What did you see in the sky tonight?

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Case
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Case » Mon May 08, 2017 1:34 am

Nitpicker wrote:something worth showing ... Pluto in 2013

That’s pretty neat. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby rstevenson » Mon May 08, 2017 2:02 am

Nitpicker wrote:... Pluto in 2013, recorded over a few weeks from my backyard, moving against the dense background star fields of Sagittarius. Pluto is seen coming out of its annual period of retrograde (westward) motion and beginning its regular prograde (eastward) motion, up to its point of eastern quadrature with Earth (Oct 2). ...

Is it possible you also caught an asteroid? See my attached image, which has a portion of your frame 1 on the left, and a similar portion of frame 2 (and all subsequent frames) on the right.

object.jpg

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Nitpicker » Mon May 08, 2017 2:24 am

Hi Rob,

No, that's Pluto in frame 1 (see also the red markers I added at image top and right). There are 10 days between frame 1 and frame 2 (Sep 7 and 17). I could have included 17 frames in the gif (from Aug 27 to Oct 2, including four between the Sep 7 and 17, but I was mainly interested in the change of direction and I was mindful of keeping the file size down.

As I recall, I was pretty much shooting blind using my goto mount. After aligning the scope each evening, I attempted to focus the camera on a much brighter star out of frame (one of the teapot stars, I think), and then I would "goto" to a selected (RA,DE) coordinate near Pluto each evening, where the live-view of the camera showed a completely black screen and I'd take a series of exposures to see what was there (more than half showed tracking error streaks and I also needed to adjust the ISO for the varying moonlight from night to night). I didn't get a great focus on some of the images (noob error) but I was still pretty happy with the result.

With a bit more experience under my belt, I might try again in 2018, when Pluto will cross the ecliptic for the first time since 1930, the year it was first discovered.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Ann » Mon May 08, 2017 3:58 am

I'm hugely impressed, but as a color commentator, I've got to ask a question. Pluto is quite red, but in your picture it looks rather colorless, less red than other objects in the same frame.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Nitpicker » Mon May 08, 2017 4:13 am

Thanks Ann. Forgive me an inward chuckle at your comment ... I can assure you I didn't adjust the colours (no filters used and DSLR set to "daylight" white balance, I recall). The stars that look redder are typically also a lot brighter than Pluto. I was happy enough to catch Pluto in whatever light possible.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Ann » Mon May 08, 2017 4:44 am

Nitpicker wrote:Thanks Ann. Forgive me an inward chuckle at your comment ... I can assure you I didn't adjust the colours (no filters used and DSLR set to "daylight" white balance, I recall). The stars that look redder are typically also a lot brighter than Pluto. I was happy enough to catch Pluto in whatever light possible.


Okay! :D

Point taken! :D

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Nitpicker » Mon May 08, 2017 7:43 am

Ann, you made me have a closer look at the original pixels I recorded from Pluto. They are very slightly more red, than green or blue. Take from that what you will. Looks grey to me. :)

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon May 22, 2017 5:07 pm

Just a few minutes ago, the Moon and Venus almost overhead, about 11 am local. Venus is very easy to pick out with just the eye right now, for those in the Americas with clear skies.

E7_36258p.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Nitpicker » Tue May 23, 2017 12:55 am

Venus certainly is easy to spot at the moment. I saw it unaided (well, with my distance glasses) very easily this morning, about two or three hours after sunrise (and also an hour before sunrise, when it was impossible to miss). It is approaching lunch time now, and I just popped outside to have another look, where I realised I was still wearing my reading glasses (damn middle age). Yet I could still see Venus.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Nitpicker » Tue May 23, 2017 11:40 pm

Nitpicker wrote:Venus certainly is easy to spot at the moment. I saw it unaided (well, with my distance glasses) very easily this morning, about two or three hours after sunrise (and also an hour before sunrise, when it was impossible to miss). It is approaching lunch time now, and I just popped outside to have another look, where I realised I was still wearing my reading glasses (damn middle age). Yet I could still see Venus.


I was up again before dawn this morning and Venus was still brilliant in the East, with the very slender old Moon now much lower on the horizon. By mid-morning, I could still see Venus quite easily, despite it no longer being as close to the Moon as yesterday. Indeed, it took me a couple of minutes to spot the faint Moon in the bright (and moist), cloudless morning sky.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed May 24, 2017 12:38 am

Nitpicker wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:Venus certainly is easy to spot at the moment. I saw it unaided (well, with my distance glasses) very easily this morning, about two or three hours after sunrise (and also an hour before sunrise, when it was impossible to miss). It is approaching lunch time now, and I just popped outside to have another look, where I realised I was still wearing my reading glasses (damn middle age). Yet I could still see Venus.


