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

Atmospheric Phenomena

Skywatching Treat on Christmas Day

On my way home after attending tonight’s Christmas Day Mass, I saw a faint ring or halo around the Moon. Lunar halos often result when moonlight enters randomly- oriented hexagonal ice crystals in wispy cirrus clouds. Refraction of light produces a 22 degree ring or halo around the Moon. In order for a halo to appear, the Moon must be at least 22 degrees above the horizon. Interestingly, Jupiter was also positioned inside the 22 degree halo on this night near the waxing gibbous moon.

Lunar halos usually indicate that a bad weather is on it’s way. In the Philippines, a new tropical depression is expected to bring heavy rains across central part of the country in the next few days.

Image taken using hand-held Canon Powershot SX40 HS.

Merry Christmas, folks!

 

 

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December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse

Despite the rain and an overcast sky, we were thankful that for a brief period of time God permitted us to have a glimpse of the Red Moon during the total eclipse of the moon last December 10, 2011.

The moon was nearly high overhead during the totality phase of the eclipse and was located in the constellation Taurus. Totality lasted for about 51 mins.

I didn’t get decent shots of the moon during this event but I was really happy to have witnessed it. 🙂

Click on the images below to see larger versions.

First sight of the moon at 10:22 pm
After a short while, the clouds began to move away and we had a clear view.
Moon at totality

The red tint of the eclipsed Moon is created by sunlight first passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light (making the sky blue) but passes and refracts red light, before reflecting back off the Moon. Differing amounts of clouds and volcanic dust in the Earth’s atmosphere make each lunar eclipse appear differently.

Orion and the Red Moon at 10:56 pm
Moon exits totality. Image taken at 11:09 pm
Moon at 11:27 pm. Only half of the moon’s disk lies within the umbra.
Moon at 11:51 pm. A 22 degree lunar halo formed around the moon just before it exited the umbral eclipse phase.

By the way, I observed this event together with my friend and UP AstroSoc orgmate, Bea Banzuela. We were eating a cold dinner (literally!) from the rooftop of their house in Marikina City while checking the sky and taking photos of the moon.

Bea used her sophisticated camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 (with telephoto lens) in capturing lunar images. Below is one of the images she took:

Image courtesy of Bea Banzuela

The lunar features in this image are more recognizable. 🙂 I love that camera! Haha! Thanks Bea, for allowing me to repost this.

“When you want something, all the universe conspire in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
To the stars! 🙂


Eclipsed Moon and Anticrepuscular Rays Image in EPOD

My image ‘Eclipsed Moon and Anticrepuscular Rays‘ that I took during the Total Lunar Eclipse last June 2011 got featured in Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD).

EPOD is a service of NASA’s Earth Science Division and the EOS Project Science Office (at Goddard Space Flight Center) and the Universities Space Research Association. It collects and archives photos, imagery, graphics, and artwork with short explanatory captions and links exemplifying features within the Earth system.

My image could also be found in Astronomy.com’s Online Reader Gallery.


The Blood Red Moon During Maximum Totality

The Moon (and the city) during maximum totality at 4:13 AM (PHT)

A marvelous apparition of a blood-colored or deep red Moon stunned a lot of Philippine sky viewers  during the Total Lunar Eclipse last June 16, 2011. The totality time lasted for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

At the time of the totality – when the Moon passes through the Earth’s umbral shadow – the entire disk of the Moon turns vibrant red. The Earth’s atmosphere which acts like a filtered lens bends red sunlight into our planet’s shadow and scatters out blue light. It’s the same reason why sunrises and sunsets appear reddish. If Earth had no atmosphere, its shadow would be pitch black and the eclipsed moon would be invisible.

According to some astronomers, this eclipse was the darkest lunar eclipse in almost 100 years  because the centers of the sun, the earth and the moon were nearly be on one straight line.

I’m still editing the other eclipse photos. Will post the rest of them including my observation report soon. 🙂

This photo was taken from the very nice Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo.
Camera used was Nikon D3000 (48mm, f/5.6, 30-sec exp. at ISO 200)

* * * *

A Tip on Lunar Photography:

As you can observe, the image was a bit out-of-focused. I had a hard time focusing on the Moon as subject during that time because I didn’t have a good telephoto lens that could’ve made the Moon appear clearer and larger. Telephoto lenses are  well-designed for photographing distant subjects like the Moon. However, those are very expensive. Wide angle lenses used in landscape photography such as this makes the moon look even  smaller than how you had visualized it in the scene.


Red Moon in June: Public Stargazing and Total Lunar Eclipse Observation

The University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) invites everyone in observing the spectacular total lunar eclipse on June 15 – 16!

After the moon got super huge last March 2011, this coming June 16 2011, the moon will once again be spectacular to watch as it turns red because of the total lunar eclipse.


