Yet another night of thick clouds here in Arizona. I wouldn’t mind if it would actually rain. Not only are the clouds shutting down the meteor survey being conducted by myself and Bob Lunsford but also the professional Near-Earth asteroid surveys located nearby.
While we wait for the sky to clear, here are a few nice images from the past week.
Photographer John Rav took a great picture of Venus setting behind Agathla (also called El Capitan), a volcanic plug in Monument Valley, Arizona. The photo is a ~15 minute time-lapsed photo so Venus and the stars are trailed as they move across the sky. Venus is the brightest star in the middle of the picture. Also note the Square of Pegasus to the right of Agathla and Diphda (the brightest star in Cetus the whale) at the far left. More images by John can be found at his Flickr site. Thanks for sharing your photos, John!
The next 2 planetary images were taken with my 12″ Dobsonian telescope on the evening of February 26. The camera used was a DMK 41AF02.AS by ImagingSource. Recently I purchased a tracking mount which allows me to image objects for more than a fraction of a second. Each planetary image below is actually a combination of 100-200 very short exposures (usually less than 0.1 seconds). The images are close to what the view of Venus and Saturn would be like in a small backyard telescope.
The next image was taken with the same planetary video camera as the Venus and Saturn images above. But, instead of observing through a telescope I used a small wide-field lens (Computar 4mm f/1.2). This is the same type of lens I use for my meteor observations.
The comet is the slightly elongated fuzz below Regulus. It is more obvious in the 2x magnified view in the bottom right. It is interesting to note that the largest Main Belt asteroid (and now dwarf planet) Ceres is also visible in the image. I wasn’t aware of this until after the image was taken. So it was a nice surprise. I haven’t looked at Ceres through a telescope since 1992-93. It’s probably time to pay it a visit once again.
I have recently purchased a larger lens, the Computar 12mm F1.2. Hopefully this lens will allow wide-field images that go even fainter.