When I look into the night sky on a clear evening I am always completely in awe of the immense beauty of it all. That is why before leaving the house last night, I thought of getting an image of the first quarter moon that seemed to smile at me in the western sky. 🙂
Image taken via afocal method (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on Galileoscope).
The image shown above was last night’s Full Moon called the Paschal Full Moon.
In Christianity, the first astronomical full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox is usually designated as the Paschal Full Moon or the Paschal Term. Traditionally, Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.
Image taken via afocal method (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 on my Galileoscope)
Didn’t know that one image of mine got featured in Universe Today last October 12. 😀 Click here to view the article.
Thanks, Universe Today!
My image, “Moon-Mars Conjunction Over the Light-Polluted City” was chosen as Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day (AAPOD) last November 22, 2011. Click on this link to view the image.
A view of the majestic sunset last October 6, 2011 taken from a windowpane on the 3rd Floor of the Gonzales Hall in UP Diliman. 🙂 I particularly love the crimson-colored sky during this time. Fortunately, I had the camera with me that time and was able to take this image even without a sturdy tripod.
Despite the 50% chance of a thunderstorm and a full moon, I and my UP AstroSoc friends braved our way to Bataan last August to observe this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower during its peak event.
We stayed at Stella Maris Beach Resort in Bagac to observe overnight.
The sky was totally overcast when we came. Nevertheless, we were fortunate that the Full Moon was already low in the west when the eastern sky cleared up around 3:00 to 5:00 AM just in time for the Perseids.
We were able to spot a few fireballs zooming across the region near Perseus and around the Winter Hexagon. The highest meteor count that we had was 23.
We also got to observe Jupiter (with its Galilean Moons!) and the planet Mars though a friend’s Dobsonian telescope which we fondly call Lulin.
Here are some images of Jupiter taken through afocal method:
We finished our Perseid viewing at dawn and left the place a couple of hours after to tour around Bataan. Some of the places we visited were the Bagac Friendship Tower, Dunsulan Falls in Pilar, and the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) at the summit of Mt. Samat.
Mount Samat was the site of the most vicious battle against the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942 during the Battle of Bataan. The shrine there was built as a symbol of courage and gallantry to all Filipino soldiers who shed their blood in defending our beloved country to foreign invaders. I felt honored to have been able to visit this place and pay respect to my fellow Filipinos who died during the war.
Going at the top of Mount Samat was the best experience ever! It felt like I can almost touch the clouds with my two bare hands when I was up there. I also love the cool gentle breeze and the nice view (you can see the whole town of Bataan and the Manila Bay from there). My friends and I were very excited as we climbed up the stairs going up the cross. It was a bit tiring though.
Overall, I consider this trip as one of the most memorable trips I ever had. 🙂 Aside from successfully catching the Perseids despite of the bad weather, we were also blessed with a great opportunity to visit some of the historical places in the country and experience nature at its finest. It was truly a sweet escape!
Thanks to Elaine, Kiel, Bea, Josh, Saeed, Ron and Pinyong for being with me in this endeavor. 🙂
*All images above courtesy of Bea Banzuela
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.
Instead of using my pen name, I used my real name with my entry submission 🙂
This contest was held in honor of Global Astronomy Month 2011 last April. Participants used the Observing With NASA portal and MicroObservatoryImage software to create RGB Composite images and Astrocreative images.
MicroObservatory is a network of automated telescopes that anyone can control over the Internet.
The telescopes were developed by scientists and educators at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They are located and maintained at observatories affiliated with the Center for Astrophysics, including the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, MA and the Whipple Observatory in Amado, AZ.
Using many of the same technologies that NASA uses to capture astronomical images by controlling telescopes in space, amateur astronomers world-wide can control a sophisticated ground-based telescope from the convenience of any computer. The MicroObservatory remote observing network is composed of several 3-foot-tall reflecting telescopes, each of which has a 6-inch mirror to capture the light from distant objects in space. Instead of an eyepiece, the MicroObservatory telescopes focus the collected light onto a CCD detector (an electronic chip like that in a digital camera) that records the image as a picture file with 650 x 500 pixels.
