Welcome to SJAstro.org
    astronomical snapshots by

Older #50

 

SJAstro Page Index  |  Weather Links  |  Mercury 2022  |  Lunar X   | 

 

 

Total Lunar Eclipse from Cape May
November 8, 2022

A Total Lunar Eclipse was visible from New Jersey on November 8, 2022, so a couple of friends and myself went to Cape May, NJ, to observe it. Except for a few snapshots of the locale at the west end of Beach Ave, taken with my iPhone 11, I just observed visually with unaided eyes and 15x56 binoculars. The image above was captured at 5:45 am EST (handheld; 1/8 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100) about a third of the way through totality and shortly before the middle of twilight (astronomical twilight began at 5:04 am, sunrise would be at 6:35 am). At the time of the picture, the Moon was about 9 altitude and 284 azimuth. Mouseover for a labeled close-up crop of the moon. The foreground illumination was provided by the abundance of artificial lighting at the west end of Beach Ave, some of which is visible in this snapshot looking south from the same spot.

I arrived at Cape May at 3:11 am EST, ten minutes after first penumbral contact. By 3:30 am, the upper part of the moon seemed slightly darkened, but it's hard to tell if it was due to the veil of cloudiness which was present towards the moon during the entire eclipse, but never enough to obscure it completely. At 3:42 am, I saw a bright meteor, about mag -2.x (brighter than Mars, perhaps as bright as Jupiter, but not as bright as Venus, the nominal threshold for being considered a fireball). It followed an approximate 15 long, nearly vertical path starting to the right of the Moon and descending. It fragmented at the end. Perhaps a Northern Taurid? I continued to watch the Moon with unaided eyes and my 15x56 binoculars as it entered the umbra at 4:09 am, after which a vague, coppery red color was evident in the shadowed portion. The reddish color became more prominent as totality arrived at 5:16 am, but in general, the eclipsed moon seemed dark; however, this could have been due to the veil of cloudiness that was always present and/or the low altitude, about 14 and dropping, at the start of totality. The eclipsed moon was last seen sometime between 6:00 and 6:15 am with 15x56 binoculars as it disappeared in the brightening morning twilight (sunrise would be at 6:35 am, the moon would set at 6:41 am and totality would end at 6:42 am).

In addition to the eclipse, I wanted see the ISS (International Space Station) and the CSS (Chinese Space Station, Tiangong). Heavens-Above predicted the ISS would appear out of the earth's shadow at 5:26.5 am, just below the Pleiades, heading on a path that went just above Betelgeuse and reach a very bright magnitude -3.3. Indeed, I saw a relatively dim ISS with 15x56 binoculars just before it emerged from the shadow. However, my main interest was to spot the Cygnus freighter heading to the ISS and trailing behind it by an unknown amount (it launched from Wallops the previous morning, Monday, Nov 7, but I failed to spot the ascending Antares rocket due to clouds; Cygnus was scheduled to dock the next day, Wed, Nov 9). After watching the ISS with unaided eyes for a fraction of a minute, I went back under the Pleiades with the 15x56s and saw the relatively dim Cygnus about a minute behind the ISS. I've spotted the Cygnus previously, and it seemed a little dimmer than before. I subsequently learned that one of its solar panels failed to deploy, so it had less reflective surface than usual, but the remaining panel still generated enough power to accomplish the mission.

While checking on the ISS at Heavens-Above, I also noticed there was a CSS pass coming out of the earth's shadow near Mars at 5:10.6 am and it would also be bright, reaching magnitude -2.2 (new segments were added to it in October, so its size increased). The CSS appeared right on schedule.

 

 

Venus (& Mercury) in the Daytime
October 10 to November 14, 2022

   

As Venus approaches superior conjunction on October 22, 2022, it is moving closer to the Sun such that Sky & Telescope's This Weeks Sky at a Glance, October 7 - 15 says in the planet roundup that "Venus is lost in the glare of the Sun." Such proclamations have never stopped me from looking, and indeed, I spotted Venus on October 10, 2022, at 1:43 pm EDT (43.2 altitude) with my 88 mm apo spotting scope from the Maple Shade, NJ, baseball field complex. It was found at 25x then increased to 60x to better show the 9.8 arc second disc. It was followed until 2:05 pm (41.4 altitude). During that interval, Venus was 3.4 west of the Sun, center-to-center (the Sun has a nominal 16 arc minute semi-diameter, so about 3.1 between Venus and the solar limb). Venus was not found with 15x56 binoculars nor was it found in the photo on the right, even when magnified with brightness and contrast adjustments.

