Just a quick reminder to get out Saturday evening (27 August!) for the Jupiter/Venus conjunction in the west. Start looking very low almost due west about 30 minutes after sunset. Depending where you are in the U.S., they should be quite close - use binoculars! I went out again tonight and practiced with the 6D and TEC140 and got a full-speed movie, though haven't uploaded it to YouTube. It was quite nice though - Jupiter's moons were visible. At left here are frames thru the scope - unfortunately I can't get the full profile of the observatory to fit on even the 6D sensor (the solar scope at left won't quite fit in a single frame) - shown here is a 2-frame mosaic. And at right is a snapshot of Jupiter/Venus as they appeared tonight - will be MUCH closer tomorrow. As in my last post 2 nights ago, the star to the left of Jupiter is Beta Virginis... If you click for a full-size view you can spot some of Jupiter's moons...
I also shot some frames at 10 second intervals with the venerable XSi and the 70-200 zoom set to 200mm. I don't think it will be as impressive tomorrow as the 6D plus TEC 140, but it gives a good sense of the visual appearance. You can see there were some clouds about that fortunately stayed away for the conjunction's setting.
And also as last time, I can't walk away from a nice dark sky, so set up the same 6D plus Nikon 135 lens I used 2 nights ago. Shown here is a stack of the 3 frames from Wednesday plus 3 identical frames from tonight exactly 48 hours later. What is obvious is the very quick motion of Mars moving towards the east (towards the left here). It is certainly something you can see from day to day, especially if there are bright stars nearby to use as references. At right I provide the same image with annotations...
And even Saturn got into the act. Of course, Saturn is a planet too and moves from day-to-day, but because of its much greater distance, its motion is much slower. Fortunately there are lots of pixels in these images and presented here at left is a full-resolution crop of the above frame showing the shift of Saturn in the same 48 hour period. Not something you would notice by eye for likely a couple weeks, but definitely there!
So anyway, if the weather cooperates wherever you are, it is definitely worth going out and seeing Venus and Jupiter almost on top of each other. Feel free to drop an email and tell me what you think!
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