No, I haven’t been riding to the stars, taking mind altering hallucinogenic drugs or doing the Sunday crossword!
My week (or rather slightly more than a week, I’m cheating slightly here, I needed to save a few pics from a couple of weeks back to make this work…) has been pretty full of cool things.
But most especially its been full of planets, comets and motorbikes.
Jupiter to be exact. And the moon, but its not really a planet. If you look up in the sky at the moment, you can see Jupiter – its pretty obvious, it’s the brightest star-like object in the heavens (as Venus and Mars et al are all hiding behind the sun relative to earth)
One of the cool things about the solar system is the orbital plane of all the planets (our own Luna included) is very similar, so when their relative positions line up, they can appear in the same part of the sky. This planetary conjunction doesn’t happen very often, as orbits can take decades for the outer planets we can see – I remember a few years ago when I was living in England that Saturn and Jupiter were very close. Anyway, I digress.
Last month, Jupiter and the moon has a little dalliance – an astronomical game of kiss chase. Jupiter was actually occulted (obscured, hidden – not vanished using dark magic) by the moon the next day, but I forgot to go out and get the picture!
A week later, the moon had gone on its merry way and had left Jupiter alone, so I thought I’d have a closer look.
I took this with my ordinary camera (200mm lens) on a tripod – thats Jupiter and the 4 largest moons, Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisato (plus a rogue star on the bottom left, trying to muscle in on the aciton). There’s no detail on the planet – the lens wont capture that, but it does show you want you can see.
If you have binoculars – 8×50 or 10×50 are idea – go have a look, you can see the moons as little tiny pinpoints of light in a nice line. Positions will of course vary and if one is infront or behind, you wont see it!
We’re blessed here in the southern hemisphere at the moment with a very visible comet. Comet PAN-STARRS (why it is called that, I have no idea) – it’s pretty close to the sun right now, so just after sunset, looking due west, you should be able to see it as a noticeable fuzzy splotch of light with a tail. It’s not huge like Hale-Bopp or McNaught was, but even so, it’s pretty cool. Go look. Southern Hemisphere dwellers, you’ve probably got a matter of days left before it departs for the North. Northern Hemisphere dwellers – it’s just coming into view for you.
Again, nothing fancy, just the zoom lens and a tripod. These were taken over the ocean, so the black at the bottom is the sea!
A bit closer, you can see the tail and coma (fuzzy bit!)
We have a few other comets coming – comet Lemmon is glowing teal-coloured high in the sky of the Southern Hemisphere at the moment and will surely make its way to the North in due course. It’s pretty faint right now – hopefully I can get some kind of shot at some point. Later in the year, look out for comet ISON – it’s going to be huge apparently.
And lastly, motorbikes. Yes, I know, you’ve seen lots of bike pics, but it’s nice around here and I like the photos I took today, so there! Pete and I went about 50km south of here, past Mandurah, around the edge of the Peel Inlet and through interesting place names like Falcon, Bouvard and Herron.
We turned off the coast road and headed down a little bendy backroad, past enormous mansions (I’ll take some photos next time, but you can always Google Earth Herron or Bouvard and look for yourself) and along the shore of the Peel Inlet. Was very beautiful and perfect biking road.
We headed back into Mandurah for a coffee, a ride along the beach and past the canals (and more billionaire mansions) stopped for fuel and then rode home – was fabulous! And the skies were cloudy for once (but it was still 32C) which makes things more interesting.
So there you go. Thats you uptodate!
Next up – Politics. We had a state election. Fun was had by all.
Very interesting fabulous photos of the planets and the comet. We will try to look for it tomorrow when we have a clear view of horizon, in the Caribbean.