Astronomical Events for July 2015

Hello everybody,

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

       Astronomical Events

  • July 2: Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina may reach binocular visibility.
  • July 6: Earth will reach aphelion at 13:00 UTC.
  • July 6: Pluto will reach opposition with Earth at 15:00 UTC.
  • July 12: The Moon will occult Aldebaran. It is best seen in North-eastern Asia at ~18:17 UTC.
  • July 14: The New Horizons Probe will reach its closest approach to Pluto.  New Horizons is the first probe to make a close approach to Pluto, and send back images to Earth.
  • July 19: The Moon occults Venus. It is best seen in the South Pacific at ~1:07 UTC.
  • July 25: Asteroid 49 Pales occults a +6.6 Magnitude star. It is best seen at 10:55 UTC in Mexico.
  • July 28: The Delta Aquarids peak at this time.
  • July 31: A Blue Moon will occur. This is the second Full Moon of the Month. This is the opposite of a Black Moon.

 

 

 

WORK CITED

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

Astronomical Events for June 2015

Hello everybody,

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

       Astronomical Events

  • June 1: The ISS will reach full illumination, which means Northern Hemisphere observers will be able to see it many times.
  • June 4: Io and Ganymede will cause a double-transit on Jupiter, which will occur from 4:54 to 6:13.
  • June 5: Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation for 2015. It will be at most 45 degrees from when the sun at 16:00.
  • June 10: Asteroid 424 Gratia will occult a +6.1 magnitude star. It will occur at approximately 15:10 in Northwest Australia.
  • June 15: The Moon will occult Mercury at approximately 2:26. It’s best seen at the South Indian Ocean.
  • June 15: The Moon will occult Aldebaran during the day approximately 11:33. It’s best seen in the high Arctic.
  • June 16: Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS may become visible with the naked eye.
  • June 21: The summer solstice will happen at 10:51. Northern Hemisphere observers will experience the longest day of the year.
  • June 24: Mercury reaches its greatest morning elongation at 22.5 degrees west of the sun. This will take place at 17:00.

 

 

 

WORK CITED

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

Astronomical Events for May 2015

Hello everybody,

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

       Astronomical Events

  • May 5: The Eta Aquarids meteor shower will peak.
  • May 7: Mercury will reach its highest point at 21.2 degrees away from the sun. It will start to descend back into the sun at this point.
  • May 19: The Moon will occult Aldebaran at approximately 2:53 UTC. It is best seen in North America.
  • May 20: Comet C/2014 Q1 PANSTARRS may become visible in binoculars.
  • May 20: Io and Ganymede will cast their shadows on Jupiter in a double-transit event at  22:04 – 22:53.
  • May 21: Callisto and Europa will also cast their shadows on Jupiter in another double-transit event at 11:26 – 11:59.
  • May 23: Saturn reaches opposition at approximately 1:00.
  • May 24: Asteroid 1669 Dagmar will occult Regulus at approximately 16:47. Best seen in the Arabian Peninsula. This will be the brightest asteroid star occultation in 2015.
  • May 28: Ganymede and Io will cast their shadows again in a double-transit event at 00:01 to 2:18.
  • May 30: Comet 19/Borrelly may become visible with binoculars.

 

 

 

WORK CITED

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

Astronomical Events for April 2015

Hello everybody,

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

       Astronomical Events

  • April 4: The third of four total lunar eclipses will occur at 12:01. It is best seen in Eastern Asia, the Pacific regions, and the Americas. Don’t miss it!
  • April 8: Mercury will pass 0.5 degrees of Uranus at approximately 11:00.
  • April 21: The Moon will occult Aldebaran. It is best seen in Northern Asia at approximately 16:57 UTC.
  • April 22: The Lyrid meteor shower will take place peaking at 24:00 (12:00 AM). It is best seen in Northern Europe.

That’s all for this month.

On April 22, 2015, at the Ontario Science Centre, in Toronto, Ontario, I will be giving a presentation about my journey as an amateur astrophotographer. If you are interested in attending, come to the Ontario Science Centre at 7:00 pm, to see the presentation. I hope to see you all there.

 

Have a great day, and keep looking up! You never know what you will see up there.

 

 

WORK CITED

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

Astronomical Events for March 2015

Hello everybody,

Happy New Year!

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

       Astronomical Events

  • March 1: Geosynchronous satellite eclipse season begins up until the equinox.
  • March 4: Venus passes 0.1 degrees from Uranus at approximately 18:00. This will be the closest planetary conjunction of the year.
  • Distance from Venus to Uranus from our Perspective.

