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Saturn occultation, Just to make The Week even better...
Stu
post Mar 2 2007, 03:24 AM
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Just to round off an already magical week, here in Kendal I've just been standing in my yard watching one of the coolest things EVER - Saturn passing behind the Moon in a rare planetary occultation. Started looking at 02.00, under a crisp black sky with the Moon blazing away right at the end of my yard, and Saturn was soooo close to the Moon's limb... minutes passed and Saturn appeared to draw closer and closer, tho it was the Moon approaching Saturn of course... just before 02.40 Saturn was touched by the mountain-rippled limb of the Moon, and started to slide behind it until eventually only half the disc and one side of the rings were visible... just a stunning, stunning sight... then the planet vanished altogether, and I had to stand there, shivering, waiting for Saturn to re-emerge... finally it did, and I tried snapping a few pictures with my digital camera held up to the eyepiece...

Managed to get one good one - well, I say "good"... it's no Cassini close-up, but believe me, I'm as proud of this as any of you Image Mages are of your mosaics, colourisations or montages...!

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There'll be far, far better portraits of this event on the pages of SKY & TELESCOPE and on websites all over the world, but this is my portrait of Saturn, sliding behind Earth's moon, at exactly the same time as Cassini is orbiting it... kinda proud of that. rolleyes.gif


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ElkGroveDan
post Mar 2 2007, 03:47 AM
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Hey that's not so bad.

I think I can see spokes in the rings biggrin.gif

You know I think they have various video and digital eyepiece adapters these days. My guess is that the prices have come way down in recent years.

[By the way, it's good to see you at this hour Stu. Normally it's just we North American West-coasters who have just finished dinner and put the kids to bed....along with a few assorted European insomniacs]


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lyford
post Mar 2 2007, 04:36 AM
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That is really great, Stu! smile.gif
I myself have tried the camera through the eyepiece bit, but only for wildlife.... don't have a steady enough hand for it to work at night - yours looks excellent. Feels like you are looking out the a porthole of a spaceship.

What a week, eh?


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Toma B
post Mar 2 2007, 06:36 AM
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You were lucky it was totally cloud-covered sky here... That's one nice image Stu.
You should tell us how did you made it. Let me guess : Small telescope with hand held digital camera at the eyepiece...am I right?
I was planing to do it that way but ...


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Stu
post Mar 2 2007, 07:52 AM
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B)-->
QUOTE(Toma B @ Mar 2 2007, 06:36 AM) *

You should tell us how did you made it. Let me guess : Small telescope with hand held digital camera at the eyepiece...am I right?[/quote]

Yep, actually a very basic digi cam held up to the eyepiece, with a cut down film cannister (hmmm, film, remember that? Weird thin black tape stuff that went into the back of cameras by opening a little door... how strange...!) fitted over the lens and connecting it to the eyepiece... two good shots out of maybe 40 taken, but pretty pleased with it! smile.gif


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remcook
post Mar 2 2007, 10:15 AM
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way cool! LOL it took me a while to figure out what I was looking at, not realising that the circle is the telescope aperture, not some projection of the moon with surrounding space. D'oh!
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Toma B
post Mar 2 2007, 10:44 AM
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Just to make The Week even better...There is a Moon eclipse tomorrow. I hope that this weather is going to improve significantly...now it's only changing from bad to worst......it's raining... sad.gif
Well good luck to you all!!!

BTW:
Did anybody seen Today's APOD ? It's fantastic.


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The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.
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SigurRosFan
post Mar 2 2007, 11:36 AM
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A few images from Germany ...

Taken by Thilo Nedwidek:


Taken by Jens Hackmann (2:38 UT):


More great occultation images from Jens and Donald.


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DFinfrock
post Mar 3 2007, 12:59 AM
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There are more great shots of the occultation on Spaceweather.com at:
http://spaceweather.com/

David
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JRehling
post Mar 3 2007, 01:54 AM
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Stu, my similar approach was to use rubber bands, which ended up leaving one degree of freedom, but that's raises the number of un-smudgy images.

The other thing was to shoot video, then review the frames. One out of 40 happens every couple of seconds.

