the morning sky and the sequence of phases will reverse. On rare occasions Venus will pass in front of the Sun as a Venus transit.
At superior conjunction it is on the far side of the Sun, appearing very much smaller with the full disk illuminated.

This is my setup. The Vivitar 3930 camera mounted on a bracket to the Meade ETX90-EC telescope (9cm/3.5"). Planetary photography like you see here is made easier with digital cameras and electronics. You just keep adjusting the exposure settings until you get good shots. The telescope has remote control to reduce shaking from handling and the camera has delay exposure to allow vibrations to subside before exposure. This kind of planetary photography with a small telescope and compact camera would have been almost impossible with film and manual telescope controls.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July Planets

Was hoping to get the close grouping of 17th July but cloud got in the way. Got these images though on the previous night from the porch (16th July).

Capture this scene over the Gulf waters. From top, Venus, Saturn, Regulus and Moon.

Bit later in the evening the 3-day Moon (ie 3 days after new) shows earthshine illuminating the dark side. See? Pink Floyd said so...there really is no dark side to the Moon ;) [Pentax K100D 200m] cropped and enlarged

Moon setting. The Moon reddens and distorts as its light passes through thickening layers of our atmosphere.
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At the last frame only the "dark side" remains before finally disappearing. [Pentax K100D 200mm]

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June Planetary Grouping: Venus, Moon and Saturn

Outlying Venus with Moon and Saturn Together. Pentax K100D, 75mm, 2 sec exp. 19/6/2007 Adelaide SA

Closeup of Moon and Saturn framed by foregound tree hangings. Pentax K100D, 200mm, 0.5 sec exp.
19/6/2007 Adelaide SA

You can see earthshine illuminating the dark side of the Moon in both images.

Note these are south hemisphere views so you northern denizens will see this nearly inverted.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Jupiter Rises with Scorpius

Scorpius and Jupiter a familiar sight in the east after dusk. Here they dodge clouds illuminated bylight pollution in this image taken on 30 April 2007 from HenleyBeach. 15 second exposure with a Canon Powershot 550.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Comet McNaught

Comet McNaught imaged from Henley Beach South Australia. Olympus OM1 film ISO400 20sec 22-1-2007

Full McNaught gallery here:

My other recent photography: