Moon

The Moon is the Earth’s closest celestial body. Every month it goes through phases, which makes it an excellent subject for astronomical photos.

Mars and The Moon in April 2014

Star Chart

When I was looking at my Star Chart application last week, I noticed that on the evening of the 14th of April Mars would nice and close to the Moon in Virgo. I set myself a reminder walk up my closest hill and take some snaps.

The Moon and Mars

With almost-full Moon this bright you can’t get both celestial objects in the same shot without either Mars being too dark, or the Moon being be too bright. I don’t think it matters in this photo though, you can clearly see Mars, Theta Virginis and Spica through the trees.

I think it all looks rather nice.

Glow of the City

While I was up there waiting for it to get dark I took a few more photos. Above you can see the glow of Leeds in the evening sky, and below you can see Jupiter in Gemini.

Summer Sky

Later on in the evening, my American friends were able to enjoy a nice lunar eclipse. Here’s a lovely photograph taken by Jon Philpott through his telescope.

Lunar Eclipse by Jon Philpott

Jupiter and The Moon in August 2013

Jupiter and The Moon

I woke up around half five this morning to see a nice view out the window.

Jupiter was just to the left of the moon, providing a lovely and familiar sight that I hadn’t spotted for a while.

The Moon

Here is a close up of the moon itself. It is too bright to make out much in the way of surface features, but you can easily see the earthshine lighting up the rest of the surface.

Jupiter

And here is a close up of Jupiter from the same photograph. You can even make out the moons around it. (Just!)

You can see the full picture on my Flickr page.

Full Moon in June 2013

Cloudy Moon

Last weekend saw another Supermoon – a happy coincidence when the Moon is both full, and the closest to Earth. As is usually the case with these things, the weather was not ideal for me.

However some people were a little more lucky – Emma Alexander managed to get this rather splendid photograph on Monday night. Using just a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS (not an SLR!) zoomed right in, you can see quite a lot of contrast as well as colour in this shot. (It certainly looked very yellow near Leeds!)

Emma's Moon

With another Supermoon gone, it seems like the same cloudy weather is now all too familiar. Guess we will just have to keep our fingers crossed for August 2014 when it is due to happen again!

Through the Eyepiece

When you’re an astronomer you see a lot of amazing things through telescopes. Sometimes you just want to capture it on a photo, but taking pictures through an eyepiece can be notoriously tricky. However, if you keep at it you sometimes get some pretty cool results. Some of the pictures I’ve taken look impressive in their own right, and have a quality of their own that’s hard to replicate by doing ‘proper’ astrophotography.

Personally, I find using the small lens of a phone camera a lot easier to line up than an SLR or anything bigger. Here’s a few shots I’ve taken using this method…

Here is the Moon shown through one of the Dobsonian telescopes that belongs to The York Astronomical Society – you can make out plenty of detail on the craters too.

This is a very cool picture of the Sun taken with an H-alpha solar telescope.

With this one you can just about make out some stuff coming off the surface of the Sun, though it’s very tricky to get detail when taking a photograph this way!

Another picture of the Moon here, this one was taken with Annette Newby‘s telescope in the early evening.

And finally – I’d forgive you if you mistook this for a picture of the Moon – but it’s actually the crescent Venus, taken later on in the same evening.

Astronomy Photos in May 2012

Last weekend I went to see the York Astronomical Society to hang out and do some astronomy. This time of year the days are starting to get long and it doesn’t get dark until very late, but there are still plenty of things to see.

Here’s Venus just poking out near where the Sun had set. It’s much dimmer than it was a couple of months ago, due the amount of sun light that’s actually reflecting from the surface.

You can even make out the crescent shape of Venus with this photograph, though it looked much better through a telescope.

I also took my first ever photographs (and video) of the Sun through a telescope.

Full Moon in May 2012

There was plenty of talk in the news of the “supermoon” phenomenon, which meant that the full moon appeared to be visually larger and brighter in the sky than usual. Here’s a picture of the moon taken on Saturday night in Thorner just outside of Leeds.

As you can see there was just enough cloud to stop a clear shot, and on Sunday night it wasn’t much better.

Though to be honest I didn’t mind the cloud, as I really like these pictures of the full moon rising through them in the distance, as taken from The York Astronomical Society‘s observatory just outside of York.

The problem with the moon being so bright (and orange when rising) is that you don’t get much detail, but by putting the shutter speed down you can pick up much more detail on the surface.

While I was at it, I also directed my camera towards Venus to take this rather cool photo of it directly below Alpha Arietis.

The York Astronomical Society 40th Anniversary

This last weekend marked the 40th anniversary of The York Astronomical Society, and what a weekend it was – action packed with no less than six talks and plenty of fun.

On Friday night we had the company of Dr. Allan Chapman talking about Johannes Hevelius which was absolutely fascinating, then on Saturday morning we had Prof. Monica Grady, talking about how science analyses the materials brought to earth via meteorites to build models on the creation of the solar system, then Martin Dawson shared a brief history of YAS which included lots of information about previous observatories.

Saturday afternoon included cutting of the cake, and three more talks including Paul Money on his favourite images of The Space Shuttle, Nik Syzmanek with some amazing astrophotography and Dame Professor Jocelyn Bell-Burnell on the story of gold. As a space flight fan, my favourite talk had to be Paul’s, however I found all of them extremely interesting.

To finish off the weekend, the faithful returned to the observatory on the Sunday night to do some real astronomy in the cold. I took the opportunity to capture a few photographs of a very impressive looking moon like the one shown above (and more to come!)

I’ve been a member of The York Astronomical Society for a few years now, and I thoroughly enjoyed the celebrations.

Many thanks to everyone who was involved in making it all happen.

New Moon in March 2012

Last night I went to Scarborough for some ‘Astro Dog Astronomy‘ and took these lovely pictures of the New Moon in March 2012.

This photo was actually taken with a lens borrowed from Annette Newby – thanks! It looks great, and you can see a close up below.

As well ask the new moon, Jupiter and Venus were pretty close by giving us the fantastic view of these two great planets that we have been used to for the last few months. Venus is on top in this photograph…

And how could I resist getting a close up picture of Jupiter with three of its largest moons in view.

I had a great night, and I also managed some firsts. While I had seen the phases of Venus before, I’d never seen them with such clarity, and a definite first was seeing detail on Mars (including ice caps and dark features!) Very impressive.