What did you see in the sky tonight?

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CURRAHEE CHRIS
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby CURRAHEE CHRIS » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:26 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
CURRAHEE CHRIS wrote:Or rather Neptune as I initially thought- because it looked "blue" and I had recently read that it is possible to observe Neptune with the naked eye.

FWIW, you're not likely to see Neptune without a telescope. It is barely on the edge of visibility by the most expert observers with extraordinary vision working under the darkest skies. And even for them, there will be no hint of color. This is an object that an expert will only see as another faint star in a field of stars. It will never stand out.


Agreed- which was what I read as well- which was why I was shaking my head in disbelief- and led me to look further and think it through and ultimately the right conclusion- Jupiter.

I did use the Moon as my guide for finding it the next morning. I knew about Venus as well and am looking forward to seeing her too through my scope.

My stargazing is going much quicker than anticipated! Thank you all for the kind words and support

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

Postby Ann » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:16 am

The blue object that you saw would have been Spica. It is a first magnitude star of blue spectral class B, it is very easy to spot in the sky, and Jupiter is currently located close to where Spica can be seen in the sky.

Note the color contrast between Jupiter and Spica!

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CURRAHEE CHRIS
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby CURRAHEE CHRIS » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:31 pm

Ann wrote:The blue object that you saw would have been Spica. It is a first magnitude star of blue spectral class B, it is very easy to spot in the sky, and Jupiter is currently located close to where Spica can be seen in the sky.

Note the color contrast between Jupiter and Spica!

Ann


YESSS!!!! :P :P I thought that was Spica too!!! Im batting .500

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Chris Peterson
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:19 am

A really pretty new Moon, with Venus high above it (too high to include both in the same shot... maybe tomorrow night).

E7_34603p.jpg
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CURRAHEE CHRIS
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby CURRAHEE CHRIS » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:30 pm

The clouds parted for about 15 minutes this morning and I was able to view Jupiter again, with two of her moons.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Deee92 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:45 pm

Happened to wake up just before dawn and see Mercury just above the horizon. I can now claim to have seen all classical planets! Yay.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Fred the Cat » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:40 am

Don't forget about the eclipse tonight. Don't worry if you miss it though. You've probably seen a penumbra of them. :ssmile:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Chris Peterson » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:40 pm

I tried to catch the eclipse on Friday, but a very thin cloud layer almost totally washed it out (it was pretty subtle even under ideal conditions). This is an HDR processed image which comes pretty close to the visual appearance with the faint corona. It's just possible to see the shadowed edge, if you know it's there and are looking for it. The diagram shows the position of the shadow at the time the image was made.

E7_34649p.jpg

2017.02.10_1909.JPG
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geckzilla
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby geckzilla » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:56 pm

Doesn't look much different from a slightly out of full phase moon.
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Ann
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby Ann » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:15 am

Pretty morning today!

There is a gibbous Moon in the west, and Jupiter and Spica are quite close to it.

Pretty! :D

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Yes, reflection nebulas really like to be blue!

Postby Ann » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:54 pm

This morning I got a real see-for-yourself demonstration of why reflection nebulas like to be blue! :blue smiley: :D

It was a misty, almost foggy morning. The town where I work doesn't have a lot of nifty neon signs, but recently they mounted a real biggie on a wall facing the train station. This sign flashes its messages in huge letters and various colors, and when it's dark, the sign totally dominates the area around the train station.

So when I got off my train this morning, I couldn't help noticing that the entire sky was flashing with bright, colored lights. It was the neon sign doing its job, of course, but the sign itself was hidden behind a train, so only its reflections could be seen in the myriads of little drops of water suspended in the sky.

Image
Not really a view from Sweden in February.
Photo: Jasper Nance.
I stopped to study the changing colors of the sky in the direction of the neon sign. Hey, what happened? Did the sign suddenly fizzle? No, look at that tiny faint red semicircle around the sign! That shy red glow is the sign's red reflection nebula!

But wow, what happened now? The entire dark sky - no, not really, but it felt like that - lit up in glorious blue! The blue message came on and the sky lit up so bright that only the orchestra was missing!

It was like watching a five hour exposure of the Pleiades and its blue reflection nebula!

Here is a 647 KB glorious (but probably not five hour exposure) image of the Pleiades and Comet Lovejoy. Watch at your own risk!

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CURRAHEE CHRIS
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby CURRAHEE CHRIS » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:29 pm

I was out Tuesday night around 7 pm EST. I believe I saw Mercury (an hour or so later). I also believe I saw Venus. Question- on Tuesday night, it appeared as if I saw a "Gibbous" Venus- is that possible? It appeared for about 30 minutes I could not see the entire planet and that there was a black disk along the western edge of the planet.