I was up again before dawn this morning and Venus was still brilliant in the East, with the very slender old Moon now much lower on the horizon. By mid-morning, I could still see Venus quite easily, despite it no longer being as close to the Moon as yesterday. Indeed, it took me a couple of minutes to spot the faint Moon in the bright (and moist), cloudless morning sky.

I'm playing with a new telescope and mount that I got for the eclipse in August, and was bouncing back and forth between the crescent moon and Venus (about 50%). Both easy to see once you know where to look, but easy to lose again.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby neufer » Wed May 24, 2017 1:07 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
I'm playing with a new telescope and mount that I got for the eclipse in August, and was bouncing back and forth between the crescent moon and Venus (about 50%). Both easy to see once you know where to look, but easy to lose again.

    1) Are you traveling to Wyoming?

    2) What kind of telescope?
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Boomer12k » Wed May 24, 2017 4:10 am

Jupiter....

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed May 24, 2017 12:43 pm

neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:I'm playing with a new telescope and mount that I got for the eclipse in August, and was bouncing back and forth between the crescent moon and Venus (about 50%). Both easy to see once you know where to look, but easy to lose again.

1) Are you traveling to Wyoming?

Yes. Not a very long trip for me. I'm speaking at the Astronomical League conference in Casper a couple of days before the eclipse, and then I'll stake out a nice spot along the path between Casper and someplace east of there, depending on the weather and aesthetics of the landscape.

2) What kind of telescope?

I got a Stellarvue 102 mm apo and a nice little iOptron mount, all very high quality and very portable. I'll have a DSLR on that setup connected to a computer to run a scripted exposure series to maximize dynamic range. I'll have a fixed camera set up with a wide angle lens to shoot an entire sky/landscape sequence for about 4 hours. And a video camera on my Ha solar scope on a camera tracking mount. That should be enough to ensure some clouds!
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Nitpicker » Thu May 25, 2017 11:28 am

That sounds like fun, Chris. Clear skies to you. Did you ever buy that biggish Planewave scope you mentioned a while back?

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Thu May 25, 2017 1:05 pm

Nitpicker wrote:That sounds like fun, Chris. Clear skies to you. Did you ever buy that biggish Planewave scope you mentioned a while back?

Not yet. Sort of got off on some other tangents and haven't gotten around to the observatory upgrade.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Fred the Cat » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:08 pm

Nice conjunction last night.
IMG_0082.JPG

Jupiter's not bright but the moon's light is half right. :wink: It's tricky! :yes:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Ann » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:23 pm

There are noctilucent clouds outside my kitchen window this night, the first I've seen this season.

They are quite bright, but they are not very high in the sky.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Fred the Cat » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:32 pm

Woke up this morning to see Venus about 2.7°N of the Moon.

IMG_0344.JPG

Nice way to start the day. :ssmile:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:15 am

Out walking the dogs around sunset, and we had some beautiful crepuscular rays.

IMG_20170903_191532_stitch.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Ann » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:31 pm

Thanks for posting your fine photos here, Chris (and Fred). Keep it up!

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:08 am

Ann wrote:Thanks for posting your fine photos here, Chris (and Fred). Keep it up!

Thanks. So here, just 12 hours later and in the opposite direction. Not particularly astronomical, but if nose hair images are allowed, so is this!

IMG_20170904_065547p.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:00 am

We have a pall of smoke dropping over us this evening, from fires in Montana and California. Here's the Moon, already well above the horizon (where we often see some color). The mountain ridge visible about halfway up is only a mile away. This is so red and so dim it really resembles a lunar eclipse!

E7_39710p.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby geckzilla » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:30 am

Photos never do such a sight any justice. I saw the sun setting through the trees looking red like a stoplight and thought of taking a photo, but I knew it'd never turn out. Still, interesting to see anyway. The fires have been about here, too. I wonder if there was a red moon I missed. It was yellow pretty high in the sky earlier, which is unusual.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Ann » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:26 pm

That deep red Moon high in the sky looks scary, Chris. From my Swedish horizon, I haven't paid attention to the fires, which apparently cover large areas of the United States. Boomer recently mentioned smoke in Oregon, and Geck saw an extremely red Moon from, I guess, her home in New York. (No! I see that she lives in California. Didn't you use to live in New York, Geck?)

Anyway, what about the fires? How big are they? When did they start? Are they likely to be extinguished soon?

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