With these robotic telescopes, people can take images of the Moon, Sun, nearby planets and some deep-sky objects even without having a telescope! 🙂 Cool, isn’t it?
I’ve been using MicroObservatory for over a year now and I have already taken and processed several images using it. Below are some of them:
Congratulations to all the winners of the contest and thank you, MicroObservatory! 🙂
I was walking past the Diliman Sunken Garden with someone last October 14 when I caught a glimpse of the Waning Gibbous Moon (94.6% full) close to bright Jupiter. Thank God that after several days of continuous rains, the skies have finally cleared that evening 🙂
These two objects which both dominate the night sky this month were just less than 15 degrees apart.
I was lucky to have been able to take a few images of this nice celestial conjunction since I always bring the camera with me. It was a bit challenging though, because I didn’t have my sturdy tripod during then to stabilize and elevate the camera.
The streak of light above Jupiter was just a passing airplane which happened to be included in the frame when I was doing the shot.
More photos below…
Special thanks to that someone who kept me company while I was taking photos that evening at the middle of the Sunken Garden. 😉
As summer time has already ended, the constellation Sagittarius, along with the other Summer constellations sets earlier during the month of October.
Sagittarius is believed to have originated with the Babylonians. He was their god of War, and he stands with his bow aimed at the heart of Scorpius, the scorpion. Like Centaurus, he is a half man, half beast creature.
We in modern times may not be able to imagine the stars of Sagittarius as a Centaur. Instead, many stargazers know the stars of Sagittarius as a “Teapot”. This asterism is really easy to recognize.
Sagittarius is an important constellation in that it marks the direction of the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It also contains more Messier objects than any other constellation in the sky.
Earlier this evening, I took the chance to take an image of the “Teapot” before it disappears in the night sky. I was also planning to image Scorpius but it was already too low in the south west. As I looked at the image more closely, I began to noticed something interesting. On the right (just above its lid), there is a faint cloud-like patch that resembles the Milky Way. I got surprised. 🙂
Could it be really possible to see a faint apparition of the Milky Way in this light-polluted suburb?
In the Philippines, the rainy season usually starts in the month of June and runs through about November. During this period, thunderstorms and typhoons which generally affect a wide area (sometimes half of the archipelago) are common. In fact, only this June three typhoons (namely Dodong, Egay and Falcon) have already visited the country along with heavy rains.
Clear skies were seldom visible for most of the month of June was so stormy. Hence, having an opportunity to spot this season’s prominent constellations during clear nights was really a blessing to an amateur astronomer like me. 🙂
The sky was moonless on the first week of June. So I took this chance to set up the tripod and the Panasonic Lumix digital camera to get nice constellations images. Thanks to Aaron Misayah for loaning his camera to me. 🙂
The Lumix camera features a ‘starry night’ scene mode — a setting which allows you to capture long exposures, with 15, 30, and 60 second shutter speed options. I selected the 60 sec exposure and point to regions of some of my favorite constellations.
Note that the Lumix didn’t have ISO control when in starry night mode. If I set the camera to manual mode (where I do have access to the ISO settings), I don’t have access to the exposure time. The longest exposure time I have in manual mode is 1/8 seconds. But after I looked at the pictures in manual mode (ISO 1600, 1/8 seconds exposure), I notice that there are a lot of noise. I think they’re trying to hide the fact that the Lumix is very noisy in high ISO mode so they made it not selectable when you’re using long exposures.
Anyway, below are some of the photos I took from our residential area in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. I used Photoshop to add the constellation lines.
1 June 2011
camera settings: 6mm, f/2.8, 60 sec. exposure time, ISO-80
Zooming into the photo above will reveal vertical streaks (not the star trails). These unnecessary streaks have occurred because I forgot to use the self timer on the camera for this shot. By clicking on the shutter button, even a slight vibration from the finger would create blur on the picture, even when you are using a tripod.
