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Archive for the ‘Uranus photos’ Category

The founder of Edmund Optics has passed away at age 95. May his memory be for a blessing:

Norman Edmund, Optics Entrepreneur, Dies

Edmund OpticsĀ® Mourns the Loss of Founder, Norman W. Edmund

My homebuilt reflector telescope is an Edmund instrument, as the 8 inch mirror was ground from an Edmund mirror blank, and several other key components were ordered from Edmund, including the diagonal secondary mirror and mirror mount, the eyepiece mount, and my original two eyepieces. I’ll always remember when my big box of telescope-making goodies from Edmund Scientific came, back in 1978. Thanks, Mr. Edmund, for helping make my telescope dream possible! In tribute to Mr. Edmund, I’ll rerun this photo of “The Light Ship,” as well as a composite photo of the Moon and several planets, all photographed through The Light Ship:

Below: The Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter & Galileans, Saturn, and Uranus, photographed at various times with 8″ reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera, all at the same magnification. Click for larger view.

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(UPDATE: I’ve added a different Jupiter/Uranus photo, one in which you can actually see Uranus, though it’s still faint.)

Some interesting things are happening in the sky this week. In the East at dawn, Mercury is making a brief but favorable apparition (astronomy lingo for “appearance”). In the Northern Hemisphere Mercury is usually easiest to see when it appears as a “morning star” in the Autumn or an “evening star” in the Spring. In October 2008 it shone so brightly in the Southeastern sky that I briefly mistook it for Venus! Below: Mercury rising at 6:10 AM CDT, 9-13-10. It was illuminated 20.6%, but it doesn’t look much like a crescent because of the small angular diameter (8.62″) and because it was less than 5 degrees above the horizon:

Meanwhile, on the other side of the sky from Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus are in close conjunction, and later this week will be only .8 degree apart. They are easily viewed with binoculars, and are already close enough together to be seen in one view in my small refractor while using the 25mm eyepiece (28x magnification). Seeing is easy, but photographing is much harder. It’s subtle (I can see that it’s very faint unless the brightness is set fairly high on your screen), but if you look carefully at the photo below, Uranus is near the upper right corner of the image. Uranus is slightly fainter than Callisto in the far lower left, but it’s there. In the lower left of the photo, beginning from the left, is Callisto, Europa, Jupiter, Ganymede. Io was occulted (hidden) by Jupiter at the time, 6:23 AM CDT, 9-13-10:

The best parts of these celestial events should be coming up in a few days, but I took pictures this morning because it might be rainy (again) later this week. I took today’s images using the 60mm refractor, 25mm eyepiece, and LG VX8360 cell phone camera. I headed down to the nearby park for a better view. This park is home to many water birds, such as Mallard Ducks, Wood Ducks, and these Egrets:

Seagulls:

White Pelicans and Canada Geese:

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This was a very interesting early morning with the telescope. Pluto the 15-year-old astro-dog (not the dwarf planet) got me up a bit earlier than usual, so here’s a series of uncropped photos to show you the relative apparent sizes of these objects as viewed from Earth. Here’s the waxing Moon at 3:15 AM CDT, about a day and half before Full Moon:

Here are Jupiter and the Galileans at 5:09 AM CDT (I already had gone back to bed for awhile and gotten back up to attend to Pluto once again, this time for his main morning walk). More about them later:

And, my landmark achievement of the morning! I realize this doesn’t look like much, but the dot of light just to the upper right of the center of the dark blue field of view is the planet Uranus:

I had already located it when it was still dark, but it’s very hard to see anything in my cell phone viewfinder until there’s a fairly strong light available. Thus I had to wait and keep Uranus in view until the sky lightened up enough to appear in the viewfinder as a round blue background, which happened at about the stroke of 6 AM. I snapped the picture at 6:04 AM CDT. The telescope shows Uranus to the eye as a tiny but unmistakeable pale green disk, a strangely calming, serene sight. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to show it as more than just a dot with my present equipment, but I consider it an achievement simply to capture a bit of its light.

Now, Back to Jupiter. I took pictures of the Galileans at three different times, so we can see their motions. In each of the photos they were in the same order (South to the upper right): Ganymede to the upper left, then Jupiter, Io, Europa, and Callisto (somehow I didn’t get Callisto imaged at 3:17, but it was there in view): First, at 3:17 AM CDT:

Then at 5:09 AM CDT. You can see that Io is much further out, and Europa has moved as well:

Not much difference at 6:06 AM CDT, but they’ve moved just a little more:

All on August 23, 2010, with the 8″ f8 reflector and a 25mm eyepiece.

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