Looking both ways at sunset


after sunset today look west for Mercury at the lower right of bright Venus, then look east for the rising Full “Worm” Moon.

It’s also known as the Full Crust Moon since the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night.  This makes sense to me because my yard still has patches of crusty snow on it.

The photo on the left was made last evening at sunset and shows Mercury hiding in the bushes.  The Full Moon image on the right was made shortly thereafter looking the other way.

Check it out tonight.  You’ll be happy you did!

50 year old camera making astrophotos….

Yup!  I do like to travel back in time.

I parked a Brownie Six-20  on a tripod for five hours aimed through a window and recorded this….

mind you I had to use a C-clamp to hold the shutter open on bulb….but this was just a test to see if I could, so I can do some more L-O-N-G exposures with an antique camera.  It’s got some light leaks but I’ll just tape it up better next time.  Other than that I’m happy with it.six-20-fort-a.jpg

Stay tuned for more ” Clunky Camera Astrophotography” in a few weeks.

Happy Opposition Saturn


An opposition is the time when the Earth lies between a planet and the Sun, making the Sun and planet appear in opposite directions as viewed from the Earth. Oppositions are the best opportunities for observing superior planets (planets that orbit the Sun outside of Earth’s orbit) because they are well away from the glare of the Sun, and closer to the Earth than usual.

Strictly stated- its the arrangement of the Earth, Sun and planet when the apparent geocentric longitude of the planet and the Sun differ by 180°.

Note the photo above is from almost ten years ago when the Moon occulted Saturn.

Saturn currently sits in Virgo, but if you look up in the sky tonight, you can find it easily by looking under the tail of Leo the Lion.

ISS passes the Moon and then some


The ISS made a bright showpiece Sunday night as it flew past the Moon, and Procyon on the far lower left of the frame.

Mars, and Castor and Pollux are at the upper left.

I’m doing this on my laptop, so the compression of the ISS’ trail is quite jaggy, but you get the idea it was pretty nice.

Nikon D70 on tripod