Two Bright Planets

I finished work at 6 pm today. At that time, the sky was clear, the sun is already 6-12 degrees below the horizon and Venus and Jupiter were shining brightly. I look at both planets, located in opposite sides of the horizon, and they both appear so bright. I wondered why, and came up with an answer.

Venus is many times closer than Jupiter, but they look similar in brightness. The reason why is because Jupiter is bigger and we can see more of it. Jupiter’s mass and radius is 1.89E27 kg (317.8 Earth Masses), and 69,911 km, whereas Venus is only 4.867E24 (0.815 Earth Masses), and 6,052 km respectively. Clearly, Jupiter is the larger planet, but (at closest point) is 588 million km away. Venus is the smaller planet, but is only (at closest point) 38 million km away. This means that they look similar in brightness when compared to each other.

Here is another example:

The sun is 1.9891 × 1030 kg, and 695,500 km in mass and radius respectively. The Moon is 7.34767309 × 1022 kg large and 1,737.5 km in mass and radius respectively. The sun is (clearly) the larger of the two, but when you put them on top of each other, such as during a Solar Eclipse, they look very similar in size.

For both cases, their actual distances and diameters vary greatly, but their angular diameter is similar. The angular diameter is the diameter of an object from a certain frame of reference. For example, the Moon is 31.075 arcminutes across, and the sun is 32 arcminutes across. Very similar in angular size, but greatly varied across the cosmic distances.

The next time you see Venus and Jupiter in the sky or a solar eclipse, Look at how different they are, but how similar they look. It’s will surprise you.

 

Keep looking up. You never know what you will find up there.

 

WORKS CITED

Google Search

UniverseToday.com

Wikipedia

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The North Celestial Pole…Visualized

On January 28, 2015, the sky was clear, and I took the time to image another startrails image. I aimed my camera at the sky towards Polaris, and I set my camera to image the night sky at 5″ exposure, f/5, ISO-1600. I had stacked over 516 frames to get this image.StarStaX_IMG_3040-IMG_3605_gap_filling
I was happy with this image. Sadly, that’s all I did that night as it was too cold, and I had work the next day. Until the next clear night:

Keep looking up! You never know what you will find up there.

Jupiter Troubles

On January 23, 2015, my father and I, with clouds flying over us, decided to go to Glen Major Forest to image the Jupiter Triple-Transit event. Sadly, it was completely overcast there, which disappointed us.

We soon drove back home, where we noticed that the clouds have started to thin, and Jupiter was visible through the clouds. Therefore, my father and I quickly assembled the telescope in the backyard, as well as my laptop to image Jupiter through my CCD Camera.

We were able to get a good video footage of the Jupiter Triple-transit event. Unfortunately, I have not been able to process them yet. The program, Registax, has been giving me runtime errors, which is preventing me from processing the video footage.

After we get the video, the clouds came in and ended our astronomy session. We packed up and got back inside.

It was a successful night. We got good video footage, but we have yet to process the images. I want to get the video processed soon, and I will contact the developers for help.

Keep Looking Up. You will never know what you will find out there.

Astronomical Events for February 2015

Hello everybody,

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of April: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • February 1: Venus passes 0.8 degrees of Neptune. This occurs at approximately 17:00.
  • February 5: Earth crosses Jupiter’s equatorial plane, which means we are in the second half of occulation and eclipse season of Jupiter’s Moons.
  • February 6: Earth reaches opposition with Jupiter at approximately 18:00.
  • February 6: The Moon reaches its apogee of 406,200 km at 18:25.
  • February 18: The Moon is new. This Moon is also a Black Moon, where this will be the third New Moon in a season where four New Moons are normal.
  • February 20: The Moon, Venus, and Mars are in conjunction with each other. This meeting occurs at Dusk.
  • February 21: Venus passes 0.4 degrees south of Mars at Dusk. Moon will have moved away by then.
  • February 24: Mercury reaches greatest morning elongation at 26.7 degrees west of the sun. This will take place at 19:00.
  • February 25: The Moon will occult Aldebaran at 23:26 in Northern Europe.
  • February 25: Neptune is at conjunction with the Sun. Will not be visible until it comes out from the other side.

 Here is a look at Comet Lovejoy’s Path (Obtained from Bob Moler’s Ephemeris Blog)

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy reached it Perihelion two days ago, and will now move away from the Sun, and the Earth. It will lose its tail, and start to dim. This image was obtained from Bob Moler’s Ephemeris Blog.

 

 

Announcement: On April 22, 2015, I will be delivering a presentation at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Recreational Meetup, talking about my journey as an amateur astrophotographer. I hope you can all come to this event.

