Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Mare Crisium, Mare Undanum and Mare Marginis

This image was shot when the Moon was between 3 and 4 days old. Mare Crisium is lit completely, as are the surrounding mountains. To the South of Mare Crisium you can see a patch of darker material, Mare Undanum. To the east a part of Mare Marginis is visible. North of Mare Crisium lies the big crater Cleomedes with four smaller craters and a small peak on its floor. 


Posted by Math on 01/26 at 02:42 PM | filed in: Lunar scraps | Print
Friday, January 21, 2005
Mare Nectaris and Rupes Altai

This is a more detailed image of the Mare Nectaris region. On the western edge of Mare Nectaris you can see three craters lying in a crooked row, Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina. West-southwest of Catharine you can see the brightly lit Altai Scarp rim with a total length of 480 Km. The �Rupes Altai� end at the crater Piccolomini in the south. On the southern rim of Mare Nectaris lies Fracastorius.


Posted by Math on 01/21 at 04:48 PM | filed in: Lunar scraps | Print
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Another fine lunar image

Here’s another image from my last lunar observing session (Sunday 16 January). You can clearly see the three big craters Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina on the southern half of the Moon. Through the telescope, Rupes Altai was the most prominent feature with its brightly lit rim. Rupes Altai marks the southwestern rim of the Nectaris Basin. As I promised earlier this week, a more detailed report will follow in the Solar System section.


Posted by Math on 01/20 at 11:53 AM | filed in: Lunar scraps | Print
Monday, January 17, 2005
haunting Moon

Last night, I observed the Moon for a few hours. A detailed observing report will follow later in the Solar System section. After I packed up it was getting cloudy. The thin layer of clouds racing in front of the Moon gave the whole scene an eery look.


Posted by Math on 01/17 at 11:45 AM | filed in: Lunar scraps | Print
Friday, January 14, 2005
Huygens landing on Titan live on NASA TV on the web

Nasa TV is covering the Huygens landing on Titan live on the web. Follow this link and choose one of the players to see the live images. For the latest mission-updates you can follow this link to the ESA Cassini-Huygens homepage.

Posted by Math on 01/14 at 10:32 AM | filed in: Space Missions | Print
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Comet Macholz high in the evening sky

Last Sunday, 2 January 2005, I observed comet Macholz with the 7x50 and 15x80 binoculars. I observed it from my backyard (limiting magnitude was 4.7) but I could not detect it without optical aid. In the 7x50, the comet was very easy to spot. It was high in the sky, in the constellation Taurus.

Later that night I used my 15x80 binoculars mounted on the Sky Window. The comet looked like a big unresolved globular cluster: round, with a bright centre and a fading halo. Using averted vision, it looked almost twice as big. I could not detect a tail, only the core and the big halo. The sketch below was made about 22.30 UT. It should give you an idea of what I saw through the 15x80 binoculars. The two bright stars to the north are of magnitude 7 and 8. To the south, a ring of stars was visible, partially within the 3.5 field of view and partially just outside the field of view (when the comet was centred). This little “asterism” helped met to verify my observation with the maps I had printed from the comet and it’s surrounding star field using SkyTools2.


Posted by Math on 01/05 at 04:28 PM | filed in: Deepsky binocular | Print
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Observing the Moon with binoculars

Last night I had a short observing session of the 15-day-old Moon with the 15x80 binoculars and the SkyWindow. I concentrated on the large and obvious features that where visible. I could identify a lot of Mare on the nearly full Moon: Mare Crisium, Nectaris (with the crater Fracastorius), Fecundatis, Tranquillitatis, Serenetatis, Imbrium, Frigoris, Nubium, Humorum, Cognitum, Vaporum and Oceanus Procellarum.

Other features that where visible where Sinus Iridum, the 145 mile wide Crater Grimaldi with its dark floor (on of the darkest features visible), the craters Tycho, Copernicus and Kepler with its bright crater rays and Plato with its dark, lava flooded floor. There where two craters that stood out from the rest (extremely bright): Tycho and Aristarchus. especially Aristarchus stood out as a bright white beacon.

What I also found very striking while observing with the binoculars was the Imbrium basin. I never noticed the outline through the telescope, but with the binoculars it seemed to be very obvious.

At the end of my 1-hour lunar session I shot this image with the Coolpix 4500 handheld at the binocular. The image was taken at 21:32 UT. The settings of the camera where: shutter 1/125s, aperture f5.8 and ISO 100.


Posted by Math on 12/29 at 02:48 AM | filed in: Lunar log | Print
Monday, December 27, 2004
The colour of double stars, a tricky business!

Yesterday I published my first observing report on double stars in the deepsky section of my website. I got a lot of positive reactions, and many people asked me about the colour of the stars. Well, I think that identifying the colour of double stars is a tricky business. What colours you see when observing double stars depends on many different factors like the quality of your telescope, eyepieces, but also the “quality” of your eyes. There’s an interesting article on the Internet by Paul Baize, introduced by Andrew James, called “Notes on Double Stars - Baize Colour article”. Just follow this link and read the full story. Maybe then you understand why I think that the colours of double stars that we see through telescopes and binoculars are highly subjective!

Posted by Math on 12/27 at 03:01 AM | filed in: Hot links! | Print
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