A typical procedure in astrophotography involves mounting a camera on a stable platform like a tripod so it doesn’t move during exposures. Some people have motorized platforms that allow the camera to move and track the subject for long exposures of several minutes. I was curious how an image would look for a camera mounted on strings that allowed it to swing forward-backward and left-right at the same time during an exposure. Years ago, this image appeared in a magazine. I kept it and thought of trying it someday.Continue reading
Jupiter rose over the tree across the street a few minutes after 9 pm. With camera on a tripod and on full zoom, the intervalometer was set for 1 minute intervals of 10 exposures. The camera was set to ISO 800 and ¼ second. I hoped for just enough exposure to barely reveal the moons and not overexpose Jupiter too much. Europa was barely visible left of Jupiter. Ganymede and Callisto farther to the right. Smoke haze from western state forest fires dimmed the sky. After the exposures, Pixelmator Pro was used to layer them in this image.
During April 2022, the morning predawn sky had Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter in various alignments. In the last days of April, Jupiter approached Venus and closed the angular distance between them as seen from our perspective on Earth. This short video shows the locations of the planets as time is stepped forward from 27 April to 4 May. Notice how Earth, Venus, and Jupiter are nearly along the same line of sight at the middle of that time interval.
I hoped to get an image of Venus and Jupiter on 30 April when they were at their closest angular distance of about 0.3˚. Our Moon’s diameter in the sky is only 0.5˚. But, cloudy skies during that time prevented any sight of the pair. Today, 4 May, the sky was finally clear. I got a good image of Jupiter well past and to the right of Venus. This composite aligns today’s image with 3 previous images.
I assumed someone in the world had a clear sky on 30 April and got an image of the two planets together in the same field of view of a telescope eyepiece. I check daily for interesting astronomical images on Spaceweather Gallery. There I found an image by Particio Leon in Santiago, Chile, taken at 11:27 am local time. They displayed differences in size, phase and surface brightness. He used a Canon Canon EOS Rebel T7i through his 8″ telescope with settings of f/6, 1/320s, and ISO100. I took the liberty of rotating his image to simulate my view from the northern hemisphere if I had been able to witness it myself.
The Moon was watching from below as Jupiter and Venus neared each another. This view was at 5:40 am local time. The closest approach for the two planets is Saturday 30 April. They will be separated by less than the width of our Moon. Get up and see it if you have clear skies.
Two days ago, I viewed Venus as it crossed the meridian to the south at 10:26 am. I attached an old smart phone to the eyepiece in order to confirm settings and setup. It was an easy target. Image quality was not very good. But, it worked.
I tried to image Jupiter as it passed the meridian at 11:00 am and didn’t succeed. I could see it with my naked eye. But the camera didn’t capture it. Removing the phone adapter to look through the eyepiece and then returning it for an image disturbed the alignment.Continue reading