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Archive for the ‘Mercury’ Category

I continue to be clouded out these days, but for those of you who have been watching the Venus-Saturn show in the predawn eastern sky this week, the innermost planet Mercury is also in view before sunrise, closer to the horizon below Venus. Mercury’s appearances are fleeting, and I enjoy the challenge of spotting it. Here’s a photo I took way back on September 26, 2010, at 6:26 AM CDT, with 7×35 binoculars:

Meanwhile, the MESSENGER probe in orbit around Mercury has helped us make a momentous discovery, that there is indeed a substantial amount of water ice in permanently shadowed areas within craters near Mercury’s north and south poles! It’s the biggest discovery on Mercury since Mickey Mouse was found there! Read more about it at Skyandtelescope.com:

Mercury’s Polar Ice Defies the Odds

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I continue to receive many visits from people searching for “Mickey Mouse on the Moon,” and of course I’m happy to oblige. As mentioned before, I believe this recent trend finds its original source in the discovery, via the MESSENGER spacecraft, of a “Mickey Mouse” crater formation on the planet Mercury:
NASA – Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury!

Meanwhile, tonight was my first chance to photograph the area I like to call “Mickey Mouse on the Moon” since the beginning of the hype. It consists of the crater Janssen and adjoining craters. For more info about the region click here:
The Full Moon Atlas


The waxing crescent Moon at 9:29 PM CDT June 24, 2012 (02:29 UT June 25, 2012), 25mm eyepiece (65x magnification). “Mickey Mouse” is in the southern region, towards the bottom of this photo. Like most astronomical telescopes, my reflector produces an inverted image, but I generally flip it right side up when editing Moon photos.


The Moon was shining through this rather pretty sky at dusk. 9:21 PM.


A closeup of the southern portion of the Moon at 9:32 PM, magnification doubled using a 2x Barlow lens.


A closeup from the above photo. “Mickey” is in the upper right, and a somewhat mouse-eared configuration also appears in the lower left. “Minnie,” perhaps?!?


Saturn at 10:01 PM CDT June 24, 2012 (03:01 UT June 25, 2012), 17mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow (191x).

All with 8″ f8 homebuilt reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

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I’ve been getting lots of hits from people trying to find “Mickey Mouse on the Moon,” which I’ve posted about here and here. I believe the reason why is because a “Mickey Mouse” pattern of craters has just been found on Mercury by the MESSENGER spacecraft!  Here’s a link direct to a picture on the official MESSENGER NASA website: Mickey Mouse Spotted On Mercury!

The area I like to call “Mickey Mouse On the Moon” shows up well in the lower right in this photo which I took last September 15, 2011, at 6:12 AM CDT (11:12 UT). Click to enlarge:

Here’s a closeup from the photo above:

8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

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