Of course, looking that close to the sun without a filter on the scope requires special precautions. Even though Venus was quite bright at magnitude -3.9, any filter strong enough to block the Sun would also render Venus invisible in the bright daytime sky. Therefore, some opaque obstruction is needed to block the Sun, in this case one of the ubiquitous solar panels found on utility poles in this area (the setup is shown in the photos above from Oct 10). Despite the clear, deep-blue sky, Venus still presented low contrast near the bright aureole of glow around the Sun. One must keep the scope in the Sun's shadow, progressively moving it as the apparent Sun moves across the sky.

Update: Venus was also spotted during the day at the baseball field complex on October 14 at 1:33 pm (2.5 from the sun, center-to-center), October 15 at 2:50 pm (2.2), October 18 at 11:35 am (1.6), October 19 at 12:11 pm (1.4), October 20 at 11:20 am (1.25), October 21 at 11:46 am (1.13) and October 22 at 12:42 pm (1.06 center-to-center or 47.4 arc minutes limb-to-limb). Superior conjunction is at 5:17 pm EDT (21:17 UT) on October 22, 4 hr 20 min after after it was last seen on Oct 22 at 12:57 pm. Sighting Venus today, October 22, the day of superior conjunction, complements my sighting of it on January 8, 2022, the day of inferior conjunction.

Update October 27: After four days of gloomy weather since superior conjunction, the sky on October 27 was clear and deep blue. Mercury was sighted before sunrise, then I went to the Maple Shade baseball field complex around noon and spotted Venus with the 88 mm spotting scope at 25x at 11:39 am EDT when it was 1.53 east of the sun, then examined it at 60x to confirm the 9.7″ diameter disc. Using Venus as a starting point, I then found Mercury with at 12:05 pm with the 88 mm scope at 25x and confirmed the 5.0″ disc at 60x (more details on my Mercury page). Finally, I took advantage of the blue sky to spot the young crescent moon, 2.2 days old and 6.6% illuminated, about 30 east of the sun with the 88 mm scope at 25x. I subsequently found it with 10x42 binoculars.

On October 29, under a clear blue sky, I spotted Venus from my front yard in Maple Shade, NJ, with my 88 mm spotting scope at 25x, then 60x to confirm the disc (and using my house to block the Sun). Venus 1.94 from the sun, center-to-center. On October 30, November 2 & 3, Venus was again spotted from the front yard with the 88 mm scope at 25x, then increased to 60x to confirm the disc. On Oct 30, it was 2.2 from the sun, on Nov 2, 2.8 and Nov 3, 3.1 from the sun. Mercury was last seen in the daytime on November 3 before superior conjunction on November 8.

Update November 14: After spotting Venus a number of times during the daytime since November 3, on November 14, I was able to use Venus to find Mercury around 11:15 am from my front yard (under a clear blue sky). Both were now east of the sun, Venus about 5.8 and Mercury about 3.6. That was my first post-conjunction sighting of Mercury and therefore the first sighting of the current evening elongation. At sunset, I went to Swede Run to attempt Venus post-sunset. I picked it up at 4:50 pm EST, six minutes after sunset when it was at 2.0 altitude, using my 88 mm apo spotting scope at 25x, confirming the disc at 60x. The ecliptic's angle to the horizon was relatively shallow at 33.6, but at least Venus was at +1.6 ecliptic latitude. I did not attempt to find lower-altitude Mercury.

 

 

Mercury in Virgo
October 6, 2022

After nearly a week of clouds and rain from the stalled remnants of tropical storm Ian, the weather cleared and the planet Mercury was spotted at 5:39 am EDT on October 6, 2022, with 8x42 binoculars from Marter Ave in Mt Laurel, NJ, when it was at 1.1 altitude in the constellation Virgo. This was the first sighting of the 75th elongation in a row that I've spotted Mercury. It was seen with unaided eyes at 5:42 am (1.7 altitude). The snapshot above was taken at 5:55 am EDT (4.1 altitude) with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. It's a single raw frame exposed 1/6 second at f/2.8, ISO 12,800. The raw image was mildly adjusted, cropped to 77% of the original linear dimensions for a field 7.9 wide x 5.3 high and then converted to a JPEG in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. Mouseover for labels.

