Monday, April 23, 2007

A Stellar Earth Day

A belated Happy Earth day everyone! Yesterday's Earth Day weather for us here in Toronto was stellar... 23C, breezy, and sunny. I ended up spending the entire day outside, doing my reading under the gazebo, and cleaning up the yard and planting some vegetable seeds in between.

The evening proved to be just as stellar, not just weather-wise but astronomically speaking as well. It was the first time this year that the conditions were so favourable for stargazing; warm temperatures, clear skies, and lots of stuff to see up there....Crescent Moon and Venus So I ended up spending the entire night outside as well. That's a beautiful crescent moon that's joined Venus up there in the sky....
Crescent Moon and Venus
Tonight I thought I'd try an experiment.... my hypothesis was that my run-of-the-mill 5.1MP Sony Cyber-shot was totally unfit for astrophotography... I was wrong, it's not totally unfit, it actually took some pretty decent images! So maybe I can combine my hobbies of astronomy, photography, and blogging without having to buy new equipment? Here's what that beautiful crescent moon looks like through the telescope....LunaYou can see the Sea of Crisis (a.k.a. Mare Crisium - the darker circular region at approx. 4 o'clock), the Sea of Fertility (Mare Fecunditatis - left of Crisium), the Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquilitatis - above Fecunditatis), and the Sea of Nectar (Mare Nectaris - to the left of the previous three) pretty well.

Here are some close-ups....
Luna 030Luna 083
The crater left of center, is called Theophilus and is 100 km in diameter, the crater beneath it is called Cyrillus and is 98 km in diameter, the darkened crater to the right of the first two is called Catharina and is also 100 km in diameter....Luna 063
Unfortunately, this is the best I could do for Saturn...can you make it out? The Cyber-shot doesn't do it justice....Saturn
At around 1AM, Jupiter popped up, but again, the camera doesn't do it justice. Through the telescope you can actually see the lines from Jupiter's clouds, and you can see Jupiter's moons as well.... the Cyber-shot doesn't pick up any of that stuff....Jupiter
There was also a meteor shower going on up there tonight (Lyrid Meteor Shower), but I couldn't stay up for it anymore. You can still catch it up to April 25th, just click the above link to find out more about it....

Maybe I'll try to get some more shots of the moon when it's fuller, but as for the planets, I'll need to get some better equipment before I can really blog some decent astrophotography for y'all.... Okay, I need to sleep! Keep looking up.... zzzzzzzzz......

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17 comments:

Laurence said...

I love your photos !
Elles sont très poétiques ! :-)

Smalltown RN said...

those are absolutely spectacular....wow wow wow...I want to learn how to do that....we have wonderful night sky here...and a telescope but I don't think it is anywhere near as fancy as yours....can you tell me how we can do that...please.....

Gina said...

Those are pretty amazing shots Angelo! Very good job! Looking at the surface of the moon 'so close' like that gave me goosebumps! Even with Saturn, the cam didn't do so bad, I could still make out the rings.I will be looking forward to more pics ha. esp. with the full moon! Thanks for sharing all these wonderful pics! Ngayong wala pa akong hi-tech telescope, I will see it through yours. =)

Shoshana said...

Wow Angelo. This is very interesting. Have you considered Sony cybershot 10.1 MP

What kind of veges did you plant? My children's garden is growing now. They're so excited about the corn.

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Laurence: Merci beaucoup Laurence! :)

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Smalltown RN: I'd kill to be able to see the night sky from a small town. The light pollution in my are is horrendous. I remember how ecstatic I was when that huge blackout engulfed the Great Lakes area and the east coast, there were so many stars visible.

My telescope is not that fancy, I'd like a better one actually, or at least I need some better lenses. The moon will appear scpectacular with any kind of telescope. All I did was put the camera up to the eyepiece and clicked away! It was as easy as that, I was extremely surprised at the result. There's actually equipment that you could buy specifically for photography through a telescope, but I need to make due with what I have for now. Good look, the Lyrid Meteor shower must be great where you're at!

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Gina: Thanks Gina, I was pretty amazed I could get anything at all! The first time I saw the moon through a telescope, I had goosebumps too! And even today, whenever I look through a telescope I'm still so very amazed. I will try to get more pics for you, when we can see more of the moon :)

Smalltown RN said...