But I missed this event, except to look up, see the Moon next to a star, and think "That's either Regulus or Saturn..."
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djellison
post Mar 3 2007, 11:13 PM
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Just for fun... D400 with 75-300mm lens, ISO100 and 1/5th sec.
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paxdan
post Mar 3 2007, 11:33 PM
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I've just been out looking at the eclipse.

SPECTACULAR
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Stu
post Mar 4 2007, 12:41 AM
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My astronomical society held an "Eclipse Watch" here in Kendal, up at the castle, and had a great time. 60 or so people, good turn-out...

Moon looked beautiful too! smile.gif

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nprev
post Mar 4 2007, 12:49 AM
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Nice pics, all. Gonna be over before the sun sets here in (incessantly! mad.gif ) sunny Southern California...appreciate the beautiful images! smile.gif


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DDAVIS
post Mar 4 2007, 03:29 AM
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I'm on the wrong continent for this eclipse, however my turn will come late August, where I will be on the Black Rock desert playa.

Lunar eclipses are one example where a magnified look with the human eye reveals a greater variety of color information than is generally recorded on film or digital still cameras. almost all photos I see of Lunar eclipses render them as a garish red orange with little of the distinctive variations readily detected visually between eclipses. I have seen some video which comes close providing a visual impression in the dark shadowed zone if that is specifically what is exposed for. RGB filtered grayscale images taken in rapid succession might be the best method for trying to capture such colors, but I don't know wether film or digital methods would work best.

Using a telescope with a loe power eyepiece and tripod mounted binoculars above my sketching table, I commonly see a sky blue color just within the border regions of the dark Earth shadow but it appears biased toward the polar regions, perhaps due to the bright highlands there. Portions of this 'blue zone' have on some events appeared violet and greenish. The normal interior Earth shadow generally appears as concentric zones of first a rather neutral gray, then duller golden gray to orange gray to darker more saturated rusty red surrounding an especially dark brown to black 'core' which is best seen in the longer eclipses. There are eclipses where striking brightness and color assymetries can be seen within the shadow, out of place brighter or darker regions fading in and out or traversing the Moon as if it is passing through a vast out of focus slide projection. Some Lunar eclipses are bright and garish and resemble most of the photos, others are duller and darker, and some are very dark and colorless.


What are these colors telling us of what a lunar observer would see looking up at the Earth during such an eclipse? The first thing to keep in mind is the inherent superor dynamic range of the human eye, which would be ideally employed to assemble varying exposures to match the visual impression such as one sees in the best solar eclipse images made by people who were there. The human eye could likely see the surrounding inner zodiacal light at the same time as the colors in the bright atmospheric ring surrounding Earth, while a camera will require several exposures in order to attempt to capture such a dynamic range.
In a Lunar eclipse, the sun is being covered by the Earth as well as being refracted by it's atmosphere. Once the Earth covers the Sun, according to calculations, a very thin bright ring of light forms from a refracted sun merging with a very refracted second sun image on the opposite side of the disk. This bright colored ring illuminates the lunar surroundings, the color of the lighting steadily changing as the eclipse progresses. Complex spectral manifestations of green to violet mirage effects, such as seen in green flashes, probably influence the dominent colors in the illuminating ring early and late in most eclipses.
Through a telescope the atmosphere would show a red inner edge and blue outer one, with very thin arcs of refracted sun probably looking overall coral to coppery red but, I believe, near the start and end of totality one would see small changing zones briefly shimmering with green, blue, and rarely even violet colors. A very forward scattered bright blue atmospheric outer fringe presumably appears near the Sun, at first dominating the color of the overall lighting, with the colors in the atmospheric ring reddening dramatically as the Sun recedes from the limb of the Earth. At mid eclipse the very red ring of heavily filtered indirect sunlight would be most complete, although cloud fronts inturrupt the ring and volcanic dust content in the upper atmosphere would affect the overall transparency of the upper atmosphere.
A super resolution imaging system could record a kind of circular panorama of all the sunrises, sunsets and twilight glows of that moment inturrupted here and there by silloutted cloud masses.
Apollo 12 captured the best images of a similar sight as the Sun went into eclipse behind Earth. Unfortunately, only 16mm color film exists along with black and white still photos. If but they had thought of using RGB color filters at that time with that still camera!


Don
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