 

 

Saturn in Capricornus
August 3, 2022

The planet Saturn is currently at the eastern end of the "bikini bottom" stick figure of the constellation Capricornus. This snapshot of it was taken at 12:57 am EDT on August 3, 2022, from Wharton State Forest in the New Jersey Pines with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L telephoto lens on a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer equatorial mount (tracking, but not guided). It's a single raw frame exposed 8 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 3200. The raw image was mildly adjusted, cropped to a 4.0 square field and converted to a JPEG in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. Mouseover for labels; parenthetical numbers represent the magnitude, with the decimal point omitted for the stellar values. Nominally, north is up, east is left. Note that a couple of short satellite streaks were also captured. Here are some more images from this session.

At the moment, Saturn, Deneb Algedi and Nashira form a compact, nearly equilateral triangle as viewed with unaided eyes. These objects, plus 42, 44 and 45 Capricorni, are close enough to provide a splendid view with most binoculars. Saturn will continue retrograde (westward) movement past opposition on August 14 until it's stationary again on October 23, when it resumes direct (eastward) movement, about 3.8 west of Nashira.

 

 

Venus at Swede Run
July 10, 2022

On Sunday morning, July 10, 2022, I went to Swede Run in Moorestown NJ, for some general observing with unaided eyes and 15x56 binoculars. I arrived about 3:45 am EDT and left about 5:30 am. Astronomical twilight began at 3:41 am and sunrise was at 5:40 am. Before I left, I took this snapshot of the view to the east at 5:25 am with an iPhone 11. It was not my intention to capture Venus, I mostly wanted to document the position of Mercury at the treetops when seen between 5:17 and 5:26 am. Later, when examining the enlarged picture, I noticed Venus, which at magnitude -3.9 can be seen in bright twilight with relative ease. At 5:25 am, Mercury was at 3.5 altitude, Venus at 17.5 altitude.

This snapshot was adjusted with Apple's Photo app on my iPad, then cropped to a 16:9 ratio with Adobe Photoshop Elements, which I also used to brighten Venus with the dodge tool. I could not find any sign of magnitude -1.6 Mercury in the photo; it's not only dimmer than Venus, but it was situated in brighter twilight through a murky sky along the horizon. Mouseover for labels showing the positions of these inner planets.

While there, I also observed all of the planets, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with unaided eyes, Mercury, Uranus and Neptune, plus the minor planet/asteroid (4) Vesta, with 15x56 binoculars. One of my objectives, spotting Mercury, was prompted by Sky & Telescope's "This Week's Sky at a Glance, July 8 - 16," which indicated "Mercury is out of sight in conjunction with the Sun" (Mercury is at superior conjunction on July 16). This was taken as a challenge. While there, I also looked at the long-period variable star, Mira (Omicron Ceti) which is approaching a maximum. Because of passing clouds, I never got a good view of comparison stars, but I guesstimated it was around magnitude 3 to 4 (recent estimates at AAVSO).

Then at 4:08 am, I saw a bright fireball, about magnitude -6 (decidedly brighter than Venus), which traversed a horizontal 90 path from below Mars to below the Little Dipper, around 35 altitude, over the course of 3 to 4 seconds. A report was filed at the American Meteor Society.

 

 

Barnard's Star, V2500 Oph
July 3, 2022

Here's Barnard's Star, V2500 Ophiuchi, on July 3, 2022, as seen from the WAS's Barnegat Rd Observing Site in the New Jersey Pines. It was also observed visually with 15x56 binoculars. This snapshot of it was taken at 11:40 pm EDT with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. It's a single raw frame exposed 2 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 12,800. The raw image was mildly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4, cropped to 51% of the original linear dimensions for a field 5.3 wide x 3.5 high and finally converted to this JPEG. Mouseover for a label.

Barnard's Star is notable because it's a red dwarf that's only 5.9 light years from the solar system, such that for observers at 40N latitude, it is the nearest star after the Sun. Additionally, it has the greatest known stellar proper motion, about 10.3 arc seconds per year. In the past couple of decades, I've been able to detect a small displacement in its position.

 

 

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS)
July 3, 2022

On the evening of July 3, 2022, the relatively bright comet, C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), was observed from the WAS's Barnegat Rd Observing Site in the New Jersey Pines. The sky was about as good as it gets in New Jersey with billowing Milky Way visible from the Summer Triangle down through Sagittarius. This comet, about magnitude 8 at the time, was seen visually with 15x56 binoculars and a 115 mm spotting scope; this snapshot of it was captured at 11:36 pm EDT. Taken with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. It's a single raw frame exposed 2 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 12,800. The raw image was mildly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4, cropped to 32% of the original linear dimensions for a field 3.3 wide x 2.2 high and finally converted to this JPEG. As pictured, K2 was about 7 southwest of Cebalrai (Beta Oph) at 51 altitude, 182 azimuth. Mouseover for a label.

