Chinese Spy Balloon

The upper air winds have taken the spy balloon from Montana through the midwest and across the Carolinas. It has caused a lot of stir in the news. My brother lives near the border of North and South Carolina. This morning he and his wife watched it glide over. They managed to get a couple of pictures. I wonder if it got pictures of them.


Venus, Saturn, and the Moon

The planets Venus and Saturn were unusually close together right after sunset on 22 Jan. The clear skies I hoped for didn’t happen. They were to be still quite close together on 23 Jan. The skies were reasonably cleared during the late afternoon.

We ate some dinner early at sunset. The thin crescent Moon was clearly visible. We drove a few blocks to a spot with a view to the southwest and took a few photos. We could see the Moon and Venus, but Saturn was not quite visible. Clouds were moving in again. We went home and finished our dinner. Weather here can change quickly. You have to be ready to act.

Later, I looked at the images and was able to spot Saturn as a faint dot of light. I enhanced that part of the image to make it more visible.

Comet in 3-D

As comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) quickly makes its way through our part of the solar system, some astronomers are getting nice views of it. I found this version in 3-D on Spaceweather Image Gallery. Details on the site point out that David Elmore recorded the images, each about 2 minutes. The images are nearly 3 hours apart in time allowing for some movement of the comet across the starfield.

Paul Robinson placed the images side-by-side about the width of separation of ones eyes. By staring through the images as though looking through clear glass into the distance, the two should merge into one central image giving the impression of 3-D. This viewing technique might be difficult for some. With practice, you can achieve it. It is best done on a screen larger than a phone.

Original images by David Elmore.

Playing With Guitar Playing

During a recent session playing guitar, I set the camera to photograph me 4 times 15 sec apart. That way my hands would be in different places and the guitar body would move some. Each photo looked quite similar. But, there were differences. I used editing software and copy/pasted the 4 photos on top of each other with some transparency setting allowing them to each be seen. I noticed the things across the room that didn’t move between exposures all lined up perfectly. My hands and the guitar showed a lot of movement between images.

Next, I wondered what it would look like if I aligned the four images so the guitar was always overlapped in the same place. That was more challenging since I had to rotate each image a little and adjust for dimensions due to guitar movement while I played. This composite caused the things across the room to be shifted between images. How we see the world depends on our frame of reference.

Dial-a-Moon | 2023

What will the Moon look like on any date in 2023? What will it look like on your birthday? Find out at NASA Dial-a-Moon. An example of what you will see is pictured below for 10 January 2023. Set dates and see views for readers in the northern hemisphere and for southern hemisphere by following either link. Enter any month and day to see a high definition image. You may leave the universal time (UT) hour at the default value.

After visiting Dial-a-Moon, scan down that web page for a wealth of additional information about the Moon’s motions and appearance. The images of Dial-a-Moon are made from those of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in low altitude orbit around the Moon since 2009.

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