Patience wins out.

I packed the tripod for our trip to the coast.  We went to the beach both mornings, while we were in Port Aransas, to once again try to capture a shot of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus together.

Yesterday clouded up just before Mercury rose.  This morning the clouds threatened again, but danced between the planets.   I took this shot looking above the south jetty on the Port Aransas end of Mustang Island.  The lowest in this shot is Mercury, just above the seeping pink glow of dawn.  Above it is the pair of reddish, smaller Mars just below and to the left of larger Jupiter.  And then above them, and the brightest, Venus.  The other stars above and to the left of the ecliptic are stars in the constellation Leo.

The red and green lights on the horizon are some of the channel markers that guide the ships through the channel between the jetties.


Three out of four!

I used a tripod this morning with a long exposure and captured Venus (the brightest), then Mars (smallest, reddish), and Jupiter (just below Mars) together.  If I zoom all the way in, I like to think I can also identify a dot washed out by the dawn near the tree tops that could be Mercury.   If that’s true, I guess I technically have 5 planets in the same frame, if you count Earth.  🙂

Factoid of the day:  the origin of the word “Thursday” is “Thor’s Day.”  Thor is the Greek god of thunder, also known as the Roman god Jupiter.  (according to wikipedia, anyway).

Happy Thursday!IMG_4875

Two out of four’s not bad.

I went outside before dawn this morning, to take the garbage can to the curb.  I looked up in the sky and saw two bright planets shining in the East.


I fired up my Sky Guide iphone app to get my bearings.  Venus is the one above, and Jupiter is the one below.   I was disappointed to not be able to see Mars, which should have been just above Jupiter, but it must have been washed out by the light of Jupiter.  Mercury had just risen but was too far below my view of the horizon.  IMG_9257

Mid-week lake run.

We headed to the lake after work tonight to meet Lynn, Dan, and their niece Paige at the marina. We headed to the cove for a float and dinner on the boat. A good time was had by all. This is a shot after sunset with Venus to the right of the crescent moon.
Pretty sky.


Conjunction, junction, what’s your function?

Jupiter, Venus, the Moon and Aldebaran.

I awoke this morning to the sound of Monte getting up and going outside.  He had been planning on watching this morning’s quadruple conjunction of the crescent Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Aldebaran.  So, I hopped out of bed too.  I grabbed my camera and he dug out the tripod.

It was 6 AM and the sun was already starting to come up.   An hour earlier would have been better, light-wise, but the event was clearly visible from our front yard.

In the shot above, Jupiter is on the top.  Venus is below, it is at its brightest this month.  If you look closely, you can see the star Aldebaran on the right side of the frame (vertically about halfway between the Moon and Venus).  There is another faint star to the bottom left of Jupiter, but I don’t know what that one is called.

It was a pretty sight.  It is always thrilling to see the dance of the moon, planets and stars.  This morning the clouds lifted and we were treated to a great view.

The last transit of Venus of the 21st century.

While it was possible for us to see the transit by looking through our welder’s glass.  It really wasn’t useful for taking a picture – it was too small.  Monte mounted a pair of binoculars on a tripod and used that to focus an image of the sun and the transit of venus on a piece of paper.  That’s what these are images of.

The transit started right on time.  If you look just to the right of the top of this image, you can see Venus just starting to show up.  You can also see 4 or 5 sunspots in each image.

It begins.

A little while later, Venus is clearly visible on the face of the sun.

A little while later.

This was one of the last images, taken shortly before sunset.

Right before sunset.

Jul 14, 2010

The moon, planets & stars, oh my!

You might want to go into a dark room to see this image.   I follow an online sky-watching site called Sky & Telescope.  Each week it points out notable things in the night sky to watch out for.   This week there is a pretty cool lining up of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn, alongside the crescent moon.

So, I went out tonight on a mission to try to capture a picture of this glorious event.  I had limited success.  Mercury was not visible.  I was able to see the others.   Here is the best image I have.   Not great, but kind of cool if you think about what you’re seeing.    If you look diagonally  from top left down to bottom right you can see:  Saturn, then Mars, then Venus (brightest star to the right of the crescent moon) then below Venus to the right is Regulus.

Pretty cool, eh?!

If you look on the right side between Saturn and Mars, you’ll see the star Denebola, which is part of the constellation Leo.

This is the diagram from Sky & Telescope, if it helps.

I’m starting to look at fancy-dancy cameras now.   Not sure if that was the point of this picture-a-day project, but we’ll see what develops.  get it?  develops?   heh heh  😉