Cumulative Cumulus

I enjoy using the NightCap app on my iPad. It has several time exposure settings for special night situations such as star trails, ISS passes, and meteors. It also has a light trails setting. One could set the iPad in a dark scene and move a flashlight around painting lines, figures, or words in the time exposure. I wondered if that setting would work in a bright blue sky scene with passing white cumulus clouds.

The iPad was propped up at about 45˚ and the exposure was started. This first photo was for 33 seconds. Notice the tree leaves at the left. They were moving with the breeze and were blurred. The clouds streaked during the exposure from lower left to upper right for a weird and pleasing effect.

NightCap | Light Trails mode | 33 sec

More clouds drifted by in this 323 sec exposure. I think this experiment deserves more trials to see what other interesting effects it can produce. What do you think?

NightCap | Light Trails mode | 323 sec

Daytime Mars With Moon

It was 6:22 am CDT. Sunrise was 6:09. I stepped outside with binoculars to see if Mars was visible near the Moon. Yes, it was easy to see. The Moon will be near Venus the morning of 15 August.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS | ISO 100 | 1/40 sec

Starlink 6 Train

Two nights ago the Starlink 6 train of satellites launched by SpaceX passed directly over our location at magnitude 0.8. Clouds were a problem. We were able to see about 10 of them briefly in a small gap between the clouds. Last night they passed again, but farther to the south and only 36˚ up from the horizon. The sky conditions were better but worsening. They were to be at magnitude 3.2 which is not very bright in our urban setting.

NightCap on the iPad does a good job capturing night time events. I set it for ISS passes and hoped for the best. We stood in a relatively dark place down the street while the iPad recorded a 6 min time exposure. We watched in amazement as the entire train of 60 Starlink satellites passed right-to-left across the part of the sky still clear. They were quite dim but we easily saw them pass. The clouds were steadily encroaching from the right.

The photographic results were a disappointment. The satellites passed under the Moon and barely under Canis Minor in the center before they became visible to us. Their trails are hidden behind the narrow cloud streak the goes from below Canis Minor and off the left side of the frame. Perfect placement for not being visible in the photo. I tried everything in Photoshop to adjust the image and make them visible. Nothing worked. But, we did escape from house confinement for a while and enjoyed the warm spring evening.

Taken with NightCap | ISS mode | 356 sec exposure

Daytime View of Venus

The evening views of Venus high in the western sky have been beautiful. It shines bright and strong reflecting sunlight from its dense atmosphere. Today, the sky here was exceptionally clear and blue offering an opportunity to view bright Venus in the daytime. Software said it would be passing due south at about 3:40 pm and be elevated 75˚ above the horizon. I mounted the camera on a tripod and positioned myself below the edge of the roofline which points south. It was easy to find the bright speck of light from Venus against the blue sky.

Next, I put the camera in video mode and slowly panned upward along the edge of the roofline seen at the right edge. This 10 sec clip shows the planet moving from top to bottom slightly right of center. If you are viewing with a mobile phone, it might not be visible. It clearly shows on a computer monitor. That roaring sound is not Venus. It is the neighbor mowing his lawn. 🙂