If you’re reading this and its still November 28th, go outside and look at the moon. The bright star in the upper left very close to the moon, is no star but the planet Jupiter. This celestial conjunction is a unique treat. In case you missed it, here’s a picture of the moon along with Jupiter taken with my DSLR and a telephoto lens.
March has been an amazing month for planet viewing. Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are visible in the west just after sunset while Mars is rising in the east. By 10 PM Saturn is also visible in the east. These planets are the brightest objects in the night sky and the experience can be greatly enhanced with binoculars or a low powered telescope
Here’s a photo from March 14th of Jupiter, Venus and a meteor. Venus is the bright object in the lower side of the picture. Jupiter is to its right. The Pleiades is also visible in the upper left.
Here’s a picture of Jupiter with 3 of its moons from earlier tonight.
Here’s a picture of Jupiter and one of its moons. I think the moon is Ganymede, but I’m not 100% sure. I am just getting into planetary work and this is my first serious re-attempt at photographing Jupiter. Planetary photography is a bit different than deep space and requires different cameras, software and techniques. I’ve still got some work to do, but this turned out better than I expected.
RCOS 14.5 Telescope
Paramount ME Equatorial Mount
DMK41AU02 Astronomy Camera
1000 frames of RGB
Stacked in Registax 5
I was shooting Jupiter the night I took the meteor picture. I’ve been having problems shooting planets as I’m a new astronomer and still learning how to do it. I have taken a few DSLR shots but they don’t turn out right. I have a Celestron NexImage web cam and I was testing it out for the first time on Jupiter on July 5th, 2009. The picture is really bad and out of focus and there is only 3 seconds of video. I had taken a few minutes of video but like an idiot I kept saving over the same file name on subsequent clips, so I was only left with the last run which was about 3 seconds. With all the excitement from the meteor picture I totally forgot about even taking these videos. I remembered yesterday and checked the netbook computer I use with my scope. That’s when I saw I only had the one short clip.
The reason this is potentially interesting is because this AVI was taken before Anthony Wesley would have noticed the new black spot on Jupiter’s southern hemisphere.
The reason this is probably not interesting is because the quality is so bad you can’t really see anything.
There is a little black mark in the bottom right but i think it is just an optical effect/error from the camera. In the very last second of the video the planet moves a bit, I think this is from a nudge when I reached for the computer to turn off the clip (or something). In this same frame a dark spot in the bottom left appears. Again I think this is just some sort of distortion caused by the camera.
This Jupiter collision made me think a little bit though… Is it possible the Mason Dixon Meteor was some how related to the object that crashed into Jupiter? Could it be a fellow asteroid that just happened to hit Earth instead of Jupiter? Could it be remnants of a comet that strayed slightly to the left or the right of Earth and hit Jupiter instead of us?
I really think this picture is so bad it has no value, but on the off chance that some expert might be able to see something in it or use it as a reference point, I figured I would put it up here. If the Anthony Wesley discovery had not happened I would have thrown this AVI in the trash.
Here is a link to the raw AVI directly off the computer with no processing or anything.
I’m going to try to use Registax to see if it makes this look any better, but I doubt it will and I can’t find the disk right now. If there is anyone out there that can stack this AVI or improve the quality of the image please lmk.
Here are two screen caps I took off the AVI.
Please let me know what you think about the PA Fireball being related to the Jupiter collision. I know the picture sucks so send the hate mail to someone else.
The stars tonight were bright. The moon set early and some rain came briefly through and then it was perfect. I haven’t seen it this dark in a long while. Since this meteor thing started I’ve only used my scope two times.
Tonight I was reworking the meteor trajectory taking into consideration data from the new video tape and I took a break to go outside. The sky was so dark I could see the Milky Way plain as day. I decided to take a few tripod shots and enjoy the night a little. The Milk Way shots didn’t quite work out but I got this one of Jupiter that is kind of cool. The halo around the planet is actually an optical anomaly caused I think by dew on my camera lens. Gives it an interesting effect.
