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.