Archive for September, 2012

Unusually lovely Harvest Moon tonight. I didn’t get out at the right time to show its glorious golden hue at moonrise, but here are a couple of photos. Rather than cropping them as usual, I just flipped them to be upright as the Moon appeared above my local horizon, which also illustrates the difference in magnification:

Above: 5:14 AM CDT 9-29-12 (10:14 UT), 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece.
Below: 7:35 PM CDT 9-29-12 (00:35 UT 9-30-12), 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece.

Both with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.


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9:00 PM CDT September 22, 2012 (02:00 UT 9-23-12), 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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Venus is now the same distance from Earth as the Earth is from the Sun:

2:00 PM CDT, September 21, 2012 (19:00 UT)
Angular diameter 16.83 arc seconds
67.3% illumination
Distance from Earth 92,101,088 miles (148,222,333 km)
8:26 AM CDT, September 10, 2012 (13:26 UT)
Angular diameter 18.36 arc seconds
62.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 84,452,528 miles (135,913,169 km)
10:17 AM CDT, September 4, 2012 (15:17 UT)
Angular diameter 19.31 arc seconds
60.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 80,311,754 miles (129,249,240 km)
1:15 PM CDT, August 21, 2012 (18:15 UT)
Angular diameter 22.02 arc seconds
53.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 70,401,199 miles (113,299,747 km)
7:36 AM CDT, August 13 2012 (12:36 UT)
Angular diameter 24.07 arc seconds
49.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 64,429,600 miles (103,689,390 km)
1:39 PM CDT, August 6, 2012 (18:39 UT)
Angular diameter 26.05 arc seconds
45.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 59,516,628 miles (95,782,727 km)
8:52 AM CDT July 30, 2012 (13:52 UT)
Angular diameter 28.56 arc seconds
40.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 54,298,771 miles (87,385,401 km)
5:49 AM CDT July 22, 2012 (10:49 UT)
Angular diameter 31.96 arc seconds
34.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 48,512,519 miles (78,073,332 km)
9:18 AM CDT July 13, 2012 (14:18 UT)
Angular diameter 36.52 arc seconds
27.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 42,450,876 miles (68,318,063 km)
11:56 AM CDT July 3, 2012 (16:56 UT)
Angular diameter 42.79 arc seconds
19.0% illumination
Distance from Earth 36,238,688 miles (58,320,514 km)
11:21 AM CDT June 27, 2012 (16:21 UT)
Angular diameter 47.07 arc seconds
13.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 32,940,927 miles (53,013,283 km)
8:38 AM CDT June 21, 2012 (13:38 UT)
Angular diameter 51.42 arc seconds
7.8% illumination
Distance from Earth 30,154,150 miles (48,528,401 km)
8:57 AM CDT June 12, 2012 (13:57 UT)
Angular diameter 56.46 arc seconds
1.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 27,463,558 miles (44,198,313 km)
7:33 PM CDT June 5, 2012 (00:33 UT June 6, 2012)
Angular diameter 57.78 arc seconds
0.0% illumination, transiting the Sun
Distance from Earth 26,836,379 miles (43,188,966 km)
Projection method with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece

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When the Moon passes close (in our sky) to a bright “landmark” such as a planet or bright star, it makes it easier to see that it moves about one lunar diameter per hour eastward in its orbit, so you’ll see in this series of photos that it starts to the lower right of Jupiter, and ends up to the lower left:

5:22 AM CDT September 8, 2012 (10:22 UT). You’ll see that light balance is a challenge to my low-budget cell phone astrophotography when the sky is dark and the Moon is illuminated 50% or less, but the balance improves as the sky lightens, and lunar detail appears.

The Moon at 5:35 AM.

5:39 AM.

5:52 AM.

6:17 AM.

6:26 AM.

A closeup of Jupiter and the four Galilean Moons during the conjunction, at 6:29 AM CDT (11:29 UT). From left to right: Europa, Ganymede, Io, Jupiter, Callisto. 8″ reflector telescope with 25mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow.

6:35 AM.

6:36 AM.

6:53 AM.

7:02 AM.

Jupiter/Moon photos with 60mm refractor telescope and 25mm eyepiece. Moon photos with 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece. All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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6:49 AM, September 14, 2012, a few minutes before sunrise. Venus is visible above the right end of the contrail, just to the left of the tree. More Moon, Jupiter, and Venus photos soon, including more about last week’s Jupiter-Moon conjunction.

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My wife took these photographs on a school trip to New York City in April, 1975.

Though you cannot see them, millions of New Yorkers and visitors were going about their everyday activities, thousands of them at the World Trade Center, which was two years old at the time:

There would be nearly twenty-six and a half years more of mostly ordinary days.

In memory of nearly three thousand who were just getting started with their work and play on what promised to be another ordinary day, up until 8:46 AM, eleven years ago today.

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I was able to take quite a few photos of this morning’s close conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter, including closeups of the Moon and the Jupiter system. I’ll compose a detailed post later. In the meantime, above you may see that they just fit into the same view at 7:02 AM CDT September 8, 2012 (12:02 UT) with 60mm refractor telescope, 25mm eyepiece, and LG VX8360 cell phone camera. click to enlarge.

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