There was a proper astrophoto of this comet posted in the Spaceweather Photo Gallery. It was taken at very nearly the same time from the Southern Hemisphere, so it's rotated 180 with respect to my snapshot (here's a copy of the SW photo rotated to match the Northern Hemisphere view). Note that Z Oph towards the tip of the tail is distinctly orange in the SW photo.

On both the evenings of July 14 and July 15, 2022, C/2017 K2 will pass about half-a-degree from globular cluster M10, which in turn is 3 from globular cluster M12, so all three of them should fit simultaneously in a typical binocular field. K2 will make its closest approach to earth on July 14, then perihelion is on December 19, 2022.

 

 

Foggy Mercury
July 1, 2022

On the morning of July 1, 2022, the innermost planet Mercury was spotted in morning twilight from Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ. This snapshot of it was taken through ground fog at 4:46 am EDT with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 400 mm f/5.6L telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 1/6 second at f/5.6, ISO 3200 and slightly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. It's uncropped for a field 5.1 wide x 3.4 high. At the time, Mercury was at 3.0 altitude. Astronomical twilight started at 3:33 am and sunrise would be at 5:35 am. Mercury will be at superior conjunction on July 16. Mouseover for a label.

 

 

Young Crescent Moon
June 30, 2022

On June 30, 2022, following its passage last week along the line of morning planets, the 3.3% illuminated, 2-day-old Crescent Moon with earthshine was plainly evident in the evening twilight towards northwest after sunset. This snapshot of it was taken at 9:30 pm EDT from Collins Lane Park in Maple Shade, NJ, with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 400 mm f/5.6L telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 1/8 second at f/5.6, ISO 3200 and mildly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. It's cropped to 77% of the original width x 92% of the original height (to a 5:4 ratio) for a field 4.0 wide x 3.2 high. At the time, the Moon was at 6.0 altitude; sunset was at 8:33 pm and astronomical twilight would end at 10:35 pm.

 

 

Planetary Lineup
June 19, 2022

On June 19, 2022, I went to Wharton State Forest, NJ, to observe the lineup of planets in morning twilight. This "Planet Parade" is described in a Sky & Telescope press release and in a Bob King article at S&T. Except for a few streaky clouds along the eastern horizon, the sky was quite clear and the temperature was refreshingly cool, 55F, with no dew.

On arrival at 3:49 am EDT, 21 minutes after the start of astronomical twilight, I was able to immediately see the planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, as well as the 69% illuminated waning gibbous Moon, with unaided eyes. At 3:52 am, I picked up magnitude 7.9 Neptune with 15x56 binoculars and at 3:58 am, brilliant Venus appeared at the treetops (3.1 altitude). I needed my 88 mm apo spotting scope to find the magnitude 7.2 minor planet/asteroid, (4) Vesta, which was only about 1.5 from the bright Moon (center-to-center). Magnitude 5.8 Uranus was spotted at 4:14 am with the 15x56s, and finally, magnitude +0.3 Mercury was found just above the treetops with the 15x56s at 4:41 am. I was able to periodically glimpse Mercury with unaided eyes from about 4:44 to 4:50 am.

I could still see Mercury, Mars and Saturn, but not Uranus, Neptune or Vesta, at 5:00 am with the 15x56s, when I started packing up in bright twilight. Venus, Jupiter and the Moon were still visible with unaided eyes as I pulled off the field at 5:10 am. Sunrise was at 5:30 am.

The image above was captured at 4:24 am, before Mercury appeared and before twilight became too bright. Mouseover for labels. The brighter major planets and the Moon are labeled in white while the locations for dimmer objects that can't be seen are labeled in gray, with circles indicating the approximate positions. Taken with a Canon EOS RP full-frame DSLM camera and an Irix 15 mm f/2.4 Firefly lens. It's a single raw frame exposed 0.5 seconds at f/2.4, ISO 6400 (automatic exposure -1 stop). It was lightly adjusted in Canon's Digital Professional Photo 4 and cropped vertically to a 16:9 ratio for a field 100.2 wide by 68.0 high

Update, June 25-26: Overnight, I again saw all the planets and the Moon as listed above using as needed my unaided eyes or 15x56 binoculars. Additionally, I saw the dwarf planet (134340) Pluto and the comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) with my 16-inch Newtonian reflector and the International Space Station with unaided eyes. Here's a timeline tabulation.

