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