5 June 2011
camera settings: 6mm, f/2.8, 60 sec. exposure time, ISO-80
By the way, I am living from a suburban site. The limiting magnitude for such a location is frequently close to 4 . This means that the apparent magnitude of the faintest star that could be visible to the unaided eye is about magnitude 4.
The original images were a bit darker but I increased the brightness and contrast in the post processing to find out the dimmest star recorded. I found that every star that was visible with the naked eye was in the image, which is good! The results of each shot have actually far exceeded my expectations. I never thought that a little humble compact camera could go a long way.
I have also tried using this camera in shooting landscape and scenery pictures and it also produced good results. Click here to see my previous post about it. At about 30-45 minutes after the sunset, the sky is not completely dark yet, but the colour appears to be more intense with traces of natural light still available. It would also be nice to take sky photos during this time.
Perhaps, this could be an interesting camera at a truly dark sky site. I have yet to try that when I still have the opportunity. 🙂
I began my preparation to observe the June 16, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse as soon as I’ve learned about it several months ago.
It was a relatively rare opportunity to observe a Total Eclipse of the Moon — not to mention that the duration of totality of this eclipse will be one of the longest in 100 years (totality lasted for 100 minutes, from 3:22 am until around 5:02 am PHT).
I immediately checked the eclipse circumstances available in the NASA eclipse website and estimated the location of the Moon for each phase using Stellarium, so as to choose the best place to observe the event. I also reviewed the previous photos I’ve taken to see which places have a clear view of the southwest sky — the region where the Moon was mostly located during the course of the whole eclipse event. After considering a few sites, I came down to only three choices — the PAGASA Observatory in UP Diliman, a place along San Miguel by the Bay and at the Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo.
Dropping the other two choices, I observed at the Seven Suites.
Since I still have a class to attend the following morning, observing at San Miguel by the Bay was the least good option. It surely was a nice place to observe as it has a very clear western horizon (which will enable me to catch a glimpse of the eclipsed moon setting at the bayside), but traveling would be a bit of a hassle for me because it was too far. The most convenient choice was actually to observe at the PAGASA Observatory. It’s just a walking distance away from my college and most of my orgmates in UP AstroSoc were there, too. However, I was worried that the buildings surrounding the observatory might block the view of the Moon when it gets too low during the last phases.
Through Mr. Ramon Acevedo or Kuya Ramon — an alumnus of my astronomy org UP AstroSoc — the manager of Seven Suites allowed me and a few more orgmates to observe from Seven Suites for free 🙂 Thanks, Kuya Ramon!
Seven Suites is the first and only hotel observatory in the Philippines. As it is situated along the hillside route of Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City (not too far away from UP Diliman), it offers a breathtaking view of Manila by night — a stunning view of the metropolis, its city lights and the dazzling night sky. It also houses a 12”diameter Dobsonian which is the fourth largest telescope in the country.
We arrived at Seven Suites at about two hours before the start of the penumbral eclipse. Upon reaching the roof deck, we marveled at the awesome cityscape just below us.
Despite the rainy weather forecast, thank God it didn’t rain a bit the whole night. Only a few patches of clouds could be seen floating amid the moonlit sky.
A few minutes past midnight, a group of mediamen from a local TV Network came to join us to cover the event. Someone from GMA contacted me earlier that day via Twitter for an interview regarding the eclipse. He told me that he learned about me after seeing a post which linked my astro blog. He further asked me where I will be observing the event and I told him of my plan and the time of the eclipse . I also added that another group of my orgmates in UP AstroSoc will also be observing the event from the PAGASA Observatory. After our conversation, he said that they will send a group there. And they did. Kuya Ramon was also notified of their coming.
I shied away from the camera when they started doing the interview. Any how, my other orgmates were also there and they answered the interview questions adequately. 🙂
All of us were excited to witness the eclipse. But before it started, a bright fireball zoomed in to our view. It came from the northeast direction, near the Summer Triangle so we guessed that it could be a June Lyrid.
