Showing posts with label Sky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sky. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Conjunction Minus One Day

I missed the "great conjunction" of Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, as we had cloud cover.

So I tried again last night. We had clear skies but the two planets had already begun to drift apart.

To my astonishment, through the telephoto lens on my camera, I could see four of Jupiter's moons. I could not get the camera to photograph them, but I could see them. I wondered what it was like to be the first person to ever look through a zoom lens and see that a star was actually a planet, and that it had moons. Can you imagine how amazing that must have been? And how scary? It didn't scare me because I knew it was Jupiter and that it had moons - but that first view. Wow.

Anyway, I made a stab at photos and they came out poorly. I will share nevertheless.

While we waited for twilight to pass, I caught this image of an airplane and the moon.

This image was the best of the bunch. The planets are oblong a bit, but those two little dogs around the bigger white dot are two of Jupiter's moons. The smaller planet is Saturn. As you can see, they had moved apart.

This is how they looked, more or less, to the naked eye.

This has a little more definition of Jupiter as a planet. I never saw Saturn's rings, but I was happy enough with Jupiter's moons.

I took these with a Nikon Coolpix B700. This camera came out in 2016 and that is the year I received it for Christmas. It is four years old and I am having problems with it. Last night it became stuck in open position and nothing worked, so I had to go inside and remove the battery to reset it. I would like to learn more about using this camera but since I am sensing I may need another in the near future, I probably won't. I still turn to my Nikon P500 Coolpix, which is at least 10 years old, as my go-to camera, or my Canon Sure Shot, which is even older, for everyday photos. They just don't do the job with night photos (or birds) that this one does. (I did not ask for a new camera for Christmas; things are just too wonky right now. But maybe my birthday in June?)

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Brilliant Sunset

Sunset, 12/10/2020

Spectacular even as the sky darkened.


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

The International Space Station


The streak is the space station as it flew over the house tonight. It was in the sky for about six minutes. I had to turn the camera around to catch it from north to south.

The weatherman said it would be 10% on the horizon but it was straight overhead. It's a bit wobbly in the first picture because I had originally placed the camera on a tripod and aimed it at the horizon. In the wrong direction.

At least I caught it!

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Night Moves

The cosmos really is quite colorful, isn't it?

The first photo is of the full moon through the trees. The second is a long exposure star-trail. The white streak in the middle of the photo is the moon rising up.

I like how the star trails are different colors, white, yellow, blue, greenish. It's rather amazing.

Friday, November 20, 2020



Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Star Trails


Monday, November 02, 2020

I Caught A Falling Star!

Halloween night, I went outside to take pictures of the moon. Then I moved the front yard to attempt star trails again.

I had the camera on taking the photos but also had a flashlight in my hand so I could see what I was doing, so there was a lot of ambient light. I knew I would have to start over but that doesn't matter so much with digital.

As I was piddling with things, I saw a falling star. It was green and it fell from the sky magnificently.

I did not realize until Sunday morning that I'd caught the star fall on my camera. I was quite happy about that.

It's the greenish line down toward the horizon. The others are small star trails. The light on the trees is where I kept shining the flashlight while I was making sure things were where I wanted them to be, and ambient light from the house.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Star Trails and Mars

Night photography is not my strong suit. It took me a long time to figure out how to photograph the moon. Now I'm moving on to star trails.

These take a long time and require clear nights and low pollen counts.

I also took photos of Mars, which looked much cooler through the camera lens than my photos turned out. I could see through the lens that the twinkle was a planet!

The big white spot is the moon.


And here's Mars. The red one is as it was setting and the sun was coming up. The other was around 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Chasing the Comet

Somewhere up in the sky is Comet Neowise.

It's about 3 miles across and it won't be back for about 7,000 years. It looks nice through binoculars. We've seen it a few times now. 

I spent several hours yesterday going over my camera settings so I could try - again - to photograph this comet.

We could see it with our naked eye when we first went out, a streak or smudge on the dark sky, just below the Big Dipper.

And while I was able to get the Big Dipper, finally, the comet vanished, even through binoculars, as the heat and humidity sent steam and mist rising into the upper atmosphere and blocked the view.

Night photography is not my strong suit. I spent years learning to photograph the moon, and I can do that now with decent results. But the stars? Until last night, I'd not even been able to get a star.

I guess there is progress there, in that I was able to get the Big Dipper before cloud cover rolled in and shuttered the entire sky.

But dang, I want to see that comet on my camera.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Cotton Candy Clouds for New Year's Eve

The sky this morning had the most interesting splotches of light on the clouds. Some of them looked like puffs of cotton candy at a fair.

We have come to it now, the last day of this year, and of this decade, depending on how one counts decades. At any rate, the "teens" of the second millennium are over and the "twenties" are about to begin.

I doubt they will be Roaring '20s like in the 1900s. But we'll see. By 2025, things might be grooving along as well as one could hope. Or we could all be dust on a barren, dead planet.

Moving on.

My major accomplishment of this year, by far, was writing a 100-page magazine at the behest of the county's 250th anniversary committee. I was asked in March and I finished it in mid-October, for the most part, although I was still proofing copies into December.

My next other accomplishment was being published in Artemis and then attending and reading my poetry at a poetry reading at the Blue Ridge Library in September.

I also managed to hit my 36th wedding anniversary, a feat in this day and age, and I've kept my husband clean, fed, and happy while he recovers from an ankle fusion surgery. I do think we need to build him a man space, though. I miss my alone time and having here 24/7 for six weeks has been nerve-wracking. I'm not used to having him around all the time.

What else happened that was noteworthy this year?

