Entries tagged "venus"
Not too many words needed this morning.
Venus at dawn, over a misty valley. You might just be able to make out Arcturus, hiding behind the broadest part of the middle contrail, near the top left of the picture.
The contrails are aligned broadly southeast-northwest as usual.
And here is how things looked quarter of an hour earlier. Quarter of an hour is a good chunk of time in the dawn business. Arcturus is easier to spot here, nestled in just under the three contrail lines.
A blog of two halves for you today.Late September can bring some of the best early evening experiences for those who enjoy looking upwards.Visibility is likely to fluctuate a bit, but it looks as though we may get some of the best stargazing weather of the year over the next few nights. It promises to be warm enough to enjoy long spells outside, but without the crazily late sunsets of midsummer.I'll point out a few of the things worth looking for in a minute, but first just a few words about this weather.On my courses I encourage people to take…
Sometimes I feel like a big game hunter. Not a very good one though, as the idea of shooting the last white rhino, or whatever poor soul is struggling to cling onto their mortal coil, fills me with as much horror as you might hope.What I mean is that I often find myself creeping about rather stealthily, for fear of disturbing the animals (sometimes these animals are the kids who I dare not wake up too early for fear, in the words of Russell Crowe in Gladiator, of 'unleashing hell').I move out and forward, toes on grass, silently caressing my…
I hesitated before posting this. Working in a slightly unusual field I do have to guard against publishing anything that could be deemed 'unreliable'.And, no, I must emphasise that it is not anywhere near April 1st, before continuing...I would genuinely like the help of a photographer, astronomer or ufologist to try and solve a mystery.This morning I was taking some photographs of Venus, when I noticed what appeared to be a small white smudge near the planet itself.In the first picture (viewed on the LCD panel on the back of my camera) I noted it and thought it must have…
Venus and the brighter stars, like Arcturus, appeared shrouded in a veil this morning.
This was not mist close to the ground - horizontal visibility was excellent - but thin layers of high cirrus clouds. This effect has been used by navigators and travellers the world over as a sign that the a front may be approaching and a weather change is likely.
Cirrus on its own is not a guarantee of anything, but when followed, as it so often is, by cirrostratus and altostratus it is a strong indicator of an approaching warm front.
Awoke this morning and took the newest member of the family, a miniature Schnauzer puppy called Dreyfus, out for his constitutional.
Then it was time to look southeast and to watch Virgo melt back into the dawn light as Venus rose above the thin slither of a waning crescent moon. Below them pink and orange light bounced through under the dark blue sky and above the white of the hills.
My kind of music. Probably what Dreyfus was thinking too.
The frost crunched under the Ugg boots this morning and the cold crept in under the ridiculous hat as I helped myself to views of the waning moon, Sirius and Venus. In this picture Venus can be seen just above the contrail.
You may also just be able to see a star to the right of Venus and slightly higher. This is Spica in the constellation Virgo. Minutes after this picture was taken Spica had disappeared from view, drowned in the dawn's growing light. Venus would not be bullied so easily from the sky and remained beacon bright.…
I returned from a family trip to Brittany yesterday and what better welcome back than to come downstairs this morning to find Jupiter beaming at me through a skylight. It is a firm fixture in the early morning sky now and consequently is being confused by many for Venus. If a bright white object is visible when it is too light to see many stars then you are likely looking at Jupiter or Venus, and if the sun is more than fifty degrees away (five extended fist-widths) then that narrows it to Jupiter. This is an exercise you only need…
I quickly reached for my camera when I saw these objects in the sky. The picture was taken without a tripod and so they are a little blurred, but it is still just possible to make out the lights. A few seconds later the sky looked completely different and this could lead to suspicions that something unusual was going on, perhaps even stir suspicions of UFOs. The true explanation is very straightforward.The bright light to the left of the picture is an aircraft turning towards the camera with its landing lights on. The bright light near the top of the…
For the past few evenings I have been heading out into the Downs to find a good spot to keep watch out to the west. A sunset is always worth a walk, but there is rarer game worth hunting for in the skies at the moment. Unfortunately the clouds came in at the last minute last night and obscured Venus and Mercury again.Such a shame, it would have been an unusually good opportunity to catch them going to bed together. Fear not, I have a near foolproof plan for spotting them and shall report back with my results. If, over…
Yesterday afternoon I threw the snow off the Land Rover and headed out into the white - I had about half-a-dozen minor outstanding 'to-do's for the book, but there is no point writing a book about natural navigation if you are the sort of person who can resist these conditions. Dressed in a suitably ridiculous balaclava I made my way to the foot of Halnaker Hill and then proceeded uphill in wellies. Unless I'm on a mountain I find wellington boots with two pairs of socks the ideal footwear for small excursions in snow, even good hill-walking boots let…
What a difference an hour makes, I took this photo only one hour later than yesterday's. Venus was still visible to the naked eye, but being drowned out by the minute as the morning's twilight becomes dawn itself. Twilight is a hugely important time for celestial navigators as it is the only time that both the stars and horizon are visible. Celestial navigation relies on using a sextant to measure the angle between stars and the horizon. Before the morning twilight the horizon is not visible and after it the stars have disappeared. In the evening it is of…
I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. Some compensation was to be found outside, with a beautiful view of Orion, Sirius and Venus. All three have historically had some significance. Both Orion and Sirius have been used as seasonal markers, the 'heliacal rising' of Sirius being used as a forecast for flooding of the Nile in ancient Egypt. Orion is still known as a winter constellation in the northern hemisphere. The references to Venus are legion and include its use by the Maya to time the start of wars (see Anthony Aveni's…
This photo, taken just before six this morning, sums up my senses' delight at being woken by our kids who decided to hold a animated conference about dinosaurs at half past five. A slightly blurred Venus can just be seen between equally blurred leaves and clouds. If you do happen to be up even earlier, and the clouds allow, then Venus is currently an impressive pre-dawn beacon in the east.
I was up early this morning and caught a great twilight show from Jupiter and Venus. This photo does not do Venus justice, but you might just be able to make it out in the centre of the picture between the two banks of cloud.Jupiter's orbit is outside earth's and so moves through the night sky quite slowly, about one constellation per year.Venus' orbit is closer to the sun than ours and so its position in the sky changes quite rapidly. It spends about seven months as a bright object in the early evening sky, before disappearing behind the sun's…