At the time of the penumbral eclipse, no visible changes in the moon’s brightness can be easily recognized until it slowly become dimmer a few minutes before the umbral phase. By about 2:30 AM, a small part of the Moon on its upper left limb was already being covered by the Earth’s shadow. This chunk grew larger and larger after several minutes until finally only a small sliver of the Moon remained visible. The Moon entered totality at 3:22 AM. Just before the light on the Moon totally disappeared, an apparent reddening of the lunar disk took place. It became more and more obvious to the eye until the whole lunar disk was transformed to a blood-red orb hanging above among the stars. It was a breath-taking view.
I also created two montage composed of the images of the Moon during different stages of the eclipse. In the second photo, the images were taken by about 5-10 minutes apart.
Totality ended at 5:02 AM. Unfortunately, the fifth contact (end of the partial eclipse) and sixth contact (end of the penumbral eclipse) could not be observed from the Philippines since the moonset was at 5:30 AM.
Here is a time-lapse video of the setting eclipsed Moon which I made using Windows Movie Maker. The transition of the images were quite slow because each frame can only be separated by a minimum of 1 second when using WMM. Can anyone suggest a better video editing software (preferably with a small size on disk) that can be used by amateurs?
Only a small part of the Moon remained visible as it continuously sank near the horizon. A few minutes before sunrise, we noticed another nice atmospheric phenomenon — anticrepuscular rays.
Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky during sunrise or sunset.
We packed up and prepared to leave at around 6:00 in the morning. I was starting to feel tired during then but I resisted sleepiness as I still need to attend my class. One of us even said that we were already like zombies during that moment because of sleep-deprivation. Haha!
Our efforts didn’t go fruitless, anyway. Seeing the Red Moon was truly a priceless experience. Besides, I was also happy that I was finally able to set foot in Seven Suites after a few years. Yes, I’ve been planning to visit the place ever since. but some circumstances seemed to hindered me most of the time.
All photos were taken using Nikon D3000 DSLR camera. Thank you, Nicky for lending me your camera. 🙂
My fellow UP AstroSoc members who observed at the PAGASA Observatory were also successful in observing and documenting this event. God is really great, we were not clouded out. 🙂 Like us, they also got interviewed during the event.
The news reports including the interviews came out later that day. The person from GMA who contacted me texted me that the video coverage was already being aired. I wasn’t able to catch it on the television but it was now available online. You can watch the video of the interview from here.
The lunar eclipse was the talk of the town during the whole day. Eclipse pictures, videos and articles flooded the Internet. Moreover, Google also featured the lunar eclipse that just took place through its regular Google Doodle. So if you happened to take a peek at your Google homepage last June 16, you should have seen a playable lunar eclipse photos, like the one below:
This “live” doodle showed a live feed of the lunar eclipse from images from robotic telescope service Slooh. During the eclipse, visitors to Google.com can see a dial at the bottom of the image moving left to right, going through the various stages of the eclipse, before settling on the current feed.
On the other hand, clicking on the doodle will take you to the top search results about the 16 June Total Lunar Eclipse. Some friends told me that the link to my blog about the visible eclipses in the Philippines in 2011 was on the 4th spot. 🙂 And indeed, I got a lot of site visitors during that day. Thanks to all who dropped by and left their wonderful comments.
‘Til the next Total Lunar Eclipse on December. 🙂 Ad astra!
The above image was the 24% illuminated waxing crescent Moon taken last June 7, 2011 from Marikina City, Philippines.
I failed to capture a photo of the Young Moon last June 3 because of the overcast sky. Hence, I was really glad when I saw Luna again still in its crescent phase during this event. 🙂
Camera used: Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera (22 mm, F/5.9, 1 sec. exposure time at ISO-100)
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.
Meet the night sky’s newest ‘double star’!
It’s only a made-up one and temporary pairing, but Saturn and the star Gamma Virginis, also known as Porrima, make one of the most realistic close pairs of ‘stars’ in the night sky this season. Their pairing closely resembles a telescopic view of a true double star.
The beauty of this close pairing is that Porrima itself is a true binary or double star, making its proximity to Saturn a ‘double double’ delight.
