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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

This post concludes my longest period ever without posting! Been busy, & the winter has been cold and snowy. But the northern winter has its glories, and here are a couple:
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Above: Light, fluffy, delicate snow on tree branches, February 16, 2013 at 10:22 AM.
Below: Sundogs shining through the trees at 9:04 AM on the bitterly cold morning of February 19.
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It was slightly hazy this morning, but it was so much fun to get out to the telescope again and observe Saturn, I went with it anyway. Here’s a Saturn series, similar in format to my Venus phase updates, beginning with this morning and working back through a few of my best Saturn photos. Note how over time Saturn’s rings are “opening up” as viewed from Earth. Unless otherwise noted, these photos are with the 8″ reflector telescope, 17mm eyepiece, and 2x Barlow:

0221030645asaturn17mm2xb200 6:45 AM CST February 21, 2013 (12:45 UT)
Angular diameter 17.60 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 873,809,000 miles (1,406,259,000 km)
7:01 AM CST November 20, 2012 (13:01 UT)
Angular diameter 15.49 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 992,918,000 miles (1,598,000,000 km)
11:42 PM CDT June 7, 2012 (04:42 UT June 8, 2012)
Angular diameter 18.15 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 847,415,000 miles (1,363,782,000 km)
4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (09:38 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,707,000 miles (1,304,706,000 km)
6:13 AM CST January 8, 2012 (12:13 UT)
Angular diameter 16.82 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 913,348,000 miles (1,471,501,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
3:23 AM CDT April 14, 2011 (08:23 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,570,000 miles (1,304,487,000 km)

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As I prepared to photograph Venus yesterday, this female Downy Woodpecker was happily hunting for tasty bugs in a nearby telephone pole. I had seen another woodpecker (her mate?) near her on the pole earlier. 60mm refractor telescope with 25mm eyepiece, 1:04 PM August 21, 2012:

Venus is now over 50% illuminated from our point of view, and from week to week there’s no longer such a dramatic difference in its phase and apparent size:

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

Unless otherwise noted, 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

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Frost on trees, 7:52 AM, February 6, 2012

I need to take a break from blogging for a few weeks to get some important stuff done, so here are a few more astrophotos for you in the meantime. See you in March! (Feel free to leave comments, I’ll try to respond as I’m able.)


4:20 PM CST 1-28-12 (22:20 UT), 25mm eyepiece


11:25 PM CST 2-1-12 (5:25 UT 2-2-12), with my old 18mm eyepiece, which as you can see has some cloudy patches due to damage, but I keep it in the shed with the telescope so I always can use the telescope in a pinch even if I don’t have my other eyepieces with me.


12:59 AM CST 2-6-12 (6:59 UT), 25mm eyepiece


11:36 PM CST 2-7-12 (5:36 UT 2-8-12), 25mm eyepiece


Mars at 7:38 AM CST 1-28-12 (13:38 UT), 25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow.

All with 8″ reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view, except the Mars photo won’t get any bigger.

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