Sunday, 25 January 2009

Venus setting and something else

I've recently spent fewer evenings at home than I would normally prefer, and those that have been at home have found me on call. This is going to continue for another week or two and the body clock is not what it ought to be right now. I had planned to do a lot of work around the house today and instead slept in until midday, cooked a small breakfast and fell asleep again afterwards. I'm back on the mountain working nights this coming midweek and I'm sure by then my brain will be back on a daytime schedule only to have to re-adjust again - quickly. As I get older this gets more difficult to deal with but the current work schedule is a particularly bad one.

Then again, I'm responsible for the telescope and 50% of the instrumentation and that'll change soon to being responsible for everything. Perhaps I should hire a night-time secretary. The next year or two is going to be unpleasant.

Anyway, this evening Venus was very bright in the western sky, so tried to take a shot of it setting through some trees from home. That's the top picture. I also took a few others because I really didn't know what exposure settings to use. When it comes to photography I'm clueless. The last one was interesting though. It's out of focus but as Venus was setting behind a tree there are several trails of something else which are more obvious if you click on the picture below. I thought I'd captured a couple of shooting stars or a satellite or something, but duh, I then realised the answer was much more simple. I was using a 30-second exposure time and they're simply the effect of using a long exposure time and no tracking. It surprised me that the trails were so long but then remembered the zoom was high, so the effect of the earth's rotation would be magnified. But why weren't those trails visible in any other shots? I think that's because in every other picture I took Venus wasn't being vignetted by a tree, so its light drowned out any nearby stars in the other shots.

So, no strange UFOs to report after all and just a sleep-deprived and muddled brain to deal with instead...

4 comments:

Protege said...

Wow, is that Venus? That looks like a moon.;) Beautiful.
That planet makes me always think of my sister, as her name is derived from it.

John Powell said...

"night-time secretary," eh? wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!

sallymandy said...

You have a fascinating, educational blog. Having visited Hilo once, I know just enough to picture where you work and what you might see from there. Thank you.

Tom said...

Thanks for those kind words, Sallymandy. I've been busy vacationing recently but hope to put up a few more pictures very soon!