As for the meteor, now that some analysis of the new tape has come in we believe we have located a new terminus for the meteor that is 1-2 miles north of the Safe Harbor dam. I have spoken to other meteorite hunters and reliable experts who believe there could be 40,000 grams of meteorite rock near the terminus point. Based on my picture and historical meteorite fall data several different experts believe there could be 3 10,000 gram rocks sitting in a corn field somewhere.
Our NASA source analyzed the new video footage and told me he recalculated his trajectory based on the new data and his new terminus point is 20k west of his original location. We are working on a new strewn field map so that we can have a plan of attack this Saturday when we go out again. Prior to this new data the estimated strewn field was in Quarryville. When I was in Quarryville, I spoke to an Amish farmer who said his farm hand had witnessed the event and felt that it was so close he ducked down when it flew over. The boy claims to have seen the meteor crash into the ground. The boy’s location was 5 miles north of the Quarryville farm I was visiting. I haven’t calculated this account into my analysis yet, but with a quick eye up it looks possible.
I have reworked my line of site analysis of all locations and factored in the new Safe Harbor data. I believe my new trajectory and terminus point are better than they have ever been, its my best guess but it is still just a guess. I have some work to do on the meteor path before I publish it here, especially considering my last two guess were way wrong. With the new data and help I’m getting I’m feeling much better about this new projection. I have to do another lego shadow analysis before I can know for sure. I will post an updated map with meteor path and estimated terminus point tomorrow.
I was in the Bahamas this week at a resort called Atlantis. It was a great vacation but its nice to be home. The first night I got there I took the camera and tripod out to the beach to try and get some shots (couldn’t take the scope on the plane.) I took a few pictures of Jupiter on July 17, 2009 around 11:50 AM. This would have been two days before Anthony Wesley’s amazing discovery. Obviously there’s not enough magnification or detail to see anything important, but its kind of cool to know there was a giant asteroid or comet that was getting ready to slam into Jupiter. I took about 5-10 shots. If there is anyone out there that wants to examine the high-res RAW images to try to look for something leave me a comment and I will email you the pictures. I highly doubt anything would be visible as I was just using a basic lens but you never know. I’m not experienced enough to know what to look for, but maybe someone out there is.
Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley of Murrumbateman, Australia noticed a new peculiar Earth sized mark on the face of Jupiter two days ago. It is believed the mark could have been caused by a comet colliding with the planet. NASA confirmed this report using an infrared telescope in Hawaii. A weird coincidence about this observation is it happened on the same day as the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet collision in 1994. That comet bombarded Jupiter over a 6 day period (July 16th-July 22). That is the same exact time period of this most recent crash. Along with the 40th aniversary of the moon landing, this is definately wierd timing. There are currently no reports of anyone or thing witnessing the recent collision so scientists don’t know exactly what it was, but it is believed to have been a comet. In honor of Anthony’s discovery I thought I would post a picture I recently took of Jupiter. I’m still working on my planetary imaging skills, so this picture is pretty bad. Even though you can’t see any detail on Jupiter (due to the shot being over exposed), you can see 4 of Jupiter’s moons and their alignment looks pretty cool. Way to go Anthony you’re the man! Check out Anthony’s site and pictures of Jupiter here.
Here is a pretty bad picture of Jupiter. It was the first time I’ve ever photographed Jupiter, the first time I’ve ever seen Jupiter through a telescope. The night was a lot more interesting than this picture. I was at a neighbors house for a poker game. I got out of the game early and headed home and told the guys I would be on the scope to come over when the game was done. They ended up coming over to my house at 3:00 am to play pool. At 4:00 am they we’re leaving and we decided to check the scope before they headed home. That’s when I saw Jupiter for the first time and of course I had to try and take a picture. My setup was off that night to begin with (bad alignment) and I was really tired and a little drunk. Alchohal and astro photography don’t go well together. Next time will be better.