Wednesday evening, about 8:10pm, about one hour after sunset, I came upon a small, fuzzy star, with a faint fan-shaped glow extending to its upper right. Attached are some photos, but it was better in my 8×25 Canon Image Stabilized binoculars. The comet set behind our high school building about 8:40pm. I tried a number of different lenses and exposures and here’s the best I got…..
Cropped from larger photo (the next photo, below) F5.6, 5 seconds exposure, 55mm zoom lens, ISO-800. The fuzzy dot on the right is the comet. It had a longer fan-like tail in binoculars.
I tried a zoomed in view with a longer lens, but here’s the blurry result, as the comet started lowering below the roof of the school.
250mm lens, f5.6 15 seconds (the stars and comet have trailed because of the long exposure with the long lens) ISO-800.
Bonus photo of the full moon with the 250mm zoom lens – cropped from an original which was a much shorter exposure for the sooooooo much brighter moon.
Original was 1/1000 second exposure at ISO-800 f 5.6.
1) Yes, I saw Venus and the Moon in the morning (see photo, below). Jupiter was out as well, but I didn’t have my wide lens, so he didn’t fit.
2) No, I did not see Venus go behind the moon Monday afternoon – too hard to look sideways through the cumulus clouds to see them only 4 degrees above the horizon.
But Henry (a co-worker) and I saw the pale Moon at noontime, without optical aid and then used binoculars to see Venus.
3) Yes, I saw the planetary stop light Monday evening – see photo below! But no meteors. (Hard to do when looking through a camera viewfinder.)
Venus and the Moon in the blue sky just before sunrise:
Here’s the moon at 250 mm telephoto – a bit grainy. Cropped and contrast enhanced:
From top to bottom: Saturn (yellow), Mars (red), Spica (blue-white, let’s pretend it’s green!)
Intentionally unfocused to bring out the color differences:
Thanks to my children for the new, very steady, tripod!!
What does Saturn look like in a small telescope? What does Venus look like in a small telescope? What does Mars look like in a small telescope?
What does Saturn look like in a small telescope? That is the most popular item on my blog – the place more people go to than any other!
So, here are photos of Saturn, as well as Venus and Mars, all taken on two nights – May 18th and 19th, 2012, all except one, through my 8-inch dobsonian (reflector) telescope.
If you look at the photo before you click on it (unless you have a wide-screen and you’re looking close-up), it’s how Saturn looks in a small telescope.
Then click and you’ll get an idea of what Saturn looks like in a large telescope. (You may have to hit the ‘back’ button to get back to the post.) This is a snapshot, unprocessed. Your view through a large scope will be a bit smaller, but sharper, with Saturn’s faint cloud belts, a thin gap splitting the ring in two and Saturn’s brightest moon, Titan nearby.
Here’s a shot over-brightening Saturn to get an image of Titan, faint, to the lower left. It’s more obvious in the eyepiece.
Here’s Venus, now visible low in the west, right after sunset.
Almost any binoculars or telescope will show Venus as a tiny crescent, looking like a miniature crescent moon. First the view through my 9 power finder scope, Venus at the bottom of the frame. I took this photo I took with my Canon XS held up to the eyepiece. The thick black lines are the cross hairs in the finder scope. Here’s Venus taken through the telescope with the Canon XS attached directly to the scope (“prime focus”). This is the same way I took the photo of Saturn, above. Notice how much larger Venus looks. Venus is smaller than Saturn, but it’s much closer.
Venus will get lower in the sky each night in May, with a slimmer crescent each night, but larger from end to end by a little bit each night.
Now for comparison, here is Mars, taken the same way. Mars is smaller than Venus and further away, so it’s tiny, even in a large telescope. Details are hard to see, except perhaps at high power and with a steady sky.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of planets through my scopes.
Lots of evening sky photos – Jupiter, Venus, Mercury – Orion and star clusters – Mars – and stars around them
Look for Mercury – a tiny dot down to the right of the tree. The two bright dots above are Venus (brightest) and Jupiter (highest and not as bright as Venus).
Canon XS 20 seconds, F/20, 29mm, ISO 200.
If you turn around, Mars is rising in the east. It’s a red dot, brighter than the other stars around it from the constellation Leo the Lion. Leo looks like he’s jumping up into the sky (sorry I left off some of his head at the top of the frame).
As a bonus, here’s a photo of Orion (on the left) and the Pleiades (looking like a little dipper) to the upper right and the V-shaped Hyades cluster in between.
Click to enlarge and look for the little out-of-focus star in the stars below the bright three belt stars of Orion! That’s the Orion Nebula.
(Canon XS 20 seconds, F/4, ISO-400, 18mm.)
Also, I used the custom white balance feature on the Canon XS, which makes makes the sky look more normal, without the reddish glow often seen on long exposures in light-polluted skies.
Now go out and see it all for yourself – get where you can see the sky and block out bright lights!
My trusty Canon XS, attached via an adapter to my 2.4 inch 60mm refractor telescope, with the solar filter in front, took this photo at 1/500 second, ISO 400, cropped, converted to black and white and sharpened a bit in Photoshop Elements 5.0.