Weekend astrophotography

It was a beautiful weekend here in Canberra. We’re heading into summer, the nights are clear, and warming up nicely.  I took one look at the sky on Friday night and decided that I’d spend some time brushing up on my photography skills!  I love observing and taking photos of what I see – but I’m not a fan of standing out in the cold trying to keep the frost and dew off the telescope and camera with various dew shields and heaters! Continue reading

Enceladus’ Hot Heart

We’ve all seen the beautiful Cassini images of plumes emanating from the surface of Enceladus.  So that begs the question – how is Enceladus hot enough to produce liquid when the moon appears to be an icy wasteland?

Enceladus' Jets

Enceladus’ Jets (NASA)

In 2008 Cassini flybys of Enceladus led to the startling discovery of Enceladus’ plumes and the presence of cryovolcanic activity on the moon.  Further investigations found that there are higher temperatures at the Tiger Stripe region of the moon, where the temperature is –93°C.  This is at the very least 115°C warmer than other regions of Enceladus!

Enceladus' Tiger Stripes

Enceladus’ Tiger Stripes (NASA)

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Solar Eclipse 2012

Hello from sunny Cairns in North Queensland!

If you didn’t know it – this week, on the 14th of November, the moon will find it’s way between the Earth and the Sun and cast it’s shadow across a small area of northern Queensland.

Although I’ve seen a few partial eclipses, I haven’t see a full eclipse. So Wednesday is the day, starting from about 0545!! It’s very exciting. There are quite a few fellow astronomers, stargazers and eclipse junkies in town. It’s quite the astro-geek convention.

Unfortunately I don’t have my telescope here, but we do have a pair of binoculars and a DSLR (and associated filters) so I’m hoping to catch a few photos of the event. Today I took a test shot – to make sure that we could capture the event from our hotel room balcony. I’m using a Canon EOS400D, 300mm lens. I’ve posted the test shot here….

I’ll keep you all posted on Wednesday via Twitter. Mean time in the next few days before the eclipse I’ll be enjoying a snorkelling tour of the reef, a trip to the Daintree forrest…. and quite a bit of lazing about the hotel pool.