ISS, Taurus and Orion

   This morning (17 September) was another morning with clear skies and another chance at catching the ISS as it orbited overhead. This time the ISS came out of the northwest and reached around 70o above the horizon as it headed southeastward. It passed by the open star clusters the Pleiades and the Hyades and then passed below and parallel to the belt of Orion toward Sirius where the ISS disappeared behind some trees.
   This picture is made from 22 stacked pictures.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Waxing Crescent Moon Near the Pleiades


   Thursday evening February 22nd the 7-day old first quarter Moon will be 8-9o from the open star cluster the Pleiades, and about 7o from the open star cluster the Hyades. With my 10×50 binoculars the two star clusters are just out of the field of view, but become visible with a slight nudge of my head!

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Taurus Eyes the Moon

   Saturday evening December 30th the 13-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be 1-2o from the reddish star Aldebaran. The star is often described as representing the angry eye of Taurus the Bull. Regardless Aldebaran is at one end of a v-shaped group of stars that make-up the face of Taurus. These stars are part of an open star cluster, the Hyades, consisting of several hundreds of stars located about 150 light years from the Earth.

   About 10o from the Hyades, on the shoulder of Taurus, is another well-known open star cluster – the Pleiades. This is a cluster of approximately 1,000 stars located at a distance of 400-450 light years. Easily seen with the naked-eye several of the brightest stars form a small dipper-shape.
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Taurus Head-Butts the Moon


   Wednesday morning August 16th the 24-day old waning crescent Moon is within 2-3o from the reddish star Aldebaran and the rest of the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades, forming the v-shaped face of Taurus the Bull.

   
   
   With 10×50 binoculars the Hyades and the Moon will all fit within the field of view as this graphic is showing.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Triangulating with the Moon

   Tuesday morning, August 15th the 23-day old first quarter Moon will be the point of a celestial triangle with the two open star clusters, the Pleiades, and the Hyades as this graphic shows. The v-shaped Hyades forms the face of Taurus the Bull while the ‘dipper-shaped’ Pleiades lies along the Bull’s shoulder. Both open star clusters are about 8o from the Moon.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Moon Cruises Past Planets and Stars

feb5-bino
   Over the next several evenings the Moon, as it orbits toward the east and waxes from crescent to first quarter phase will pass by several planets, dwarf planets, and star clusters. On the evening of February 5th the Moon will be close to the reddish star Aldebaran, the ‘eye’ in the face of the angry bull, Taurus. This should make for a nice view with binoculars or low power eyepiece when the Moon will sort of overlay the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades.

   These two animated graphics show the sky as viewed from Quito Ecuador at 0o latitude, and my home latitude of approximately 40o North. They show the sky at one day intervals starting with February 1st and ending with February 5th.


   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Venus and the Sisters-Pictures

   It never fails! Whenever I start making plans for taking out the telescope, or for taking some night pictures, the weather goes in the opposite direction. So after a couple of nights of cloudy skies last night the skies were clear (after some cirrus clouds threatened to eclipse the sky early in the afternoon), so I set up my camera for some pictures of Venus near the open star cluster, the Pleiades. I am using a new camera control software called Helicon Remote on my Kindle HDX tablet. I also use their PC version on my laptop. Both programs allow me to see a live view of the scene, and to adjust my camera settings, including focus, remotely. My camera is not WiFi equipped so I connect with a USB cable.
   Here are two of my attempts. The first taken at 7:45 pm CDT while the twilight sky was not yet dark. The picture was taken with the following settings: f/5.6; 1 sec.; ISO-6400; 135mm. This one taken at 7:55 pm CDT using these settings: f/5.6; 1 sec.; ISO-3200; 190mm.

   Weather forecast this evening? Cloudy and rain – of course!

   
   
   
   
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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.