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

Postby Ann » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:28 am

CURRAHEE CHRIS wrote:I was out Tuesday night around 7 pm EST. I believe I saw Mercury (an hour or so later). I also believe I saw Venus. Question- on Tuesday night, it appeared as if I saw a "Gibbous" Venus- is that possible? It appeared for about 30 minutes I could not see the entire planet and that there was a black disk along the western edge of the planet.

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CC


You may indeed have seen Mercury on the same night that you saw Venus, even though they are moderately far apart. According to my software, Venus is in Pisces, at 00 hours 24 minutes right ascension, and + 07 20 declination. Mercury is in Capricornus, at 21 hours 10 minutes right ascension, and -18 17 declination. But they are not as impossibly widely separated on the sky as the seemingly wildly different coordinates suggest.

But what seems strange to me is that according to my software, Mercury set at 20:53 Universal Time on February 16 here in Sweden, whereas Venus set at 1:50 UTC here - nearly at 2 a.m., much later than Mercury! Surely it must be the same where you live? So why should you have seen Mercury an hour after you saw Venus, when Mercury at least as seen from Sweden set four hours before Venus?

I found this page showing you when the planets are visible from Las Vegas, Nevada. Maybe it can help you.

But yes, you can indeed see a gibbous Venus! Venus has phases just like the Moon. That is because the orbit of Venus is inside the orbit of the Earth, so often only a part of Venus is illuminated as seen from the Earth. But right now Venus is actually a crescent, and that is when it is at its most luminous. When it is a crescent it is close to the Earth and looks big in the sky. Even if only a crescent of it is illuminated, that crescent is still larger in the sky then the "full Venus", which is seen when Venus is pretty much on the other side of the Sun than the Earth.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Postby CURRAHEE CHRIS » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:31 pm

Ann wrote:But what seems strange to me is that according to my software, Mercury set at 20:53 Universal Time on February 16 here in Sweden, whereas Venus set at 1:50 UTC here - nearly at 2 a.m., much later than Mercury! Surely it must be the same where you live? So why should you have seen Mercury an hour after you saw Venus, when Mercury at least as seen from Sweden set four hours before Venus?



Hello Ann

Thank you very much for your courteous and informed reply. I believe my point may have been lost in translation. As a "rookie" astronomer,I am pretty excited at being able to locate one or two objects in the night sky. On the night in question, I did some viewing of the moon, then jumped on over to Venus and then just "took a tour", where I essentially just roam the night sky and focus on whatever looks interesting to me. It was during one of these "roaming" sessions, I located what I believe to be Venus (and judging by your description on the locations, I do believe I am correct). So when I say I saw it an "hour later", I simply meant that I located the planet while "roaming" an hour after I had viewed Venus and the moon and other stars. Essentially, I was an hour "into" my night journey and stumbled upon Mercury.

This morning I saw Jupiter again and 4 of her moons. I am getting a bit better in using my 4mm lense and getting better focus. It was a bit windy (or my hands were shaky) so I couldn't quite get the exact focus I wanted. We are expecting relatively clear skies this long holiday weekend here in area with temperatures in the Mid 60's F. Tonight I am playing some Star Wars games with some friends so I'd like to take the scope out and give them a few views of "Real" science!

I am holding my breath though as I sure all my evening viewings are unnerving my neighbors in my development. With the way things are right now here in the States, I may get accused of spying or something- and Im an Army veteran!!! :shock: :oops: :D

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

Postby Ann » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:08 am

Thanks for explaining, Chris. I'm wondering if perhaps you saw Mars instead? Mars is so much fainter than Venus is at the moment. Well, Mars is always fainter than Venus, but when Mars is particularly close to us it can be really bright. Currently a rather faint-looking Mars can be seen to the upper left of Venus, and while Venus is brilliantly white (or a tad yellow-white), Mars is strikingly orange.

The picture at left shows what Venus and Mars looked like from Great Britain on February 15, and they looked very much the same to me, last time I saw them. (The sky has been overcast here for several days.)









But now check out the picture at right! According to Cosmic Pursuits, Mars and Uranus will be really very close to one another on February 26-27!

Brian Ventrudo wrote:
26-27 Feb. Mars lies within 0.6º of Uranus in the western sky after sunset. The pair will fit in the same low-to-moderate power field of view of a telescope. Uranus will appear today as the brightest object close to Mars… no star near Mars shines as brightly. Orange Mars shines at magnitude +1.5 at the end of February and appears too small, just 5″ across, to reveal any detail in a telescope. Pale blue-green Uranus shines at magnitude +5.7, plenty bright enough to appear in binoculars. It’s just 2.3″ across.


You should check this out on February 26-27, weather permitting, I think!

Ann
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