Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

October’s ‘Brightest Star’

As soon as the sun goes down and the sky is clear, who wouldn’t notice this bright object aside from the moon that dominates the evening sky?

Jupiter was at opposition last 21st of September, but remains big and bright this month. It is in retrograde motion, so it spent the first half of the month in the constellation Pisces, then moved into Aquarius last October 16.  Everyday it will rise higher and higher in the sky, and by the end of this month it could be found 50 degrees (about two and a half handspans at extended arms length) in the eastern sky a few minutes after sunset.


Moon and Jupiter (about 20 degrees apart) Oct. 21, 2010

Jupiter and Uranus are close together and can be seen near each other in a pair of binoculars. Uranus is the brightest object within a binocular field north of Jupiter, and is in fact bright enough to be (just) seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions.


Jupiter and Uranus in the constellation Pisces (photo details: Canon PowerShot SX20 IS 29mm, F/8, 15 sec. exposure, ISO-1600)

For many weeks to come, Jupiter will still be excellent in binoculars and small telescopes. If you want to view Jupiter’s moons, a pair of binoculars would be suffice to aid you.

However, one thing which really surprised me is that a friend’s camera, something that is in between a point-and-shoot and a Digital SLR, called Canon PowerShot SX20 IS was able to capture this awesome image featuring Jupiter and four of its largest moons, using only its maximum zoom in capacity. Canon PowerShot SX 20 has a 20x wide-angle zoom lens.


Would you believe that this was taken without a telescope or binoculars? 😀

Photo details: 100 mm focal length, F/5.7 lens aperture, 1 sec. exposure, ISO-200)

Amazing, isn’t it?

Meanwhile according to this forum, using larger telescopes with bigger aperture could help you see Jupiter’s belts.

I have seen them before through some telescopes, but I still wish to see them again through a personally owned one, hopefully soon. 😀


* * * *

images courtesy of U.P. Astronomical Society member, Andre Obidos

100 mm, F/5.7, 1sec exp. time, ISO-200)

3 responses

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  2. Michael

    Nice capture of Uranus and the Galileans with modest-sized but high-quality equipment! I looked at that forum and would comment that I’ve always been able to see one or two of Jupiter’s main equatorial belts with my Meade 60mm refractor, but of course I see much more with the big reflector. Oddly enough, 31 years ago when I first had the 8″ reflector I don’t think I was able to see atmospheric details right away, so I wonder if it’s one of those things in which getting used to looking helps you see more.

    October 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    • I didn’t even know that I could get a shot of Uranus so when Raven identified it as such I was really quite surprised 😀

      October 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm

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