As of this month, the two are separated by a gap of just 1.7″ of arc — a quite small separation. Remember that a second of arc is equal to 1/60 of a minute or 1/3600 of a degree. For reference, the full moon is 1/2 degree or 30 minutes of arc in diameter.
Saturn is easy enough to find. Wait until an hour and a half after sunset, then look for it high in the south-southwest about 15 degrees from Spica. (Saturn will be just a tad brighter and should look yellow compared to Spica’s blue.) For the naked eye observer, watching Saturn and Porrima during June of 2011 provides a terrific opportunity to see a planet in retrograde motion – then pause, then swing back in its normal eastward path against the background stars. For the small telescope user it’s even better. Porrima is a stunning double star when seen in a back-yard telescope – and Saturn, with its rings, the most awesome planet in a small telescope.
Camera used: Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera (7mm focal length, f/3.1, ISO-80 at 60 sec. exposure)
You can view a nice close up image of Saturn and Porrima here.
It was cloudy throughout the week of the full moon last month. But that didn’t stop me and my friend Bea Banzuela, from taking images of our nearest neighbor in space during its full phase.
The following were taken last May 16 and 17, 2011 using Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera.
This June, the Rose Moon will timingly transform into a deep red-colored full moon (just like a rose!) during totality of the Total Lunar Eclipse on the 15th (or 16th depending on what part of the globe you live in). It will definitely be an exceptional sight so be sure that you won’t miss it. 🙂
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.
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.
As the sky grew darker, the Moon become more apparent, along with the bright stars located around it.
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. 🙂
Last April, I was invited along with some fellow UP AstroSoc members to join the 2011 Philippine Messier Marathon organized by the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP). The event was held on the shore of Lake Caliraya at the Eco Saddle Campsite in Laguna.
It was a really nice opportunity for an amateur astronomer like me to be part of an event like this – a trip away from the light polluted city to observe in perfectly dark skies. However, I found it hard to decide whether or not to join the observation because I was also supposed to attend the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) in Davao City. My heart was torn between my obligation and mission as a student leader and my love for the heavens.
Fortunately, the circumstances changed just in time for me to be able to join in the overnight observation.
I would finally see the Milky Way for the first time in all its grandeur.
And I DID! 🙂
I was lucky to have with me a borrowed DSLR camera to capture images of the mesmerizing dark skies above Lake Caliraya. From the northern hemisphere, the best views of the Milky Way are in the summer -with the brightest parts in the southern sky.
It was a very cold and windy night by the lake. Dew kept forming on my laptop, and every gust of wind threatened to topple my camera and tripod. Nevertheless, I stayed in the cold to take images. Such is the life of an amateur astronomer but it is always worth the effort. 🙂
Since I cannot take a single picture showing the expanse of the Milky Way, what I did was I took several shots of it and stitched those images together in Photoshop to produce a wide field photo.
I must admit that I still lack the skill in doing long-exposure photography. It was my first time to do that, haha. Every image that I took was a product of trial-and-error attempts, but thanks to the incredibly dark skies of Caliraya, my fellow orgmate’s useful tips, and the opportunity that God gave me, that I was able to produce my first images of our home galaxy. 🙂
I probably have to practice more on astrophotography and read tutorials to prepare for the next opportunity of taking pictures of the Milky Way. Hopefully, I could have my own DSLR camera (plus some real decent astro equipment) by that time. *I still have to save a lot of money for this.* 😛
Ad astra per aspera!
Throughout the month of May, a beautiful display of planets could be observed in the morning sky just before sunrise. Last May 2 – a day before the New Moon- the 1% thin waning crescent Moon joined the four naked eye planets in a very spectacular morning sky show.
This planetary display was quite difficult to observe in a residential place like ours because we were surrounded with several houses which blocks my view of the sky near the horizon. Moreover, as this event occurred near sunrise the view of the planets and the very thin Moon were easily spoiled by the glare of the rising Sun.
Hence, I never expected so much in my attempt to observe this celestial grouping.
Fortunately, a friend and orgmate told me that she was able to witness the event and take nice images of it from the roof deck of their house in Marikina City. She was lucky to have a clear view of the eastern sky from that vantage point. 🙂
I almost cried with joy when I saw her pictures!