  • March 5: The Moon will reach its full phase at 18:07, 10 hours before reaching apogee. This will be the smallest full moon of the year.
  • March 11: Mars passes 0.3 degrees from Uranus at approximately 16:00.
  • March 20: A total solar eclipse will occur. It will be best seen in the arctic, Scotland, and Scandinavia.
  • Path of Solar Eclipse

  • March 20: That day also marks the Vernal Equinox at 16:57. Roughly equal days between the North and South Hemispheres.
  • March 21: Moon will occult Mars at approximately 22:14. Best seen in South America.
  • March 25: Moon will occult Aldebaran at approximately 7:17. Best seen in Northwest North America.

 

 

 

WORK CITED

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

Planets Crossing Paths

I was at work when this event took place. Thankfully, I was able to take my break at a time where I could image the phenomenon.

My break began at 6:30 pm. The sun had already set and the sky had turned a dark blue. The air was a freezing -14 C, with  a slight breeze coming from the south. It was not intense, but could shake the camera. Streetlights illuminate the parking lot at my workplace. Thankfully, the streetlights won’t cause me any problems.

I started my car, and assembled the tri-pod. I quickly took my camera to the tripod, and set it to image the event, a conjunction of Venus, Mars, and a thin crescent moon.

I set my camera to image the conjunction at various exposures, keeping the aperture, and sensitivity constant. The exposure ranged from 2″ to 1/6″ exposures.

After 134 shots, at 6:55 pm, my break was nearing the end. Therefore, I packed up my camera, and went back inside at 7 pm. This brief, 30 minutes of imaging was a great success yielding a variety of images. Some were shaky, and slightly unfocused, but a few crisp images came through. Here they are:

IMG_4387

1/5″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO-800

IMG_4404

1/4″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO-800

IMG_4414

1″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO-800

IMG_4424

1/6″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO-800

Keep looking up, you never know what you will find.

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

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.

Attempts at Comet Lovejoy: From my backyard

This new year gifted us with many great opportunities to see something truly unique. It’s called C/2014 Q2, also known as, Comet Lovejoy.

Comet Lovejoy was first discovered by Terry Lovejoy in Australia in August 2014. Ever since that time, it has brightened significantly, and has now crossed the celestial equator becoming visible for the Northern Hemisphere. Since the start of the new year, I’ve been trying to image the comet. The next few posts will chronicle my attempts to image the comet.

 

My First Attempt

On January 6, 2015, I started my journey on my front yard, freezing myself in sub-zero temperatures. I opted to use my tripod instead of my telescope. I started taking pictures of the full moon. It was magnificent!

IMG_0300

The Full Moon

After capturing a number of good images, I went on to image the Orion Nebula. That took more effort, but it was all for naught, as my images were not focused enough. It was heartbreaking but there was no point sulking on it.

IMG_0415

Orion Nebula Out of Focus

 

IMG_0415

Cropped_Orion_Nebula

I then decided to try my hand at imaging the comet, and I was dealt a good hand. Using my father’s telephoto lens, I was able to image the comet near Orion. I took a number of two second exposures of the image, adjusting the image to get the comet at the center of the frame each time until it was just right. I was able to stack them together to reduce the noise. The final image was dim, but I have, indeed, caught a comet.

IMG_0798 - Copy

Comet Lovejoy – Highlighted

IMG_0798

Comet_Cropped

My camera’s memory was filling up, and I decided to end the session with a few images of the Pleiades. Those were one of the best images I had captured that night. The seven sisters were shining beautifully that night with all their grace.

IMG_0971

M45/The Pleiades

IMG_0971

The Pleiades_Cropped

That night was a successful night. I was able to image many celestial objects. It served as the start of my journey to image the comet, and other Deep Sky Objects. I continued my journey in the next few days.

 

Timelapse of the Moon

On October, 9, 2014, I decided to image the waning gibbous Moon. My main motivation was to capture the Moon at close to the full phase for a friend of mine, but I also took the opportunity to make a time lapse video of the Moon’s movement.

IMG_9967

Waning Gibbous Moon. Exposure at 1/160 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 100

I first imaged the Moon exposing it for 1/160 of a second, at f/5.6 and with an ISO of 100. After looking at it, I reduced the exposure time to 1/200 of a second, and stopped down the aperture to f/8, which gave me an image with better contrast between the mariae and mountainous areas.

IMG_9988

Waning Gibbous Moon. Exposure at 1/200 seconds, f/8, and ISO 100

After I got good shots of the Moon, I activated the camera’s intervalometer and left it to shoot the Moon. The video below is made up of 184 frames at 15 fps. Each frame was taken 15 seconds apart. It took the camera a while to get all the shots, therefore, I passed the time by raking the lawn. It was fun, and it was great exercise. Once I got all the frames I needed, I packed up and went back inside. The next day, I made the video using a program downloaded from Startrails.de. Here is the video:

I had a great and productive time that night. I got a lot of pictures of the Moon, and I have another timelapse video to share. I hope to have more productive nights like this in the future.

 

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