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Old 04-15-2014, 08:44 AM   #26
BruceZ
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Shot these with an 8" f/4 Newtonian reflector at 30x, afocal projection with an ordinary digital camera and no camera mount, auto focus and exposure. I actually saw shadows passing meteor impact sites, but can't show you that. Maybe next time.



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Old 04-15-2014, 06:31 PM   #27
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTheMick2 View Post
I just showed a small neighbor boy Mars.
You can show him Saturn too. Last night it was on the other side of the moon from Mars, about 1.5 times farther and not as bright. Tonight it will be closer to the moon than Mars. Tomorrow night, it will be almost on top of the moon. Then you can explain that all 3 are roughly in a line because they are all in about the same plane as the earth, and they follow the sun across the sky.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:53 PM   #28
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

And add to this that in fact all 5; moon, earth, sun, mars and jupiter were almost in a line.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:59 PM   #29
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Yeah, Jupiter was setting in the West at that time, but earlier when it's higher you can catch all 3 plus the moon at the right time if you have an unobstructed view.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:34 PM   #30
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

And not only that but invite the kid to realize how far the moon is from the earth in a crude estimate sense by noticing it takes ~28 days to go around and cover 2*Pi*Rem but only about 4-5h or so to travel the earth shadow or at best roughly the effective 2Re. (some ~300000km type number is easily seen)

Then invite him/her to realize using geometry that in the eclipse (the various sectors umbra penumbra etc) in fact one can find a ton more like even crude relationships between the radius of the earth, the sun, the moon the distances of all of them etc by examining how long the eclipse phases take and by observing in detail the picture of Bruce above that has the rough curvature of the earth painted on the lunar disk.
eg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbra

Its amazing how much the ancients could have learned using only lunar and solar eclipses and star trajectories at night and together with estimations of the earth's radius (from eg shadows at noon in various places) to figure out how big the distances of all involved were and what were the proper scales and therefore recognizing very early that the sun was actually huge and how ridiculous it would be for so huge and very distant objects to be revolving around a smaller one etc!

All those numbers potentially available well in advance of Archimedes era actually with some small efforts.

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Old 04-15-2014, 07:46 PM   #31
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Awesome pics Bruce, especially considering how you took them. Came out pretty well. Thanks for posting.

Eclipse look great through my 12X50 binoculars, which I can mount on a regular tripod.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:53 PM   #32
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Lyrid Meteor Shower Best Tonight (10-20 meteors an hour)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/p...esday-morning/

From above link:

The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak on Monday night, with the best viewing possible between midnight and dawn on Tuesday morning, according to NASA.

“Everyone in the Northern Hemisphere can see the Lyrid meteor shower tonight,” NASA astronomer Bill Cooke notes in this post.

To see the shower, try to find a place with dark skies away from any city lights, Cooke recommends. He also suggests giving your eyes at least 30 to 45 minutes to adjust to the darkness and trying to avoid looking at the moon.

This year’s Lyrid meteor shower is visible between April 16 and 25, with the peak night on Monday, April 21, and into Tuesday, April 22, NASA said. While the peak rate is expected to be on the higher end of what we can normally expect, NASA does warn that the moon will block some of the less-bright meteors from view.

Of course, other places had different ideas about when the shower’s peak would arrive, so there may be other opportunities to check out the meteors. EarthSky.org says that the peak will come a few hours before dawn (but it also says it would be worth watching in the late evening on Monday night). The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, though, says the peak will come on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

The annual Lyrid shower usually brings about 10 to 20 meteors per hour, but there are some uncommon surges that can push the number up to 100 per hour. Lyrids appear to come from a spot in the Lyra constellation, according to NASA.

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Old 04-23-2014, 01:17 PM   #33
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Now THIS is a meteor. Over Russia again like last year.