Do you now understand why? 🙂
All images were taken by Bea Banzuela and were reposted with her permission.
Camera used was Panasonic Lumix DMC 10.1 mp digital camera (This camera possesses a remarkable capability of taking wide-angle shots just like the ones above!)
Happy observing! 🙂
April’s Moon reached its full phase last April18 at 10:45 AM PST (2:45 AM UT).
During Palm Sunday in the Philippines last April 17, 2011, I and some friends spotted the 99.5% full Moon rising at dusk. It looked like a big ball of cheese hanging up in the sky along a street named Galaxy Street in Panorama, Marikina City.
It seemed larger near the horizon during moonrise than it does while higher up in the sky.
According to EarthSky.org, this is the first full moon of springtime for the northern hemisphere. We in this hemisphere call it the Pink Moon, to celebrate the return of certain wild flowers. Other names are Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, or Easter Moon.
The first Full Moon of spring is also usually designated as the Paschal Full Moon or the Paschal Term. In most years, the Christian celebration of Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. If the Paschal Moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter is the following Sunday.
For those living in the Southern Hemisphere, the autumn counterpart of the Paschal Full Moon is called Harvest Moon, the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox.
What sets the Harvest Moon apart from the others is that instead of rising at its normal average of 50 minutes later each day, it seems to rise at nearly the same time for several nights.
However, in direct contrast to the Harvest Full Moon, the Paschal Full Moon appears to rise considerably later each night.
Here are the other photos taken by me and two of my fellow UP AstroSoc folks, Andre Obidos and Bea Banzuela.
*First 2 photos — Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 10.1 MP Digital Camera
*Wide angle photos — Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
All images can be clicked to see high-res versions.
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.
Amazed by the remarkable beauty of the Moon hanging on a perfect indigo sky one afternoon, I immediately set up the tripod and grabbed my trusty Kodak C813 8.0 megapixel digital camera to capture the view.
My camera is not suitable for taking images of distant objects such as the Moon especially during low light conditions. Nevertheless, I still tried my luck in getting a few relatively decent shots.
The Moon was nicely situated on the sky (almost directly overhead) that it appeared close to my favorite Avocado tree. 🙂
This 40% illuminated Moon was in the constellation Gemini during this apparition. While checking on the images, I saw that a star was visible on the upper left of the Moon — about 10 degrees away from it. After running Stellarium, I realized that it was the 1.93 magnitude star Alhena (or Gamma Geminorum) that is located on the left foot of the Twin Pollux.
I really need a camera upgrade I guess. 🙂 Haha!
It feels great whenever there’s great opportunity like this to take photos of the night sky.
Anyway, with or without pictures the Moon has really never failed to amuse me.
This is my first ever humble attempt to create a lunar montage 😀 *Please forgive my lack of skill in image processing. I’m still working on it.* Haha!
The Moon phases were from March 1 (waxing crescent, topmost right) up to March 29 (waning crescent, bottom right). All photos converge to the Perigree Moon (or Super Full Moon) of last March 19, 2011 which was at the lowermost left.
During its full phase, the Supermoon is roughly 34 arc minutes (~0.6 degrees) and is about 357,000km close to Earth.
Please take note that no images were taken during March 2, 4, 5 and 6 because of the thick cloud cover during those days.
I used MS Office Picture Manager to edit the individual photos and Picasa 3 to compose the montage.
Images taken using MicroObservatory Online Telescopes.
MicroObservatory is a network of five automated telescopes that can be controlled over the Internet.
Location: Massachusetts and Arizona
The telescopes were developed at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge, MA.)
Read more about the Moon Illusion
My image of the Lunar Perigree or ‘Supermoon’ last March 19, 2011 just got featured in Discovery News 2011 Supermoon Readers’ Photographs. Yay! 😀
It’s included in the slideshow found on this link.
Haha, I actually didn’t submitted mine so I wonder how it got there. I just received a pingback from the page to my blog the other day that’s why I learned about it.