Hey angelo.....

thank you for your advice on the photos...I will try and get some tonight....I don't live in Vancouver any longer...I grew up there well in Burnaby.....I now live on Vancouver Island in a very small community....I live on 5 acres....my noisy neighbours are the horses......because there are no lights to intefere with the night sky I have seen some amazing sights.....I'll give your suggestion a try....thanks....and again...I just love your photos....

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Shoshana: Hey Shoshana! I think I'm gonna go for Canon Rebel XTi, when my wallet isn't so empty :) Also, I need to get some better lenses for my telescope, the clarity of the ones I have is not the best, add to this the horrible light pollution in my area... not conducive to astronomy. Finally there's actually equipment you can buy that mounts your camera to the telescope which is great if you have shaky hands like me. I think this would improve the images greatly...

As for the veggies! I planted lots of leaf lettuce, some sweet peppers, snow peas, and spinach... mmmm can't wait to eat fresh pesticide free veggies! I'm gonna ask my dad if he can plant me some tomatoes, eggplant, zuccini, ampalaya and sili when he comes over, he's an expert gardener. I also have some medicinal and cooking herbs which pretty much grow back on their own: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme ;), chives, cilantro, chamomile, dill, peppermint, spearmint, and catnip (for Nermal). There's something very satisfying about eating food that you've grown yourself eh? Corn sounds like something fun to grow, maybe I'll try it. Does it require extra care?

ghee said...

hello Angelo!i was here last nite but couldnt comment :(

you are really a very remarkable blogger.your hobbies fit you so much :)

today,you brought us outside the earth and those cybershots are really amazing!!in fairness,i could recognize the saturn and could see the ring around it.

it felt good to study outside while stargazing,right?i find it romantic,too :)good to know that you had a nice weather,hope it continues everyday.

enjoy your night!more of your cybershots!!

tina said...

wow. you sure have a thing for astronomy. and talk about doing things you love at the same time... how nice.

lovely moon pictures... :)

Belated happy Earth DAY!

MeL said...

Parang gusto ko na rin magkaroon ng telescope. Ang ganda ng moon talaga. Na-recognize ko rin ang Saturn (and its rings). Thank you for the amazing pictures. I really wish I had my own telescope talaga. I showed your pics to my officemates and they liked it sooo much. I think few people appreciates the beauty of the moon and the entire solar system. Mas lalo tuloy ako naging interested sa wonderful creation ni God. Ang galing talaga! :)

Sana you could show us more great pictures (things which our eyes couldn't see alone). Yun meteor shower sana. :)

sasha said...

Nice shots, Angelo! Unfortunately, I don't know much about astronomy but I do love gazing at the sky especially when we're at the province.

It's good the weather was nice out there. Dito kahit we're inside the office, it's still hot hot hot :(

What did you plant?

meeyauw said...

That's so exciting for you, I'm so happy you could do that. The photos are great!

Puss-in-Boots said...

Thanks for showing us the great pictures, Angelo. I adore stars and have just bought a book called "The Night Sky" which I am devouring at the moment.

Angelo de los Angeles said...

Ghee: Thanks Ghee! I'll take better pictures next time. I've got my eye on some cool equipment. It was nice to study outside, but the weather has been rainy since the weekend, so I stay indoors, which is probably good, coz it's distracting when its so nice out!

Tina: Thanks Tina :)

Mel: Thanks Mel, I need to buy better equipment so I can show you better pictures, next time :) That's exactly how I felt nung first time na nakita ko ang moon and planets.

Sasha: Hey Sasha! Ya I remember how great the sky looked in the province.... especially Baguio, I wish I could bring my telescope there, the wonders we would be able to see! Stay cool over there. I planted lots of lettuce, sweet peppers, snow peas, and spinach :)

Meeyauw: Thanks, I'll bring you some better pictures some day :)

Puss-in-Boots: Thanks as well, enjoy the night sky, both book and the real thing too :)

haze said...

Did you took the photos with your Canon Camera ? Galing Angelo !! I don't know how you do it but the shots are just excellent ! Hhhmmm jirai essayer un jour si jaurai la même photos sinon ce n'est pas l'appareil qui a de probleme c'est moi! I am no artist **sniff**