The first of the two eclipses of 2011 will occur on the said date and it will start at around 1:25AM and will end at around 7AM but the fun part where it turns red will be on its totality at around 4AM.

What is more special about this eclipse is that this will be the darkest lunar eclipse in almost 100 years as the centers of the sun, the earth and the moon would nearly be on one straight line. This also means that the Moon will pass deeply through the Earth’s Umbral Shadow which will make the totality phase last about 100 minutes.

This event is open to all. Come and invite your family and friends, and witness this wonderful sky show.

Clear skies, everyone!


Iridescent Cloud from Above

Sometimes we can see several colors of red, blue or green in edge of cirrus or altocumulus in higher sky. These colors appeared when water droplets of nearly uniform size in clouds diffract sunlight. This relatively rare phenomenon is known as Cloud Iridescence.

The mechanism of cloud iridescence is quite same with the case of corona light around the sun or moon.

Here are photos an iridescent cloud that my friend, Andre Obidos took  while on board an airplane going to Cebu. He shared them to me when he came back to Manila. Thanks, Dre. 🙂

To me, it looks like a head of a colorful bird such as a Lorikeet. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Nature is really full of God’s wonderful surprises.


Sunset, Contrail and the Thin Moon

I and my friend Bea Banzuela were walking around the Academic Oval of our university last May 5 when we noticed the sunset behind the trees at the lawn.

The transition of the bluish sky into crimson during this time of the day is always lovely to look at.

Reeds!
PHOTO OP! That’s me posing in front of the setting sun 🙂 Haha!

I remembered that the 2-day old thin Moon will set just before the Sun that afternoon. I checked Stellarium for its location in the western sky and waited until it became visible.

We soon found it hanging below a contrail a few minutes after the Sun had disappeared from view. It was around 5% illuminated and barely visible to the naked eye.

Luna appears against the crimson-colored sky. Click on the image to see the hi-res version.

As the sky grew darker, the Moon become more apparent, along with the bright stars located around it.

A stunning sight! The Moon with its 'ashen glow' (or earthshine) beside Aldebaran

Staring at the beauty of the night sky

We were grateful that we had along with us a nice point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix DMC camera which works great when used for landscape photography. Using its starry sky mode, we were able to produce the images above even with minimal light. This setting allows for 15, 30 and 60 second exposures that is best for night sky photography. Other cameras often produce very dark images unless there is some amount of light out. (Thanks to Aaron Misayah for lending us his camera.)

I hope the sky would always be this clear. 🙂


Pink Contrail and the Crescent Moon

On the walk from our house to the street one afternoon,  a nice sight in the western sky caught my eyes — the  27% illuminated waxing crescent Moon and a pink-colored sunlit contrail against a blue-violet sky. This contrast of colors looked just fascinating. 🙂

Fortunately, I brought my Kodak digital camera with me so I was able to take a picture of it. The image turned out to be a bit blurry though without using a sturdy tripod.

Notice that while both the Moon and the cloud were illuminated by the same Sun, the cloud was pink and the Moon was so white. The answer lies in the fact that the atmosphere absorbs and scatters the shorter (blue) wavelengths of light, while allowing the longer (red) wavelengths through. The low angle afternoon sunlight arriving at the cloud (contrail) had traveled through significantly more atmosphere than the more “pure” sunlight reflected by the Moon.


A Moonbow!

Have you seen a rainbow at night?

Well to be honest, I have never seen one with my own eyes.

But luckily, a persistent astrophotographer from Kamuela, Hawaii has recorded this spectacular example long after dark:

Credit: Ethan Tweedie of Kamuela, Hawaii

In this picture, the bright moon played the role of sun, illuminating nightime raindrops falling through the damp Hawaiian air.

This long exposure image also revealed something even more rare: a secondary moonbow. It’s the faint ‘bow arciing above the brighter primary.

Primary rainbows are caused by single reflections inside raindrops; secondary bows are caused by double reflections.

It was a night to remember, indeed. 🙂

Image was originally featured in http://spaceweather.com/


My Image of the Supermoon!

 

Supermoon – March 19, 2011 | Image enhanced in Registax

This image was taken during  UP Astronomical Society‘s free public viewing of the largest full moon at the UP Diliman Sunken Garden.

Thanks to Kuya Anthony Urbano of EtenyWorks for letting us take pictures through his 6″ NERT!

The Moon was ~14% brighter and bigger at the time of this event. Thin clouds blanketed the lunar disk during this night but we were still lucky to catch a glimpse of this celestial beauty.We even saw a 22 degree halo and a colorful lunar corona circling the Moon at the same time.

Saturn was also there within the halo and there were contrails, too left by a passing aircraft.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by. ‘Til next time 🙂 Ad astra per aspera!

“The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

[Some photos were grabbed from Nico Mendoza and Julee Olave 🙂 Used with their permissions]