Interesting things – Astronomy night 7/14/10

I took my scope out into the front yard to look at the Moon, Venus, Saturn and Mars as well as wait for an ISS passover.

Soon after dark I was able to get a good shot of the Moon and Venus together. Click through for larger versions.

A through the eyepiece shot of the Moon.

And finally, a shot of the ISS passing beyond the house. I got several shots but they all show a bit of movement at the beginning even though I thought I’d set a shutter delay.

Fun, fun, fun.

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Interesting things I saw today 5/16/10

We went off to Watters Creek again.

Chip and Susan relaxing in what should be the Allen version of Cafe del Mar.

I next captured a picture of duck butt.

Followed by the Tree That Will Soon Fall Over.

Once home we were treated to some pretty thunderheads

and the Moon and Venus (look at the large version)

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Interesting things I saw today 4/14/10

Taking the boy out for a walk I was treated to pretty clouds.

Roses that are going absolutely wild.

A great sunset (with kites).

A view of Venus setting in the West.

After playing with some time lapse photos I found that I got a near effect if I move the camera. This is looking down the street toward a setting Venus. The white squiggle in the upper right 1/4 of the picture is Venus. The other is a couple of street lights.

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Astro morning in the park

I took my scope out to a nearby park early this morning to find out if the overall visibility, what astronomers call “seeing” was better if I wasn’t surrounded by houses and concrete.

It was. Much better.

I frequently put the scope in the driveway because that’s the darkest spot near the house. I’ll have to do a test in the middle of the backyard to make sure it’s not just the nearby concrete causes me problems. It was a bit windy so I wasn’t able to get any good shots of M42, the Great Nebula in Orion, like I hoped but the views were great and there was no shimmering caused by heat waves wafting across the image. I was even able to get good views of various craters on the Moon at 250x. Unfortunately no good pictures because of the light loss at that magnification and the wind which kept wigglying the scope.


Eventually the Sun started to come up and since there weren’t any sunspots visible I packed up and headed home.


Here you can see the Moon, Venus (the spot midway down, try the larger image) and my scope with the Sun coming up in the East.

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USA declares war on Venus!

On June 5th the Messenger spacecraft used Venus to get a boost on it’s way to Mercury and took the opportunity to take out some Venusians on the way.

Picture this: A spaceship swoops in from the void, plunging toward a cloudy planet about the size of Earth. A laser beam lances out from the ship; it probes the planet’s clouds, striving to reach the hidden surface below. Meanwhile, back on the craft’s home world, scientists perch on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens.

Probes the clouds. Right.