Sunday, 17 February 2013

Fly by Fred.

I was pleasantly surprised that the media didn't whip up a doomsday prophecy about the recent flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14... or "Fly by Fred" as I liked to call it..!!!!  

Fred was some 50 metres wide and the estimated mass was around 190,000 metric tons...

Last Friday, this peripatetic lump of rock came within 17,200 miles of our lovely blue planet Earth .....

Even though I didn't want to meet Fred close up, I was more than happy to just shout hello to him from a distance.

I'm so glad he didn't decide to drop in for a cup of tea...  !!!!

Fred is somewhere up there....  !!
Being ONLY 50 metres, and at a minimum Earth distance of some 17,200 miles meant that Fred was below the naked eye visibility. So I grabbed my binoculars and meteor deckchair and was outside around 9.00pm eager to glimpse some space rock...

I also brought along the Nikon DSLR to capture some shots.

At five minute intervals I was hoping I might be able to capture an image of Fred's wanderings as he traversed the Ursa Major region of the skies..

No joy, not one of the photos showed the slightest hint of the asteroid, nor did I see anything through the binoculars...    But still a very pleasant way to spend half an hour under the stars...


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Io casts a shadow.


Last night there was an Io transit, between 20h 48m UT - 22h 48m UT.

Perfect timing, as the skies were cloud free.

With help from my old friend Tal1, I managed the above sketch......

Io was clearly visible, hovering as it did above the South Equatorial belt....

That little Tal1 always makes me smile...... for example:  Io is about the same size as our Moon, plus it's some 430 million miles away at the moment, yet my little Russian scope can see the shadow it casts onto Jupiter's clouds....  !

All done with a 110mm mirror.....!!  :0)

I'm looking forward to capturing the other three Galilean moons.....  

Clear Jupiter Skies

Mark...

Last night's Moon

Last night was the first time for a week that I've been able to drag the telescopes outside. With a magnification of x50 and a bi...