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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sky photos, 9/2/2010

Tonight was not the best night for taking sky photos.  It was hazy, humid, and cloudy; any planets or stars that managed to not be blocked by clouds were likely dimmed considerably by the haze or simply the humidity in the air.  Still, I got a few.

Upon reviewing my pictures I did not think I had gotten any images of Spica.  My rule is that I have to have at least two images to be certain that I am not just seeing some artifact, and the image object has to have covered the correct distance between the two images.  My Spica shots just fit this requirement.  Spica showed up on the third and fourth of twelve images I took tonight.


Spica appears to the left of center in these images, two faint dots showing the same separation as the two Venus images.  Mars is visible in only one of these images, just over the peak of the rightmost rooftop.  However, it shows up in several of the other images I used for my composite time lapse.


The way I assembled these images brightened the hazy sky to the point that Spica is not visible.  Mars is faintly visible as four or five faint dots - including one that, for some reason, appears to be superimposed on the base of the chimney of the house on the right.  (There must have been a minuscule shift in the position of the camera.)  I had to throw out the first image because there was a major shift in the camera between the first and second shots, but for all subsequent shots everything stayed locked in. So the above is a composite of only eleven images, taken between 8:27 PM and 8:31 PM.

Bonus:  After Venus had set I decided to try to get some wider shots of the sky, including bright Arcturus, which made a guest appearance in one image yesterday.  I turned the camera sideways to try to capture more of the darker upper reaches of the sky.  In the image below, a composite of five images taken between 8:34 and 8:36 PM, there are actually several stars visible.

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