 

 

Recurrent Nova U Scorpii
June 9, 2022

A Bob King article at Sky & Telescope online alerted me to the recent outburst of recurrent nova, U Scorpii. On June 9, 2022, the weather finally permitted me to take a look at it, albeit with a 75% illuminated moon in the sky and some thin passing clouds low in the south, between 10 and 11 pm EDT. From my suburban backyard, I initially tried with my 88 mm apo spotting scope and I was able to glimpse it, but the view of U Sco and the surrounding field stars was marginal, so I switched to my 115 mm apo spotting scope, which at 50x, provided an unambiguous view.

I found U Sco by star hopping from χ (Chi) Ophiuchi as shown by the rose-colored arrows I added to the SkyTools chart above. I labeled the nearby field stars with their magnitude in blue (omitting the decimal points) for comparison. It appeared that U Sco was between the magnitude 9.7 and 9.9 stars, so my non-expert estimate was magnitude 9.8. At the time, visual estimates at AAVSO were running from 9.7 to 10.5. As of this writing on June 11, the latest visual estimates at AAVSO are running beyond magnitude 11, so it is fading as expected. I'll try again on the next clear night to see it again before it disappears.

Update: I went to Atsion in Wharton State Forest on June 17, 2022, for a follow-up observation. Using the 115 mm apo spotting scope at 70x, I was able to see nearby field stars down to about magnitude 12 around 10:45 pm (astronomical twilight ended at 10:32 pm EDT), but did not see a star at U Sco's position. AAVSO estimates were around magnitude 13 at the time.

 

 

A Surprise Visitor
May 21, 2022

On May 21, 2022, I looked out the small window on my front door (then through the storm door window) and much to my surprise, there was a Wild Turkey hanging out in my front yard in very suburban Maple Shade, NJ. It was an unusually warm day with the temperature about 95F at the time. Based on the plain coppery-brown color (which showed some iridescence in sunlight) and the absence of a red wattle, I presume this is a hen. Taken through the windows at 3:36 pm EDT with a handheld Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens. It was a fully automatic exposure, 1/400 second at f/2.8, ISO 200. No processing was applied, but it's cropped to 67% of the original width x 76% of the original height (to a 4:3 ratio) for a field 6.9 wide x 5.2 high. I frequently see wild turkeys in the Pines, but this the first time in Maple Shade. Mouseover for a wider view taken several minutes earlier with an iPhone 11. Note the small bird left of the tree at the edge of the bricks. That's a Mockingbird, a type frequently seen in the yard.

The previous evening, May 20, 2022, as I was driving home from pizza after the WAS meeting, a Red Fox trotted across Maple Shade's Main St in front of me. I slowed down for a good look and it looked back at me before darting into the nearby shrubbery (around 11:15 pm).

 

 

The Crescent Moon, Mercury and Aldebaran
May 2, 2022

After sunset on May 2, 2022, the Crescent Moon joined the planet Mercury and the bright star Aldebaran, all in the constellation Taurus the Bull. This image was taken at 8:55 pm EDT from Collins Lane Park in Maple Shade, NJ, with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 100 mm f/2.8L macro lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 0.5 seconds at f/4.0, ISO 1600 and mildly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. It's cropped to 77% of the original width x 65% of the original height (to a 16:9 ratio) for a field 15.7 wide x 8.9 high. Mouseover for labels.

Mercury was initially sighted at 8:17 pm with 15x56 binoculars about 4 below right of the Crescent Moon and was seen with unaided eyes at 8:34 pm (sunset was at 7:56 pm). At 8:20 pm using an 88 mm apo spotting scope at 60x, it displayed a thick crescent as seeing permitted. The sky was cloud free, but transparency wasn't great. Aldebaran was visible with unaided eyes, but other stars in the Hyades required the binoculars to see (with difficulty). A couple of the Pleiades were seen with binoculars, but all of them required the spotting scope.

 

Another picture of the Moon and Mercury, plus the Pleiades star cluster, was taken at 9:00 pm EDT with the same Canon EOS RP DSLM camera, but a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 0.5 seconds at f/4.0, ISO 1600 and mildly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. It's cropped to 80% of the original dimensions (maintaining the 3:2 ratio) for a field 8.2 wide x 5.5 high. Mouseover for labels. The picture below is the same original frame, but cropped further to better show Mercury and the Pleiades.

