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Category Archives: Astronomy

Venus & Jupiter

It’s now just past 5am in the morning, I am full of redbull and have just spent a few hours gazing at the night sky. I think one of the things that has surprised me most since taking up astronomy as a hobby is what you can see with the naked eye. What used to be a dark sky littered with random white specs which I just labelled as “stars” is now an intricate system of stars, planets and moons. I am still learning my way around the stars, but am confident at picking out the brighter stars (and planets). And the moon is always a pretty safe bet 😉

Tonight, Jupiter has been high in the sky just to the left of the moon, and I managed to get some nice views of it through my scope earlier on, although the photos didn’t come out particularly well. Click a photo to see the full sized version.

I just went out for a quick peek before heading to bed, and noticed Venus shining brightly to the east. Having put away my scope for the evening, I just took a quick shot through my regular camera. Jupiter and the moon were still clearly visible too, so I fired off a quick shot of those too. Even in these photos, you can still pick out some of Jupiters moons if you zoom in closely enough.

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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Astronomy, Photography

 

Jupiter (At Last)

After seeing Saturn a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking forward to capturing a shot of Jupiter. Unfortunately, from where I am located with my garden facing pretty much due north, I’ve not been able to see Jupiter as it would have meant climbing out of bed at half three in the morning. Night after night of heavy cloud haven’t exactly helped matters.

Well, tonight was a pretty clear evening, so I made the effort to stay up as Jupiter was due to be in my line of sight in the early hours. Although I haven’t been able to capture any detail in the photos (I wasn’t really able to make out any detail, even when viewed through my highest power lens), the photos I took with my Canon 110D clearly show the planet and three of its moons. A cropped copy of one of the photos is shown below. I just need to figure out what settings to use in future to capture the most amount of detail possible.

For those who like knowing this kind of stuff, Jupiter’s volume is that of about 1,321 Earths and it has at least 66 moons, including the four large moons called the Galilean moons, three of which are in the photo below.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Astronomy, Photography

 

Moon Shot 28 June 2012

On Thursday this week we had quite a clear sky with the moon finally coming out of hiding, so out I went with my telescope to spend a couple of hours observing the night sky. Once again, I managed to get some fantastic views of both the moon as well as Saturn, floating a couple of inches above the moon (relatively speaking, of course).

After my last sighting of Saturn, I purchased a new 4mm eyepiece to see if I could get more detail. While it certainly made Saturn more visible, it became very difficult to keep steady at that magnification (made more difficult because Thursday night was pretty breezy!).

Unfortunately I didn’t take as many photos as I’d planned, and didn’t get any of Saturn (that’s now a personal goal – to get a good photo of Saturn). The one below is probably the best I got of the moon. More of the surface is visible in this photo compared with my previous one, with what I assume is a mountainous range towards the left of the visible area. Not sure what this area is called, or how large it is (but I will be finding out today).

As always, click the image to view the full sized version.

Update: According to Wikipedia, the mountains in the photo above are part of the Montes Caucasus, with the tallest of the peaks reaching 6 km.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Astronomy, Photography

 

Saturn really is Saturn-shaped!

I happened to stick my head out into the garden on Tuesday night and noticed that the sky was pretty clear, so I set up my telescope to see what I could find. It was still quite early, so the sky was still light, however two fairly bright stars appeared over to the west. When I checked Stellarium, I found that the uppermost star I was seeing was in fact Saturn.

I’ve seen pics of Saturn in countless books and videos over the years, so am well aware of the unique shape created by the rings that surround it, but I was still blown away when it actually appeared like that through my scope (after all, Saturn is about a billion miles away!). Unfortunately I’m still having camera issues, so wasn’t able to take a picture of it, however this image (courtesy of Google) is a pretty close approximation of what I saw through my scope.

I also spent a few hours out last night and was able to view Saturn even more clearly. Mars also put in an appearance, however while I could just about make out the distinctive reddish tinge, I wasn’t able to see much detail beyond that.

I’ve now ordered a new eyepiece from Amazon which should yield even better results. I have a feeling this may become an expensive hobby.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Astronomy, Photography

 

Last Nights Moon

As the weather has turned nice and the sky was clear last night, I spent an hour or so in my garden last night looking skyward.

While there weren’t as many stars out last night, the moon was clear and bright in the sky, so I grabbed my camera and took a few shots. I’m still trying to get the hang of this though so sadly most shots were out of focus, or cut off any interesting bits!

This one is probably the best of the bunch from last night which (if I’m reading my moon maps correctly!) clearly show the Seas of Serenity, Tranquillity, Fertility, as well as the smaller Seas of Nectar and Crisis. You can also clearly make out a large number of the craters that litter the moon’s surface. As always, click the image to see the full sized picture.

I actually remembered to attach my moon filter this time, which did make a surprising difference to the level of detail I could pick out. Unfortunately I haven’t yet found a way to take photos through the telescope with the moon filter attached!

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Astronomy, Photography

 

First shots of the moon. Meh.

Tonight we finally had a clear enough sky to be able to see the moon, so I dragged out my telescope, a handful of lenses and my Canon camera, and spent 15 minutes trying to get a decent shot.

And the results? Well, when viewed through the scope, the picture is indeed impressive, with all of the moons various crater impact sites clearly visible. Unfortunately, I had a few issues getting the camera to focus through the telescope, and the lack of a tripod meant the shots I took were prone to camera wobble due to the flash being turned off.

This shot was taken using ISO 100, shutter speed 1/200 and flash disabled, with a 2x Barlow lens in the telescope:

Moon shot on 24th April 2012 at approximately 10pm

This next shot was taken accidentally using automatic settings. The flash went off, which for some reason, turned the moon a rather attractive orange colour!

Nevertheless, for a first attempt, I’m not overly disheartened as I’m sure with a bit of practice (and a full moon), I’ll be getting much better images.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Astronomy, Photography