Bright Light in my Window

Robert Watcher

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The moon was shining brightly into our bedroom window at 1:30 this morning. I could clearly see Jupiter to the right of the moon. Looking above and to the left of the moon, was another identifiable planet. Taking out my skytracker, I realized that was Saturn.

Loaded up my camera with 70-300 lens and went outside before everything disappeared behind clouds. There were nice textures on the edge of the moon as it wasn’t full. Jupiter’s moons came through loud and clear. The oblong shape of Saturn showed in my frame.


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3dpan

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Loaded up my camera with 70-300 lens and went outside before everything disappeared behind clouds.
First thought was "neat pics from the 75-300mm".
Second thought was "you gotta be in the Northern Hemisphere".
It's chilly here in the Southern Hemisphere and I wouldn't be so willing to get out of a warm bed to chase astro pics.
Well done.
 

Robert Watcher

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Just found out that this rare Jupiter-Saturn conjunction happens once every 20 years. Glad I noticed and captured it. I’ll be 84 years old the next time around LOL
 

Robert Watcher

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I was able to identify Jupiter’s moons visible in the shots above Using a date/time tracker.

The innermost moon is volcanic Io, next in line is the ice-crusted ocean world Europa, followed by massive Ganymede, and finally, heavily cratered Callisto.

Jupiter has 53 named moons. Others are awaiting official names. Combined, scientists now think Jupiter has 79 moons. There are many interesting moons orbiting the planet, but the ones of most scientific interest are the first four moons discovered beyond Earth—the Galilean satellites.

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Bushboy

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Have a look at that book written by Brian May, the dude from rock band Queen, and two other guys, where they pretend to fly a rocket through the solar system. It’s got great photos and mind blowing info. Such a cool rainy day read.
 

Robert Watcher

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Went back out yesterday and was able to get a little better definition from Saturn. Probably the maximum I will achieve with the gear I have.


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Robert Watcher

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Anne and I got up around 4:00am to experience Comet Neowise this morning. We drove out of town to a dark area where there was a full view of the North-East sky. The comet was very dim, only being able to see a hint of it once our eyes adjusted to the dark. But a longer exposure made it visible in my photo. It was pretty cool to witness this.


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This is photo I took at 5:00am. The comet was no longer in sight - but this was the positioning in the sky this morning. The Comet is not too high above the horizon - so houses, trees close by or mountains will block it. Venus and the bright orange star Aldabaran are bright in the East-South/East sky. Moving to the left in the North-East sky, the bright star Capella can be seen. Moving eyes down from there, was Comet NEOWISE. You can Identify the clouds to the right that are in the pic of the comet.


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while I was out there, a different phase of the moon than a few mornings ago

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Robert Watcher

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Comet NEOWISE in the night sky. After capturing it early morning a week or so ago, research stated that from mid-July to the end of the month, the comet could be seen low in the North-Western sky, about an hour after sunset. Anne and I headed out to a good vantage point. Being in the middle of nowhere with no moon illuminating the sky today, provided stellar views of the millions of stars and many planets against a pitch black backdrop. Fortunately, just as with finding the comet in the morning sky - I went prepared with stars and locations to help identify where we should be looking. Initially we were unable to recognize the comet, and so I took a photograph with a wide angle lens and long exposure to view on the screen and see if it was there. That is the last picture of the 3. Once identified, I could point my camera with longer lenses. While still not obvious to the human eye, the intensity of brightness increased around 11:00-11:30 - enough so that we could see that there was an enormous tail that reached far up into the sky (not visible in our morning shot). Mostly it was just amazing standing in blackness for a couple of hours taking the heavens with our eyes.

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Robert Watcher

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When we got back to our home, Anne wanted to see if we could find comet NEOWISE from there. I grabbed my camera and walked down the street to a clearing from the tall trees lining our street - to the N/NW. I could not see anything, but decided to handhold my camera and take a shot (8 seconds) to see if anything showed up. Sure enough it was there, but sitting just under the lower set of trees in the distance. Being that the comet will be higher in the sky each evening for the next few days, we may be able to see it from there. 6,800 years until we see this comet again.

pic taken from in front of where we are staying, when we got home

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Robert Watcher

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I was irritated when I took 2 long exposures (1’st was 25 sec and 2’nd was 50 sec) only to realize that a plane went through the shot ruining them.

Or so I thought. Anne realized it was travelling too fast and thought it was too bright in the sky for a plane. I went online this morning to check the ISS schedule for passing over our area and sure enough - it started moving across the sky at 22:51 - which coincides perfectly with the timestamps of 22:53 and 22:54 when each image was taken.

https://in-the-sky.org/


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Robert Watcher

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ISS crossing Comet NEOWISE - On purpose this time. We headed out to local sideroad that I scoped out in the afternoon, in anticipation of the 6 minute crossing of the ISS at 10:02pm.

