Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Carnival of Space #457

Hello all and welcome to a new CoS. Something always happen in space and here you will find what happened in the last week.
We will start with Mercury Transit from last week. What I love about such events is that they are so global. For several hours many people all over Earth watched this event from different countries, Universe Today collected some of the best photos and videos and present them in a single article:
Mercury Transit
Mercury Transit


One of my own videos is in UT's article and that is always an honor, but If you want more information and details including my photography setup please read my own summary of the transit as well.

Two more articles from UT:
From Chandra:
From BrownSpaceman:

Take in mind that next week Mars will be in opposition and as close to earth for the next two years, so grab your chances and aim a telescope to it and enjoy. It will not be as big as the moon, but even if you don't have a telescope you will notice its red bright color easily.

That's all for today. Have clear nights and long days!






Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mercury Transit summary

Mercury Transit is a rare occasion on which Mercury pass in front of the sun, a tiny tiny "eclipse".
My setup was like this. I used a Bresser 130N and Canon DSLR to photograph through it, however there was a slight focus problem and there are no good results from it. Another Camera, Nikon P900 was mounted as piggyback on the scope and worked properly and Another Camera Canon SX50 for handheld photos and for the Sunset video below.
My setup for Mercury transit
My setup for Mercury transit
The beginning was not very promising the entire sky were cloudy and the sun could hardly be seen. However from time to time there was some less clouds and it was possible to see the transit.
Here is my first photo. Notice sunspot 2542 in the middle and tiny Mercury (imagine the Sun as a clock and Mercury is at 11).
Mercury Transit
Mercury Transit
 And here is another photo in which you can see how Mercury moves.
Mercury Transit
Mercury Transit

The sky cleared a bit so I put all cameras on auto mode using the telescope and a mount, and left to find a place where I can see the sunset

Here are two videos from the transit. The first one is about 2 hours of the Transit until the sun was too down.


In the sunset videos don't miss 00:40 where two airplanes transit the sun as well!
Here is a general view
Photographing the sunset
Photographing the sunset

And the video.

And just the highlights of the sunset in regular speed (The airplane is in the beginning)

Mercury Transit sunset with airplane
Mercury Transit sunset with airplane

It was a very interesting and unique event!




Monday, April 18, 2016

Use Orion to see Mercury

Mercury is an elusive planet. It is small, dim and most of the time to close to the sun to be seen at all. Yet , during its greatest elongation it is far enough from the Sun. In this period Mercury can is easy to spot after sunset or before sunrise.. Today 18-Apr-2016 Mercury is in greatest western elongation meaning it is easy to watch.
It is even easier as you can use the famous constellation Orion to help you find Mercury. Just continue the straight line from Orion's belt and go almost to the horizon and you will see Mercury. Actually Mercury is brighter than any of Orion's belt stars so you might be able to see it even before. Start watching about 45 minutes after sunset and look about 15 degrees up from the place the sun set. There is no other bright star in this area so when you finally see the white dot, it is mercury. And if you own a telescope try to observe Mercury and see its tiny but noticeable phase.
Here are some photos I took tonight to guide you
The first one is without annotations:

Orion and Mercury
Orion and Mercury
And here are annotations. Do not confuse the airplane with Mercury.
Orion and Mercury

 And if we mentioned an airplane here are some more airplanes (Looks like the IAF is practicing for Independence day)
And a bird on the background of the moon (From 17-Apr-2016)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hazy Sunset

Astronomers don't like haze. It is bad. But even haze has it benefits and sometimes you can clearly see the sun through the haze without the need of filters which are otherwise a must. During sunset and the right amount of haze you might even be able to see sunspots with the naked eye as was the case today with sunspot AR2529. Also the swallows in the sky flew beyond it to create interesting photos And a nice video to start with

But let's o back to the beginning. Here is a general photo of the sun. The haze makes the skies brown and yellow, quite eek, and the sun itself much dimmer than it should be.
The sun in the haze
The sun in the haze
More zoom toward the sun but the exposure is wrong. However the small flock of birds make this photo special and the sunspot can be seen,.

The sun and birds
The sun and birds
A proper exposure will show some details of the sunspot and the birds are over the sun.
Sunspot and birds
Sunspot and birds

The dark region of sunspot AR2529 is 20,000KM in diameter
Sunspot AR2529
Sunspot AR2529

The power cords also gives an interesting photo
The sun and power-cords
The sun and power-cords


Few minutes later the haze is so bad that the sun fades long before actual sunset.
Hazy sun
Hazy sun


And the new moon for dessert.

The new moon 10-Apr-2016
The new moon 10-Apr-2016