Saturday, 8 January 2011

Look Up

Stock Photo, NOT taken by me
How many people do you know, when they are out and about, actually take the time to look up, you would be surprised how many people don't, and they are missing some of the best sights to be seen in nature, especially on a cold, clear night such as tonight.

I've spent a bit of time outside this evening with my small telescope, so far Ive observed The Pleiades, The Hyades, a gorgeous early moon where the Mare Crisium looks like the central part of  the Death Star from Star Wars, have also observed some Binary Stars, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula and the obvious target of Jupiter.

Even with a pair of binoculars you can clearly see the Galilean moons, but through a small telescope, you can easily resolve the cloud bands on the Planet itself, interestingly at the moment the cloud band in the southern Hemisphere is missing, the common thinking is a large storm on the plant has thrown a mass of particles into the atmosphere and this is obscuring the band, it is, however starting to reappear, the dark red cloud band in the northern hemisphere is obvious though and because Jupiter revolves so quickly, you can see the band change in an evenings viewing, you can also, if you lucky, see the shadow of one of the moons on the surface as it's transits the face of the planet, the big red spot is also visible.

Unfortunately this evening, i didn't have all my imaging equipment set up, as it was a bit of a unscheduled viewing session, so at the moment, no pictures I'm afraid, i did however take one snap of the planet with my compact camera held against the EP, but it didnt come out too well, when we are forecast to get a few cold, clear, crisp nights, i'll try and take the time to set up the imaging equipment and try some astro photography.

What i find really incredible though, and it still blows my mind to this day, is I'm standing in my garden  in West Sussex, looking at another world that is between 400 & 507 Million Miles away, even more staggering is the Andromeda Galaxy which 2.5 Million Light years away or in English 14,800,000,000,000,000,000 miles, and all the light i see is being produced by billions of stars, some of which wont exist now, as the light we see has taken 2.5 million years to get here.

So the next time you are out and it's getting dark and the clouds are away, stop, and look up and enjoy the glory of the night skies.

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