 

WORK CITED

http://www.universetoday.com/116461/the-top-101-astronomical-events-to-watch-for-in-2015/

https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/

Sky News Magazine – January/February Issue

 

WORK CONSULTED

http://astroguyz.com/2012/08/27/astro-event-whats-in-a-name-black-blue-moons-through-2020/

You Can See The Dark Side from Here

On January 22, 2015, the sky was very clear, and I saw a beautiful, thin, crescent Moon. In contrast with the surrounding sky, you could also see an outline of the whole moon, despite the fact it is mostly unilluminated. I imaged it using my father’s Telephoto lens, and the images turned out really well.

IMG_2815

2 Day old Crescent Moon 1/400″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO 1600

 

IMG_2820

2 Day old Crescent Moon. Old Moon in New Moon’s Cradle. 1/3″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO 1600

The image was so good, I wanted to take my telescope out and image it using that. The results were very good:

IMG_2861

2 Day Old Crescent Moon 1/30″ exposure, f/10, ISO 1600

IMG_2838

Is this a Dim Moon???

IMG_2828

Nope! It’s a 2 Day old Moon. Old Moon in New Moon’s Cradle. 1.6″ exposure, f/10, ISO 1600

IMG_2852

4.3″ exposure, f/10, ISO 1600

The resulting images were a great improvement compared to my earlier images. It was a sight to see the Moon so thin like that. However, something else caught my eye. A red star close to the Moon. I slewed to it, and took a few images:

IMG_2875

A don’t know what the star is beside it, but the red star looks like Mars. 10.1″ exposure, f/10, ISO 1600

After some time, after asking my father for help identifying it, my father told me that it was Mars. I was surprised to see Mars at this time. It was so far from Earth, that you wouldn’t be able to see anything from it. Nevertheless, it was a good image.

Sadly, the clouds started rolling in, and the Moon and Mars became obscured by a thick cloud, which ended my astronomy session. All this was in preparation for January 23/24’s event when Jupiter will do a triple-transit, and two of it’s Moon’s shadows merge. I still need to process the photos, so stay tuned.

A light polluted timelapse.

On January 20, 2015, the sky was clear. RASC had a plan for a star party at Long Sault Conservation park, but I had to get up early the next morning. Therefore, I had to miss it. Thankfully, I did not let the night go to waste. I took my camera and my father’s wide-angle lens and set the intervalometer to make a timelapse image. I would later make it into a star trails image.

Since my home is in a light polluted area, I had to expose for a shorter amount of time to compensate for the amount of light there is. I set the exposure for 5 seconds, at f/4, and ISO 1600. I left it out there for two hours and obtained over 719 frames for my image. The resulting image turned out to be a major success. The lines were crisp and clear, there were a few satellites and airplanes, and a beautiful set of stars trailing along the houses.

StarStaX_IMG_2118-IMG_2810_gap_filling2

Startrails Image: 693 frames 5″ exposure, f/5, ISO 1600

That was the only thing I did that night unfortunately. Nevertheless, I will continue exploring and imaging the night sky.

 

Attempts at Comet Lovejoy: The RASC Party

On January 19, 2015, RASC hosted a star party at Glen Major Forest, and since it would be my last chance at imaging the comet before starting my new job, I decided to take advantage of the party and go there.

My goal at that party would be to image the comet with its tail. When I arrived, there were many people already there. There were new members, and veteran members. More people would’ve come, but seeing as it was very cold, it was understandable.

After saying hi to everyone, and looking at the comet through a friend of mine’s binoculars, I quickly set up my telescope, and aligned it to Betelgeuse and Polaris, with the help of one of my friends.

After asking the host to show me where the comet is, I tried finding it with my telescope. After a lot of help from my friends, I eventually found it, and set my telescope to take multiple one minute exposures. The result were very shaky, but there were a few photos that turned out well.

IMG_2084

Comet Lovejoy 61.2″ exposure, f/10, ISO 1600

 

While the camera was capturing the photos, I went around and saw what everyone else was doing. They were all looking at very cool celestial objects. However, there were bright lights that came during the night from the North-East. It was troubling. My friends told us that it was from a nearby ski resort. Hopefully, the lights don’t ruin any future RASC events at Glen Major forest.

Soon enough, the clouds came in, and we all packed up. I was the second-last to leave, while the host left the last. It was a successful night. I was able to get a good image of the comet, but I didn’t get the tail like I wanted to. This would probably be my last chance at imaging the comet. The next day was predicted to be clear, but I have to get up early the day after for work. Thankfully, I do not let that day go to waste. See the next blog post.

Keep Looking Up. There is always something up there.