Unfortunately the North and Western skies were covered with cloud. So we hung around until the shorter 2 minute lower trajectory crossing at 11:43pm.

By then the skies had cleared and exposed both the ISS and the comet in close proximity to each other. The space station came into view exactly on time, just above the comet under the Big Dipper (NW) , and then sped across the sky to the right (N, NE) - actually moving away from us as it gently disappeared in the sky about the same trajectory as up it appeared (not horizon to horizon as I expected).

Olympus Live Composite feature works well in not allowing long exposures to get overexposed.

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Once the ISS went out of my frame, I quickly spun my camera on tripod, to the right by 90 degrees to catch the rest of the trail to see where and how it dissapeared (Right side).


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Robert Watcher

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The Waxing Crescent Moon, was positioned just above the tree line near the horizon in the clear sky last night. By about 11:30pm it had disappeared below the horizon.




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It was a unique July (23’rd) sighting to have comet NEOWISE being at its closest distance to the earth before travelling away for another 6,800 years —- and this new moon positioned in close proximity for viewing both.

After getting home and pulling up some of the shots with the wide angle lens, I noticed a thick star cluster in the upper left (above the moon). It took a while for Anne and me to hunt through all the possibilities this morning on Google Images - and finally identified it as the famous Coathanger asterism, which is part of Brocchi’s Cluster (also called Collinder 399). Identified by the familiar coathanger shape of the asterism with six stars oriented east-west forming the line of the hanger, with four stars in the middle creating the hook to the south. So satisfying. Now I have to go out tonight and pay more attention to it, if the sky is clear.




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At around 11:00pm the ISS also passed through the scene with a bright white flare visible for a few seconds a couple of minutes after it came into view.





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I finally got a shot of the comet NEOWISE showing the split tail - the blue ion tail, and the dust tail.




A few others from last night

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It’s been a fun month of sky observation —- Just one must have left. Every year in late July, the Earth passes through the debris left by two comets, one that creates the Delta Aquariid meteor shower and one that creates the Alpha Capricornid meteor shower. This year, both meteor showers peak on the same night - July 28’th, 2020.
 
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Mountain_Man_79

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The Waxing Crescent Moon, was positioned just above the tree line near the horizon in the clear sky last night. By about 11:30pm it had disappeared below the horizon.





It was a unique July (23’rd) sighting to have comet NEOWISE being at its closest distance to the earth before travelling away for another 6,800 years —- and this new moon positioned in close proximity for viewing both.

After getting home and pulling up some of the shots with the wide angle lens, I noticed a thick star cluster in the upper left (above the moon). It took a while for Anne and me to hunt through all the possibilities this morning on Google Images - and finally identified it as the famous Coathanger asterism, which is part of Brocchi’s Cluster (also called Collinder 399). Identified by the familiar coathanger shape of the asterism with six stars oriented east-west forming the line of the hanger, with four stars in the middle creating the hook to the south. So satisfying. Now I have to go out tonight and pay more attention to it, if the sky is clear.





At around 11:00pm the ISS also passed through the scene with a bright white flare visible for a few seconds a couple of minutes after it came into view.






I finally got a shot of the comet NEOWISE showing the split tail - the blue ion tail, and the dust tail.




A few others from last night



It’s been a fun month of sky observation —- Just one must have left. Every year in late July, the Earth passes through the debris left by two comets, one that creates the Delta Aquariid meteor shower and one that creates the Alpha Capricornid meteor shower. This year, both meteor showers peak on the same night - July 28’th, 2020.
You’ve got two small streaks to the right of NEOWISE in the close up with the split tail...more shooting stars or something else?
Great shots!
 

Robert Watcher

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DISAPPOINTING BUT SATISYING

We were positive that the small star cluster recognized in the upper left of a sky shot from the previous night, was the Coathanger Asterism. The straight line and upside down hook, were recognizable.

So last night I specifically focused my lens on that area. I prepared the image and overlaid lines and focus on the main stars, so the hanger could be visualized. Comparing to other images online, some star placements weren’t making sense.

I spent another hour searching diagrams of the night skies, to see if I could find a cluster that matched the star layout in my photo. Eventually, I did. The real identity is COMA STAR CLUSTER or COLLINDER 256. (Discovery is about making mistakes lol)

In around 240 BC, Ptolemy III named it for the Egyptian queen Berenice's legendary sacrifice of her hair.

Look for the Fidget Spinner in the center (Our personal observation)

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Robert Watcher

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More NIGHTIME fun. I aimed the camera to provide the ISS streak horizontally across the frame in the middle of its pass. I left the lens open for 1/2 hour to catch some star streaks. Look for the North Star Polaris in the upper left side. Easy to recognize as all stars rotate around it while it stays stationary. I used the cars rear lights and headlights to add some dimension to the foreground.


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