14 June 2010

Milky Way Pictures

Here are a couple of pictures of the Milky Way taken under the incredibly clear skies in the Himalayas. The picture of the northern milky way is a mosaic of three exposures and that of the southern milky way is a mosaic of two exposures. All exposures are of 30 sec duration at ISO1600 with a Sigma 17-70 lens set to 17mm at f/2.8.

Milky Way - North

Milky Way - South

02 June 2010

Astro News: Saturn, Mars and Venus line up in June sky

As darkness falls at the beginning of June, three planets will form a long line in the western sky. Saturn will be at the upper left, Mars in the middle and Venus at the lower right.

Sky map for June 6

Venus will form a straight line with the bright stars Pollux and Castor of the constellation Gemini the Twins on June 11 fairly low in the west-northwest. On June 19 and 20, the brilliant white planet will pass just north of the Beehive star cluster. Binoculars will show the stars twinkling while the planet gleams steadily.

Venus on June 19th at 7pm

To Venus's upper left (south) will be red-orange Mars, making a colorful contrast with nearby blue-white Regulus, the brightest star of the constellation Leo the Lion. The colors will appear most vivid through binoculars. Mars and Regulus will be closest on June 6, but they will remain near each other for the first half of the month.

Saturn will materialize high in the southwest at dusk, setting around 1:30 a.m. local time at the start of the month and by midnight at month's end. Saturn's rings will appear to open slightly this month as seen from Earth, after being tilted nearly edgewise in late May. Mars and Venus will close in on Saturn from the lower right (west) as the month advances.

While Saturn is setting in the west, Jupiter will be rising in the east. Jupiter is a favorite target of observers with telescopes, because its rapid rotation causes its features to change position noticeably in as little as 10 minutes. Its four largest moons -- Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto -- will be visible in binoculars or any telescope, changing positions from night to night as they patrol east and west of the planet in their orbits. Occasionally one or more of them will disappear as they pass in front of Jupiter or behind it. These moons are bright enough that you could see them without optical aid if it weren't for Jupiter's brilliance. The planet will climb higher in the southeast during June, and views of it will improve quickly.

Mercury will be close to the eastern horizon a half hour before sunrise in early June, difficult to find in the bright sky of dawn.

Provided by IU