Saturday, August 26, 2006

Staring at the Sky

Tonight I hauled out my telescope for the first time in a long time to look at a bright "star" on the western horizon I had been noticing just after sunst. It has been rather humid in the evenings because, well... it's just that way in Atlanta during the summer. But tonight it was rather clear. So, I pulled my telescope and its massive aluminum stand out of my closet and and aimed it in the direction of the bright object.

I was pretty sure it was Venus, but since I hadn't been able to look at stars in over a year (Atlanta ain't got nothin' on Cairo's pollution), I wasn't quite sure what was where at this time of year. As it turned out it was Jupiter. I could see the small white disk with two grayish bands across it and four of Jupiter's largest moons, which show up through my telescope as four pinpricks of light. It was great to see an old friend again!

Then I realized I had some new capabilities with my new digital camera. One of the reasons I liked it was its shutter priority setting, which means I can set the amount of time the shutter remains open. I set up my other tripod and mounted my camera on it. Then I opened up the shutter for about 16 seconds and caught the above image of the constellation Scorpius (click the image to see an enlargement). If you don't have eyes for constallations, this second image I found on the internet should help you.

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