Mars and the Moon

Another clear evening revealed the close encounter of the Moon with Mars at the bottom center. Time was 9:25 pm.

Exposures set for the sunlit lunar surface and then the earthshine. Click for a bigger view of each.

Annular Solar Eclipse | 10 Jun 2021

This morning the Sun was in annular eclipse for a small part of the world. Parts of Canada, Greenland, as well as northern Siberia, were graced with views. At sunrise here in the midwest of the U.S. I was not able to see any of it. Instead, I went to Time and Date for live telescopic views streamed from several locations. The views were excellent from Science North, a science center located in northern Ontario in the city of Sudbury. The Sun rose with the Moon covering most of it illustrated by this screen shot.

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Mercury Mars Conjunction | June 2019

I like to watch movements of the planets which bring them into close encounters, or conjunctions. Some conjunctions are at a time and position in the sky so images taken over a few days can show their movements. Such was the case June 2019. A big challenge to getting well-timed images is cloud cover. We have had too much of it.

This image is a composite of three evenings of images looking west-northwest at 9:30pm. The camera was on a tripod at the same spot framing two light poles. I cut and pasted the locations of Mercury and Mars from the images taken on June 7 and June 20 onto this image taken on June 11. The dates for each are labeled. Click here or on the image to embiggen in a separate tab.

Note that Mercury, in yellow highlight, moved toward the upper left between June 7 and 11. It moved farther to the upper left by June 20. Mars, in white, moved down to the right between June 7 and 11. It continued down to the right by June 20. I hoped to image the two planets on June 17 or 18 when they appeared very close together, the width of a full moon. But clouds happened.

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Viewing Heavenly Bodies | 2019

ūüĒ≠ ¬†Updates an¬†earlier post to¬†include recent changes and new information.¬†¬†ūüĒ≠ ¬†


Desktop planetarium software helps plan viewing sessions and keep track of the planets and Moon. Many products are available for all computer platforms and smartphones. A Google search yields links to many sources. Open source and free¬†Stellarium¬†is on my desktop computer. It¬†can be customized to your location and has a nice look and feel. For Android and Mac phones and tablets, I like¬†SkySafari. It isn’t free but is inexpensive.

Online planetarium sites are popular and offer many features. Below are highlights of a few I like. With multiple features, a unique look and feel, and different levels of detail, they can help satisfy your curiosity about astronomical events. I welcome reader questions or reviews about using these tools or others you find helpful.

SaturnRingsTop

NASA

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4 Vesta | Minor Planet

The minor planet 4 Vesta is the 2nd largest asteroid. Ceres is the largest. In recent weeks it has made a turn in the sky and has been well-positioned for views in the evening sky. I got my first view of Vesta through 15x tripod-mounted binoculars in late July. Chart from Sky & Telescope.

Our skies in Iowa have been cloudy and hazy since then. On 22 August, they were clear and offered good seeing. I set up the binoculars pointing south to try once more to see Vesta and was rewarded. Here is the desktop planetarium (Starry Night 7) view looking south at about 9 pm. Several familiar objects are labeled. Click to embiggen.

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