APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:09 am

Image Little Planet Lovejoy

Explanation: Once a bright apparition in the southern hemisphere dawn Comet Lovejoy is fading, but its long tail still stretches across skies near the south celestial pole. Captured on the morning of December 30th, the comet appears near edge of this little planet as well. Of course, the little planet is actually planet Earth and the image was created from a 12 frame mosaic used to construct a spherical panorama. The type of stereographic projection used to map the image pixels is centered directly below the camera and is known as the little planet projection. Stars surrounding this little planet were above the photographer's cloudy horizon near the Bay of Islands on the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria, Australia. Running alongside the Milky Way the comet can be identified, with other celestial highlights, by putting your cursor over the picture. Very bright stars Canopus and Sirius are right of the little planet.

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by starstruck » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:34 am

Alex Cherney does it again! Another beautifully envisioned picture, superbly executed. I find this image reminiscent of Roger Dean's iconic album artwork from the 70s (particularly "Fragile") Earth-bound astrophotography like this is quite inspirational, it makes me want to try it for myself. Nice touch having the captioned mouse-over too. Being a northerner, it would be so strange to see a familiar constellation like Orion upside-down when viewed from a southern hemisphere perspective. Looking forward to having the opportunity to see it with my own eyes some day!

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by Ann » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:26 pm

This is certainly a beautiful and evocative image. It is fascinating to see the smallness of the Earth being so emphasized as it is with this technique. Although it is also possible to think of the Earth as a moderately large planet - because after all, as the caption of one APOD said, our planet is the biggest rock in the Solar system!

As usual, I have to try to identiy the stars. Orion is easy to spot, although the fact that it is "upside down" - well, from a northerner's perspective - is confusing. Sirius, of course is at three o'clock - or a little past three :wink: - and the brightest star at about 4.30 must be Procyon. The two rather faint stars at about five o'clock must be Pollux and Castor in Gemini.

The red star at seven o'clock frustrated me. What could it be? Few stars are that red and bright, and the few candidates I could think of didn't fit the bill. It dawned on me that it had to be planet Mars. To the right of Mars is the Sickle of Leo, and Regulus, the star of yesterday's APOD, is the brightest star at six o'clock. To the right of it, but completely invisible in this picture, is dwarf galaxy Leo 1.

The yellow and blue pair at eight o'clock also frustrated me, until I realized they are Saturn and Spica. Most of the stars at lower left probably belong to the constellation Centaurus, but I could be wrong about that.

Another yellow and blue pair, at ten o'clock, are Alpha and Beta Centauri. As you can see by placing your cursor on the picture, the Coalsack and the Southern Cross are in the upper left corner, and the tail of Comet Lovejoy stretches from the upper left corner down to little planet Earth. You can also see where the Large ans Small Magellanic Clouds are by looking at the annotated image. Finally, Canopus is in the upper right corner.

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by orin stepanek » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:34 pm

I find it interesting art! 8-)
Orin

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by Steve Dutch » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:34 pm

The nice thing about the stereographic projection is it's conformal, that is, shapes and angles on a local scale are true, at the cost of large radial distortion. This means that unlike many other whole sky projections that smear stars out, stars here are represented as circles, just larger in radius toward the edge of the frame.

The stereographic is a good choice for whole sky star charts (as in Sky and Telescope) because it mimics the illusion that objects near the horizon are larger.

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by terrastro » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:41 pm

Starstruck, Ann, Orin and Steve - thanks a lot for your kind compliments, it is very much appreciated.

Ann, you got it 100% right with the other stars and planets. I made an extended annotated version: And here is a corresponding screenshot from Stellarium: What a great experience it was to observe and photograph Comet Lovejoy, and being featured in APOD is the icing on the cake!

Cheers,
Alex Cherney

08croth

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by 08croth » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:29 pm

What an amazing image

saturn2

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by saturn2 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:12 pm

This proyection is very good.
Planet Lovejoy look like to " planet" Pluto, too.

islader2

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by islader2 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:13 pm

@ SATURN2 Where is your post for today's APOD? You have==heretofore==shown great interest in our forum. Thanx.:D :D :D

islader2

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by islader2 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:17 pm

@ SATURN2 Sorry about my previous post. If you look at the time, you will notice that I was typing my querry just as your entry was posted. :oops: :oops: :oops:

Blue Lynx

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by Blue Lynx » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:53 am

Hey,
Is Orion upside down in the southern hemispere?
ie. his sword pointing up!

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:18 am

Blue Lynx wrote:Hey,
Is Orion upside down in the southern hemispere?
ie. his sword pointing up!
Yes. And the Man in the Moon is standing on his head. If you're used to the sky in one hemisphere, it can be a bit surreal to see it in the other. (Mainly, this is an issue with constellations near the celestial equator, since those are the ones you are most likely to view from the opposite direction in different hemispheres).
Chris

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neptunium

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by neptunium » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:27 am

It's apparent that the user has IE8 (or is it 9) in the second picture.

neptunium

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by neptunium » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:29 am

I meant Windows 7 (or 8?)

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by Beyond » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:36 am

Windows 8 isn't out as yet. I have IE9. That's as high as it goes for now. So.... why is it apparent :?:
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neptunium

Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by neptunium » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:39 am

The top of the image where it says "Stellarium 0.11.0"

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Re: APOD: Little Planet Lovejoy (2012 Jan 11)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:51 am

Beyond wrote:Windows 8 isn't out as yet. I have IE9. That's as high as it goes for now. So.... why is it apparent :?:
It's a Windows 7 screen grab. But I don't really see the point... Windows 7 is what most people have.
Chris

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