The Great Conjunction of 2020

I have a little telescope:

Celestron 5 inch telescope

As astronomical telescopes go, it’s pretty small: a Celestron NexStar 5 SE.  If the seeing is extremely good, I can see the rings of Saturn with it.  Unfortunately, where I live the seeing is almost never very good.  I tried my best to get pictures of Jupiter and Saturn as they danced close to each other.

Jupiter and Saturn on Dec 18 - kc-pc186049a
December 18
kc-pc196328a - Jupiter and Saturn on Dec 19
December 19
pc206338a December 20
December 20 was the night with the best seeing; through the eyepiece I could see the rings clearly, but I couldn’t capture it on camera.
pc206337a Jupiter and Saturn Dec 20
December 20.  If I try hard, I can imagine that there is a hint of banding in the disk of Jupiter…

December 21 was the night of closest approach.  Unfortunately the air wasn’t very clear; drifting clouds sometimes blocked the view entirely.

em130198a A regular camera with a telephoto lens.
Dec 21 — a photo taken with my regular camera and a telephoto lens.
pc210005b - Dec 21
Dec 21 Through the telescope, again.

On December 22 I tried again:

pc220027a Dec 22, now drifting apart
Final image — they are drifting apart.

In passing I sometimes tried to get pictures of the Andromeda Galaxy, but I had difficulty with the targeting:

Off-center photo of the Andromeda Galaxy - pc186052a
Andromeda Galaxy in the upper left. The telescope really isn’t set up for long exposure deep sky images…

A discernible shape?

mars
This is the much enlarged image of Mars

In my previous post I said that Mars actually appeared as a tiny sphere.  Here is a much enlarged portion of that image — it’s not much to look at, but I’m tickled that it doesn’t appear to just be a diffraction pattern from a point source of light…

Moon and Mars

In the original, if you zoom in so that pixels are individual squares, Mars actually is a discernible sphere.

kc-em130121a-
Lower left, needing no introduction, is the Moon. Upper right, in the far far distance, is Mars

Farewell dear comet

kc-em130087a-.jpg
Retreating into the far reaches

Olympus EM I Mark III, 150mm lens, f/2.8, 20s, ISO1600.  Slight greenish tint, as has been noted by others.

Yesterday was the first time it was visible, after three days of bright clear days followed by early evening overcast.

There are many thousands of photos of this comet, most of them better than this.  It’s a personal momento.

NEOWISE

kc-em130034a-.jpg
Comet NEOWISE

Olympus EM 1-3; 40mm F2.8 for 2 seconds.  ISO 3200.  I was sitting down, with the camera on my lap.  If weather permits I will try again tonight with a bigger lens and a tripod…

Temperature anomalies arranged by country 1900 – 2016

Originally shared by Pierre Markuse

Temperature anomalies arranged by country 1900 – 2016

Take a look at this beautiful data visualization by Antti Lipponen. It shows the average monthly temperature anomalies arranged by country from 1900 to 2016 with a base period of 1951 to 1980. A quite impressive visualization of climate change.

Download and images here:

https://flic.kr/p/W3wPeE (Video)

https://flic.kr/p/XjiYjX (2016 static image)

https://flic.kr/p/XfEejG (1980 static image)

This NASA Earth Observatory article on global warming is answering some of the most asked questions:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/

If you yourself or friends have doubts about climate change, I also recommend to watch this video, addressing some common misconceptions: 13 Misconceptions About Global Warming http://youtu.be/OWXoRSIxyIU

Image credit: Temperature anomalies arranged by country 1900 – 2016 Antti Lipponen (https://twitter.com/anttilip) CC BY 2.0 https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x

See more of Antti’s stuff here on Flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150411108@N06/

Thank you for your interest in this Climate Change/Earth collection. Maybe add me on Google+ (Pierre Markuse) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Pierre_Markuse) or have a look at the Astronomy/Astrophysics collection here: https://goo.gl/x0zPAJ or the Space/Space Technology collection here: https://goo.gl/5KP0wx

#science

NASA’s Hubble Captures the Beating Heart of the Crab Nebula

Originally shared by NASA Goddard

Peering deep into the core of the Crab Nebula, this close-up image reveals the beating heart of one of the most historic and intensively studied remnants of a supernova, an exploding star. The inner region sends out clock-like pulses of radiation and tsunamis of charged particles embedded in magnetic fields.

The neutron star at the very center of the Crab Nebula has about the same mass as the sun but compressed into an incredibly dense sphere that is only a few miles across. Spinning 30 times a second, the neutron star shoots out detectable beams of energy that make it look like it’s pulsating.

The NASA Hubble Space Telescope snapshot is centered on the region around the neutron star (the rightmost of the two bright stars near the center of this image) and the expanding, tattered, filamentary debris surrounding it. Hubble’s sharp view captures the intricate details of glowing gas, shown in red, that forms a swirling medley of cavities and filaments. Inside this shell is a ghostly blue glow that is radiation given off by electrons spiraling at nearly the speed of light in the powerful magnetic field around the crushed stellar core.

The neutron star is a showcase for extreme physical processes and unimaginable cosmic violence. Bright wisps are moving outward from the neutron star at half the speed of light to form an expanding ring. It is thought that these wisps originate from a shock wave that turns the high-speed wind from the neutron star into extremely energetic particles.

When this “heartbeat” radiation signature was first discovered in 1968, astronomers realized they had discovered a new type of astronomical object. Now astronomers know it’s the archetype of a class of supernova remnants called pulsars – or rapidly spinning neutron stars. These interstellar “lighthouse beacons” are invaluable for doing observational experiments on a variety of astronomical phenomena, including measuring gravity waves.

Observations of the Crab supernova were recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054 A.D. The nebula, bright enough to be visible in amateur telescopes, is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.

Credits: NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: J. Hester (ASU) and M. Weisskopf (NASA/MSFC)

Strokkur Geyser – Iceland

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Originally shared by Corina Marinescu

Strokkur Geyser – Iceland

A geyser is the result of high-temperature steam rising up from cooling magma beneath, which causes an eruption of water.

Eruptions usually occur with intervals of between 5-10 minutes and involve a single burst reaching a height of up to 30 meters, although occasionally up to 5 bursts in relatively quick succession are observed. Prior to eruptions, the pool is full and gently pulsates up and down. The eruption commences when a pulse of steam rising from below pushes the water in the pool upwards forming a large dome (or bubble) of water through which the steam bursts and expels much of the water in the pool skywards.

Reference:

http://www.photovolcanica.com/VolcanoInfo/StrokkurGeyser/StrokkurGeyser.html