Flintstone Stargazing

June 5, 2012

Venus Transit

At this point, Venus is completely in front of the Sun.

Venus Transit Teardrop

At a certain point, because of the atmosphere of Venus, there’s a kind of teardrop shape as it completely enters the Sun – this is at that moment.

The Transit of Venus has begun

This image is from the start of the Transit. More images soon.

August 8, 2010

ISS transits the Sun – 8/8/10

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, ISS, Observation Journal, Sun, sunspots — Ed @ 1:32 pm

Today I did a bit of travelling (just to Collegedale) to do some daytime stargazing. On CalSky.com I was informed that a solar transit of the ISS would be happening near my location and I decided I just had to try to capture it. It was scheduled for 11:43:08am today and would last just under 1 second.

So, I packed up my gear and headed out. When I found a suitable spot to set up, I took out my equipment and realized that I had forgotten my telescope power cable. That’s okay – I can set up by hand. I also forgot my compass, which I use to align the telescope with North, but I guessed at that, based on where the Sun was. So already things weren’t going well, when my laptop battery went from saying I had 90 minutes of power (more than enough) to the next minute saying I had 8 minutes of power (not nearly enough). Despite all of this, I just did it manually – I hooked up the scope and pointed it at the Sun, set up the D50 and used the manual remote to trigger the shutter. When my watch (which I had synchronized before the trip) indicated a minute left I started taking photos as fast as the camera could take them. While it took pictures, I looked through the viewfinder which would go black every time it took a shot (it’s a DSLR) and after about 4 minutes I stopped, not having seen a thing. So I packed up my gear and headed home.

When I got home, I put in my camera’s memory card into my plugged in laptop and waded through 170 images before I finally came to this one. It’s the only one that captured the ISS. Unfortunately, since I couldn’t get the laptop running, I couldn’t focus with the extreme precision I’d need to get a crisp outline of the station, but I’m very happy with this nevertheless. The ISS is clearly outlined against the disc of the Sun while two sunspots are also clearly visible.

I can’t wait to try again (the next one near me is several months away) and next time I’ll bring both my scope’s power cord as well as my laptop’s.

February 20, 2010

The Sun (with sunspots) on 2/20/10

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Observation Journal, Sun — Tags: — Ed @ 3:54 pm

I got out the scope today (during the day, obviously) to image the Sun. It’s wonderful out right now and I couldn’t resist setting up the scope with the solar filter. You can see Sunspot Group 1049 to the left of center. This image is actually rotated about 90 degrees to the right from what it should be.

January 1, 2010

New Year’s Sun – 1/1/10

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Observation Journal, Sun — Ed @ 5:51 pm

Happy New Year! It’s clear, but cold, today and so since the family is hear, I attached my new solar filter (which uses Seymour Solar film) to my new Maksutov telescope and took an image of the Sun. The new sunspot group 1039 is visible in the lower part of the Sun. The Sun has been incredibly quiet for well over a year, with almost no sunspots and those that are there have been very small. It’s getting ready to be a lot busier soon and I hope to be able to image our closest star more in the days to come.

May 22, 2009

No stargazing tonight

Filed under: Clouds, Observation Journal, Sun — Ed @ 9:12 pm

Clouds again, but a pretty sunset. I hope that I can get some observing done soon. Arrgh – just clouds almost every night.

February 11, 2009

Sunrise over the Atlantic

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Observation Journal, Sun — Tags: — Ed @ 8:52 am

I got up early this morning to capture the Sun as it rose. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was so cloudy, but it wound up being really neat.

I also took a series of shots that I made into a movie. Click here to view it.

April 10, 2008

Wear’s Valley Sunset 4/10/08

Filed under: Clouds, Observation Journal, Sun — Tags: , — Ed @ 7:20 pm


Wear’s Valley Sunset 4/10/08

Tonight’s sunset was very nice and while there are a few clouds in the sky, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do a bit of stargazing tonight.

April 8, 2008

Wear’s Valley Sunset 4/8/08

Filed under: Clouds, Observation Journal, Sun — Tags: , , — Ed @ 7:04 pm


Wear’s Valley Panorama – Sunset 4/8/08

I’m on vacation in Wear’s Valley, TN (in the Smokies near Gatlinburg) with my family so I’ve been taking a bit of a break from astrophotography. I did bring my scopes, but it’s been too cloudy for anything thus far (we did do some visual observing the other night – I showed my parents Saturn). Instead, I’ve been taking multiple exposures and then stitching them together using Autostitch. For scenery shots like this, it works as well as I can imaging and it’s free!.

Here are the other two panoramas I’ve made this week (all are from the front porch of our cabin – click on any of them to view the full version in flickr – they’re very large):

Wear's Valley Panorama - Sunrise 4/7/08
Wear’s Valley Panorama – Sunrise 4/7/08

Wear's Valley Panorama - Daytime 4/6/08
Wear’s Valley Panorama – Daytime 4/6/08

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