Tonight, I’m out with the scope for the first time in nearly a month. I’ve been sick and super busy and just have not been able to get out hardly at all. This evening though, The sky was great and while it’s cold, I’m wearing layers so it’s not too bad. Right now, after sunset, Venus and Jupiter are getting very close to one another in the southwest sky. Venus is extremely bright and below Jupiter, which is also bright, but not as bright as Venus. You can see in this picture that the planet is showing a quarter moon phase. An interesting fact is that only the inner planets (Venus and Mercury) show phases. Venus is actually waning and by the beginning of 2009 will be much more of a crescent.
In addition to Venus, I also snagged Jupiter. The Great Red Spot is on the back side of the planet, so not visible here, but you can easily see the cloud bands.
Well, I’m still out and capturing a bunch of long exposures of the Sculptor Galaxy so I hope to have another image posted this evening.
It’s great to be back looking at the stars.
My first target was Venus, low on the western horizon. It’s essentially impossible to get any sort of detail on venus because of it’s brightness and clouds. The colors are actually sort of an artifact from the refracting of the light through the atmosphere. Through the scope it looks like a gibbous moon.
The Moon on 11/5/07
The Moon is getting slimmer and was just 5° from Venus in this morning’s sky. This is a quick image I took of the moon this morning – 25 .0005s stacked images. This image is aligned with what was visible in the sky (normally I rotate the camera to get the entire moon across the image, but was able to fit it in fine this morning.
Below is a quick image I took of Venus – it’s kind of a “half-moon” shape right now since we’re seeing it from the side as it faces the sun.
Venus on 11/5/07
The Moon, Venus and the ISS (Out of focus)
This is the best of 3 lousy shots that I got. Unfortunately, I accidentally messed with the focus right as the ISS was approaching and this is the result. I did get all 3 in the frame, but they look terrible. Note to self: do not attempt to readjust the focus 5 seconds before an event.