Ah, home improvements. We installed new flooring. Well, actually some of the flooring we installed in 2018 had to be removed and reinstalled, and we went ahead and put in hardwood flooring while we were at it. It has worked well and I think the house has less dust.

Also, we lost a lot of trees. The first blue spruce fell over in a windstorm in February, and the others we removed because they were dying. In 2012, I think it was, we had a drought, and we didn't water the trees because these were established trees - they were nearly 30 years old then - and it simply didn't occur to us to do so. As a result, they each caught a fungus that eventually kills the trees. We tried spraying them annually with fungicide but they were too far gone. Then the ash borers came through and took out the ash trees. So we had the blue spruces removed, and a very large ash, and from the looks of it we will have to have the tree people back to remove at least one more ash in the backyard that is too large to simply cut down. I miss my trees although I do enjoy the new views. We plan to plant something back this spring. I want evergreens, so I need to find a hardy type that will weather our changing climate.

One other thing I did was contact my local officials with concerns about Freedom of Information Act notices and their many closed meetings. This led to a flurry of meetings with county staff that were both perplexing and amusing. Some changes were made because I was right but the county still spends far too much time in closed sessions and it is very secretive about things they really have no reason to be so closed-mouth about. That happened in March.

My nephew married and had a baby. We threw him a combination marriage reception/baby shower in late May. The baby's name is Ellie and she's just starting to figure out she can move around. I think she'll be crawling in the next few weeks.

In late June, I developed a blood clot in my leg. I still have a knot there, although the clot is apparently gone and this is now a big varicose vein. It hurts sometimes, still.

We went to Myrtle Beach in September. I bought a cheap electric guitar, which I am enjoying very much. I'd forgotten how much I like to play an electric guitar. This one is very light for an electric guitar.

That brings us fairly current. It was a busy year. What will 2020 have in store, I wonder?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Sunset, June 1, 2019

I don't remember taking this shot; I found it on my camera the other day when I was pulling photos off the SD card. The date on it was June 1. Not a bad photo, though. I took it with a Nikon Coolpix B700.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

A New Year

"It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. . . That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.” - Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers (Peter Jackson movie version)

Now we come to it - the new year. Another day, a reason to purchase a new calendar. Maybe a time to reflect, but I have stopped making goals and resolutions. I think this is an error on my part, for we all need something to reach for . . . something to have hope about, whether it is as large as saving an entire land from darkness or as small as purchasing a longed-for object, or creating something big or minor.

Hope springs eternal in the heart of humanity, no matter how much darkness we see, or how much rain falls. Rainbows do come, after all, at some point, even if we don't live to see them.

Life goes on.

Here's what the sunrise looked like this morning:

How can you not have hope on a gray day when it starts out with a little pink?

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Moonrise Over Fog

Monday, September 24, 2018

Volcanic Sunset

Monday, July 16, 2018

Sunset Over Stone Coal Gap

Nikon P500, Saturday 07/14/2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April Sunrise

April 12, 2018

Monday, March 05, 2018

Surreal Sky

Thursday night the lights went out while a wind storm raged around us. The moon was full but the sky cloudy. With the lights gone, I could see an orange glow to the south, probably Roanoke. I tried to take photos to show the surreal surroundings, but I don't think I succeeded.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Evening Sky

Friday, August 25, 2017

Our "Eclipse Party"

As I noted in a blog post on Monday, I had serious concerns about my camera equipment and my ability to get the photos I wanted during our 90% eclipse.

I had resigned myself to trying to use my Nikon D3200, which doesn't have a movable monitor. This meant that in order to see the eclipse through the monitor and line things up, I was going to have to turn myself into a pretzel or something, since I needed to use a tripod and the self-timer on the camera.

Inspiration hit when I went to the bathroom. No, not that kind of inspiration! I figured out a way to put the solar film over my Nikon Coolpix P500, which is a point and shoot and truly my favorite camera.


I placed the solar film over the toilet paper tube, cut the tub in a few places so it would slide over the extension/zoom on my camera, and viola! I could now use the camera with the moveable monitor and the one with the best zoom on it. All I had to do was take the solar film on and off.

This worked well, as you can see from the photos.

With that all set, and my glasses available (including some that Amazon supposedly recalled and said they would refund me for, but no money has yet fallen into my account), my husband and I, along with my mother-in-law, settled in to watch the totality on TV and the eclipse from our area.

My goofy husband models his eclipse glasses.

We went old school, too, and made viewers out of cereal boxes.

My mother-in-law with her ball cap and dark sunglasses.

During the 90% part, it was this dark. The world seemed more like a burnt orange color, which unfortunately did not show up in the photo. But it did grow rather dark. The rooster down the street crowed the entire time the eclipse was going on.

My husband takes a gander at the sun through his special specs.

My mother-in-law looking through her special specs.

It was fun to take the afternoon off and enjoy a Mother Nature show. For me, the best thing was that for a few minutes there, we were once again a united people, with a lot of us, anyway, enjoying a spectacle that didn't involve death or destruction and nothing but warnings to not look at the sun (which you shouldn't do anyhow). See, we can come together and overcome our differences. We just have to do it in the 2 minutes of darkness during a total eclipse.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse Photos

There are pictures of the sun/eclipse alone. I'll do a second post showing the things that went on to get this done.

The full sun around 11 a.m.

The eclipse around 2 p.m.

We had cloud cover off and on during the event. This was taken through some thin clouds.

About 2/3 gone, probably around 2:15 p.m.

At or close to the 90% coverage we were going to get here in SW VA.

The moon starting to move on past.

We had almost total cloud cover for the latter part of the eclipse.