Monday, December 26, 2011

Jupiter from a few weeks ago.

It just hasn't been a very good time these days for observing in Seattle.  Years ago, we seemed to have better skies, but just never seem to get very many really good nights these days.  Clouds, fog, crud or just plain unstable.
This photo of Jupiter was taken earlier this month on a fairly stable night.  I've done better, but I have to take what I can get.  Jupiter is in a very good position near the meridian after sunset now, so you don't have to stay up too late for the best viewing through less atmosphere.
This is about 600 frames stacked with Registax 6.  I got it running in Linux and for some reason it really performed well and was faster than Windows 7, but I think it may have been using dual processors for that, I'll have to experiment with both OSs for some more comparisons.  
Volcanic moon Io is casting the shadow on the planet clouds.  You can just make it out on the lower right in the cloud band.

Aussies get all the luck with comets.

Been a while since I posted something on the blog site, so I need to get caught up again.   I'll just say 2011 has been a year to put behind me, and looking forward to starting 2012 - even if the Mayan calendar says this is our final year!
Comet Lovejoy seen from the ISS
So, once again there is a way cool fancy comet in the skies that favors those that walk upside down below the equator.  A few years back, they got the best view of Comet McNaught (but it was discovered by an Aussie anyway), and now Comet Lovejoy is showing off down there.  I guess I can't get too annoyed, even though we have had the 2nd driest December here in the NW, the skies have been quite foggy and hazy this month, so there haven't been that many really good observing nights.
Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy, discovered the comet and had it named after him.  The comet is known as a "sungrazer" since it appeared to be heading directly toward the sun and it's doom.  The SDO spacecraft has imaged a lot of these kamikaze comets over the years.  This comet barnstormed over the sun and reappeared on the other side surviving the  87,000 mile skimming of the solar surface.   It's now showing up in the "Down under" skies and putting on an amazing show!
(Although, the crew on the ISS has a much better view if you ask me).