 

This is the same original picture as the one above taken at 9:00 pm, but to better show Mercury and the Pleiades, it was cropped to 38% of the original dimensions (maintaining a 3:2 ratio) for a field 4.0 wide x 2.6 high. Mouseover for labels.

 

 

Jupiter and Venus
April 30, 2022

On the morning of April 30, 2022, the two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, were only about half-a-degree apart (the nominal diameter of the moon), or more exactly, 30.9 arc minutes when this picture of them was captured at 5:00 am EDT from Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ. Taken with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 0.8 seconds at f/4.0, ISO 1600 and slightly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4. It's uncropped for a field 10.3 wide x 6.9 high. Mouseover for labels.

At the time of the picture, Jupiter and Venus were at 6 altitude. Jupiter was 34.6″ equatorial diameter and magnitude 2.1. Venus was 16.8″ diameter, 67% illuminated and magnitude 4.1 (6.3x brighter than Jupiter). As observed in an 88 mm apo spotting scope at 60x, the Jovian satellite Ganymede was east of the disc, Io, Europa and Callisto were west of the disc, but Europa was eclipsed by Jupiter's shadow and not visible. At 60x, the gibbous disc of Venus looked like a somewhat rounded football. As a bonus, at 5:15 am, I saw a bright meteor, almost as bright as Jupiter, pass close to Mars, dropping straight down from the Summer Triangle high overhead.

 

 

Mercury and the Pleiades
April 29, 2022

The planet Mercury passed close to the Pleiades star cluster (Messier 45) on the evening of April 29, 2022, about 1.4 center-to-center. This image of them was captured at 8:52 pm EDT from Collins Lane Park in Maple Shade, NJ. Taken with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 200 mm f/2.8L lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 0.4 seconds at f/4.0, ISO 1600. It was mildly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4 and cropped it to 38% of the original linear dimensions for a field 4.0 wide x 2.6 high. Mouseover for labels.

At the time of the picture, Mercury was magnitude +0.4, 8 altitude, 8.0″ diameter and 36% illuminated. Observed with an 88 mm apo spotting scope at 96x, Mercury appeared to vacillate between the shape of a wiggly banana and a thick crescent due to seeing fluctuations at the low altitude. At 25x in the spotter, Mercury and the Pleiades all fit in the 2.4 field of view, a lovely sight.

 

 

Jupiter, Venus & Mars
April 20, 2022

This image of Jupiter, Venus and Mars was captured on April 20, 2022, at 5:31 am EDT from Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ. Taken with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera on a fixed tripod and a Canon 24 to 105 mm f/4.0L zoom lens set to 65 mm focal length. It was exposed 1/50 second at f/4.0, ISO 12,800, auto white balance. Slightly adjusted in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4 and cropped it to 93 x 78% of the original linear dimensions for a field 28.8 wide x 16.5 high. When I got home and checked my snapshots, I realized that I failed include Saturn at the western end of the line of morning planets. Duh! Mouseover for label. On April 30, Jupiter and Venus will be just half-a-degree apart.

 

 

Mercury
April 19, 2022

On April 19, 2022, the sometimes elusive planet Mercury was observed after sunset, initially at 8:01 pm EDT with 8x42 binoculars, then at 8:07 pm with unaided eyes at Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ. This was the fifth sighting of the third elongation for 2022, and this elongation was the 72nd in a row that I've seen Mercury, starting in January 2011. Here's my Mercury sighting page for 2022. When initially spotted this evening, Mercury was magnitude -0.8, 12.5 altitude, 6.2″  apparent diameter and 69% illuminated.

This image with Mercury was captured at 8:25 pm from the "Vegetable Stand" on Church St in Moorestown. Taken with a Canon EOS RP DSLM camera and a Canon 100 mm f/2.8L macro lens on a fixed tripod. It was exposed 0.4 second at f/4.0, ISO 200, auto white balance. Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4 was used to crop it to 77% of the original linear dimensions for a field 15.7 wide x 10.5 high, but otherwise, there were no adjustments. At the time of image capture, Mercury was at 8.2 altitude. Mouseover for label.

 

 

Click here for the previous page.

Click here for an index to all previous SJAstro pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Jersey Astronomical Society

Meeting 18-March-2022

South Jersey Astronomy Club

 

 

Last Update: Sunday, January 01, 2023 at 07:53 PM Eastern Time