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Old 05-23-2014, 12:24 AM   #34
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Tomorrow night (Friday 5/23) is the night that there could be a huge meteor shower, even a meteor storm. Or not. We will be plowing through the path of comet 209P/LINEAR from when it came by in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Different predictions suggest 100-400 meteors per hour from a dark observing site with a peak as high as 1000 per hour. That's every few seconds like fireworks. But nobody knows for certain how active that comet was over 200 years ago because nobody was observing it then. But if this pans out, then in addition to the Perseids and Leonids, we could be adding the Camelopardalids, since the radiant point is the constellation Camelopardalis (the giraffe). It's just to the north of the big dipper at that hour, but you should be able to see them all over the sky, so look where it's darkest.

North America is optimal for this viewing, and the peak will occur at about 3:30 AM EDT, so 12:30 AM on West coast. The peak is narrow, so you want to be there for it and at least half an hour before that. There's a graph of the peak in this link.

The moon won't rise until an hour after the peak, and even then it will just be a sliver. Weather report:

CHI: Clear
SF: Clear to Partly Cloudy
LA: Partly Cloudy
LV: A few clouds
NYC: Cloudy

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Old 05-23-2014, 08:10 PM   #35
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Funny. I heard something about a meteor shower tonight and knew if I came here I'd find something out about from BruceZ. Thanks!

Btw- That link isn't working for me tho.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:46 PM   #36
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Thought I fixed that.

this link

You might even see a fireball. There have been some from that radiant this past week that might be related.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:14 AM   #37
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Here's a handy dark sky finder that maps light pollution around the country, and here are reports of observing sites submitted by amateur astronomers. I'm trying a new place tonight in the middle of nowhere.

I'm going to my dark place now.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:24 AM   #38
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

I drove 270 miles and didn't see a single meteor. But the ISS made an unexpected appearance. I wasn't sure what it was, but I noted the time and looked it up for that location, and sure enough, that was it. It was visible for 2 minutes, moving very slow from almost over head down to the east. It was easily visible with the naked eye like a fairly bright yellow star.

AFAICT, nobody else saw much of any meteors either. My location was dark enough to see the Milky Way, though I'd hoped it would be darker than it actually was given that it was green on that map. I'd have to drive twice as far to find the next darker level.
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:15 AM   #39
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

The darkest place i recall in US so far was in desert in south west say Arizona/Nevada. There you can really see the milky way as well as you can in some remote mountain in Crete Greece. I suppose any location in the Sierras in California would be clean too but the Arizona night drive was something else (total blackness and isolation from civilization due to tiny traffic and straight lines forever).
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:16 PM   #40
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Dammit to hell, this was my second choice of places to go, and I was 50 miles away when this happened there:



From that distance it should almost have been possible to see something. It was south of me apparently in the southern half of the sky where I had some sky glow, and I was looking mostly north.

There is a consensus that the shower was very weak, perhaps 5-10 per hour. However, there are reports that some of the ones that were seen were very bright and unusually slow moving, even "fireballs", though that just means roughly that it was brighter than the brightest planet, not fireballs like the one in Russia. A long time amateur 300 miles from me reported he saw fireball with a streak that persisted for 20 minutes. That happened an hour and a half before when the peak was supposed to occur. He said that it tapered off between 2 and 3 CDT when it was supposed to be active, and he saw 10 total in 2.5 hours. He also saw a plume from what turned out to be fuel being jettisoned from a Japanese satellite. He has pics here.

Dynamicists are congratulating themselves for predicting a never before seen meteor shower at the right time. Apparently that wasn't possible 20 years ago. It was much weaker than some predictions, but that wasn't really surprising.

Did anyone else go out? See anything?

Last edited by BruceZ; 05-24-2014 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:41 PM   #41
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

I wonder if that pic is a fake. Why is the sky so bright if it was supposed to have been taken at 2:24 AM? It looks like it was taken at sunset. But then it's hard to imagine that many stars and what looks like the Milky Way would be visible like that. Plus it's a little too perfect.

Fakes happen on the internet. I found a pic that was supposed to be the fire from the blown up house near me, and after some research I found it was from Baghdad.

Last edited by BruceZ; 05-24-2014 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:52 PM   #42
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

I saw nothing, but then I didn't make a project out of it. Just went out around 1:30AM CDT, found the big dipper, scanned the sky with my binoculars for about 20 minutes, didn't see anything and went back inside frustrated by light pollution.

