Month: April 2014

Three of me.

Three of me.

There were supposed to be four. The one missing was supposed to have tripped the “me” that’s fallen on the ground on the left. The one on the far right would have been next to the missing me, laughing at watching myself fall.

Two things. One, grammar is really hard when you are talking about a group of yourself. Two, this was the test shoot for a more thought out with a yet to be determined location.. so hopefully I do something good enough to be picked for NatGeo’s (open to the public) assignment.

Anyone who likes photography at all should head over to their page and make a profile. It is called YourShot. I had a photo chosen for the week’s best astronomy photographs of the week. What made me feel good was that some of the pictures were from people like NASA and were just dumbfounding. Half were taken with multiple hours of exposure time on telescopes like NASA’s Chandra. To be next to all those is what made it feel good. Everyone should do it. A lot of amateur photographers and.. some are amazing but some are just nice/average. You won’t feel out of place. Even if your work does not get much recognition from the community, you can still just as easily get the editor’s attention. My photo was a close-up of the crescent moon. It had maybe 10 likes from throughout the community.

Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor..

Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor..

Even through the glow of nearby streetlights, and the never-ending glow of I-95 and the surrounding town, l managed to get distant galaxies (most of which I have never been able to capture).

Twelve in total. Most, if not all, are part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. The Milky Way and the Local Group are actually a part of the Virgo structure, even though they are millions of light years away. Some of this light was sent before dinosaurs fell.

Comet PANSTARRS/K-1 Grows a Second Tail!

Comet PANSTARRS/K-1 Grows a Second Tail!

Great Comets usually only come around every decade or so. One per hemisphere, I’d guess. These are usually the only comets the average person sees. They see the ones you simply cannot avoid spotting, such as Halley, Hale-Bopp and recently (for the southern hemisphere) Lovejoy and McNaught.

What most people don’t know is at any given time there is at least one visible comet (through binoculars, cameras or telescopes). This past November/December there were four. Comet ISON, Encke, Lovejoy (a different Lovejoy) and one that slips my mind were all visible. Some to the naked eye in good sky conditions.

Comet PANSTARRS K-1 is what they call moderately bright. Probably not naked eye, but anyone with a long exposure camera, binoculars or even a small telescope can access this comet that recently sprouted itself a cool, swervy second tail. Most comets get at least two tails, some get 4-6. The two main tails are caused by obvious reasons.

One tail (and first tail) is left behind the trail the comet is traversing. The second one usually pops up when certain frozen gases hit their needed temperature to melt. This tail happens closer to the Sun and goes in a different direction than the original tail. While the first is left behind the comet’s trail, the second is left when ices melt and begin falling prey to the immense solar winds of our parent star.

These tails, when in the right places, create the meteor showers we see throughout the year. Most are from comets such as this one, but a couple are confirmed to be left behind by asteroids.

PANSTARRS will be passing a bright star in the Big Dipper/Ursa Major. Not sure which, but this makes for easy spotting. Finding the damn things is the hardest part, but when it nears a bright star it makes it worlds easier.