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Awesome skies

Posted by: Lourens - Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:59 pm
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Awesome skies 
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Post Awesome skies   Posted on: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:59 pm
Has anybody else been enjoying the night skies lately? I went out running on a dark section of road outside the city last week (there's barely any traffic there, and I carry active lighting as well as reflective clothes, so it's plenty safe) and it was stunning. Venus and Jupiter on one side, the Moon and Mars on the other, and a whole bunch of stars around as well. That's all the objects in our solar system that are visible to the naked eye in one sky all at once! (Well except for the Sun, obviously.)

There's something about running at night anyway, and to do it under an expanse like that is truly magical. The light from the Sun, hidden beneath the planet you're standing on, bouncing off of the Moon and the planets and travelling all the way down to Earth, where the photons rain down on you while the cool night air fills your lungs. High above, GPS satellites ping their signals to the watch around your wrist, telling it that your legs are pushing away the planet at 10 miles per hour and that in only a couple more miles you will be surrounded again by the light and warmth of home. But you are here and now, your heart beating in your chest, a long stretch of smooth asphalt stretching into the distance up ahead and the stars and planets shining above. Runner on a road. Stardust and an infinite universe.

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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:42 am
Saturn?


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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:22 pm
Ah, interesting. Didn't know that Saturn could be seen by the naked eye, and I've never seen it. Well, Mars, Venus and Jupiter is still pretty awesome :-).

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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:58 pm
I know what you are talking about! I even took pictures of it!

Sorry for the poor quality, I snapped those with my phone (Samsung Galaxy S), without a tripod or another tool to hold it still and they have been all done close to the city (Vienna) and the Moon and Mars one even in the middle of it...

But it's better than nothing. Today Venus and Jupiter are even closer together and I just love it every time I see them :) (it is just sad that most other people I know "do not get it", they don't really care about such things :( )

I did resize the pictures to 800x600, but they are still quite large inline, is there no way in this forum to only include the link or a thumbnail?

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Moon_Venus_Jupiter_20120224.jpg

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Moon_Venus_Jupiter_20120225.jpg

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Moon_Mars_20120307.jpg


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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:01 pm
Oh and btw: Mercury is also visible to the naked eye, I guess it was sometime last year that I have seen it the last time, together with Venus as far as I remember. But it was later in the year when the days are much longer in the northern hemisphere and both set before it was completely dark so it wasn't such a great sight as Venus and Jupiter currently are :)

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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:38 pm
I went outside the shop last week with my 10" Dobsonian that has been sadly neglected. Though the seeing wasn't the best, it was still a good time. Five planets and five moons, as well as finding comet Garradd and a couple nebula.

I need to get some nebula filters, apparently they can give significant contrast improvement, especially in the light polluted skies around here.


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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:04 pm
It is good right now Ben! I watched Venus, Mars and Jupiter all in one evening with my dob!

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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:09 am
Yesterday, I dusted off my rubbish "department store refractor" (In German we call those cheap refractors that you can buy at department stores "Kaufhausrefraktor" to indicate their poor quality, don't know If such a term exists in English as well) that I still have from my childhood days. I went out to take advantage of the decent viewing conditions (no clouds, but still a quite a bit of mist in the atmosphere..) to get some views of planets I have not yet seen through the telescope: Venus, Mars, Saturn.

Venus isn't really exciting, but seeing her as about half of a disk just like the moon is still nice to see :)

Mars was a bit disappointing, but I guess I didn't get the focus right (the equatorial mount is such a piece of crap, that the whole thing shakes pretty badly whenever you just adjust the focus... so you have to wait for it to stabilize again before you can judge if your adjustment made it worse or better...)
It was just a blurry, reddish disk, not a trace of lighter or darker areas or the polar caps.

Saturn on the other hand was great! Thanks to the rings it was much easier to get the focus at least approximately right. Saturn really is a beautiful sight through a telescope :)

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Post Re: Awesome skies   Posted on: Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:23 pm
Saturn is my fav! That was the thing I first looked at and thought "WOW" :)

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