I heard that it will also be occurring tonight and perhaps better than last night? Any truth to that? I wish I still had my telescope, but there is so much light pollution living so close to a major city. I have never saw a meteor before and would love to.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:00 PM   #43
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceZ View Post
Did anyone else go out? See anything?
Yes. No.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:45 PM   #44
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Where did you hear that about it being better tonight? I heard some speculation that the peak could occur later than originally expected, or that the duration could be greater. I'm not driving another 270 miles based on that though. But these things are pretty unpredictable, and meteors can appear at any time, even days later.

Telescopes can be used with light polluted skies since they have a very narrow field of view around what you're observing which cuts through light pollution, but they aren't very useful for meteors where you want a wide angle view as you would get with your eyes. You can use them for the moon, planets and deep sky objects like galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Of course the less light pollution you have, the fainter the objects you will see. There's a point of diminishing returns on the aperture size when you have light pollution. But it's not a big deal for the moon and planets that are very bright. With my 8-inch, I can easily see Jupiter long after sunrise when it's no longer visible to the naked eye. You can also get filters that take out the primary lines of the light pollution spectra while leaving the lines from galaxies and stars intact.

Amazing you've never seen a meteor. It's not uncommon to see them when there's no big scheduled event. I see them even under pretty light polluted skies in the suburbs when I'm out running. I caught the Leonoid storm in 2002 over Lake Michigan just outside Milwaukee. That was pretty spectacular with meteors every time you turned around.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:50 PM   #45
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

@BruceZ - I heard it on the evening news. I wouldn't recommend a 270 mile drive based on that.
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:02 PM   #46
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

And i thought i was the only crazy guy in the world that would drive to Yosemite and back in a single day (some 330 miles round-trip) only to photograph the snow, without a girlfriend in the car, only to repeat it a few months later with a girl i met online from Japan lol! But of course the one day record is a round-trip drive to LA for a greek girl at 800 miles. I have stopped being that crazy though lol! Now only a wife or kid or parent can create a new all time high.
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:42 PM   #47
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Last week I drove up the scariest road in the world to look through at a cave painting near Santa Barbara.

There was no snow.
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:47 PM   #48
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Yes but not together with the Merced river with half Dome in the background (or El Capitan)and at sunrise with all the red colors in the sky etc...

say like these examples;











Now imagine the same topic but illuminated by starlight during an all night exposure and the river looking like an out of this world fluid.

Or things like (to remain on topic)


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Old 05-24-2014, 10:59 PM   #49
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

Oh, well, you didn't say you wanted props too.

Cool pics. Did you take all of those?

I once drove from Las Vegas to see the meteor crater. It was cool. Of course there was a little side attraction called the Grand Canyon on the way. Also some big damn dam. Hell of a lot of driving round trip for 2 days though.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:44 PM   #50
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Re: Asteroid occultation of Regulus & Other Sky Stuff

No i didnt, just got them from web searches trying to match the ideas. I have mine in slides in the pre digital era and need to find a way to convert to jpeg. Although right about now at this time in history Digital is over 16M pixels that matches Fuji Velvia 50. So the transition to DSLR is ok now. The problem now is what to do with long exposure that is now an impossibility the old way of doing it.

America is very beautiful to photograph, especially parks or the coastlines or high tech cityscapes, bridges, night life, long exposures etc. You can spend days doing that alone and be happy chasing the sun and the stars like a mad man to catch the perfect light. My favorite time was always after sunset about 15-20 min where long exposures of a few seconds would do great colors anywhere from city to the coastline to SF Bridges or even the desert etc. I didnt target people as themes though, almost always nature or architecture, city structures, plants, flowers, trees, water etc. Grand Canyon, all southwest really, meteor crater , canyon-lands , erosion structures of all kinds, all excellent landscapes and endless weather games. Paradise for photographers. Vegas is nice topic too with all the colors at night.

Did you see snow yesterday when you drove that far?

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