Sunday, 5 April 2009

A backyard view

The views from my garden aren't as spectacular as those from my workplace on the summit of Mauna Kea, but they aren't too bad. We don't see too many rainbows at the summit for instance! Still, the sights can be nice, especially when the sun is setting. When I first moved here I had a nice view of the ocean but my palm trees have grown since then and now block the view. I don't think I'll chop them down though, I like the palms just as they are.

Last month we lost almost two-thirds of the available observing time at the summit due to weather. That's terrible, although someone pointed out that in 2006, when we had the "biblical" rain (40 days of continuous rainfall), we lost 80%. Tonight the cirrus is thick and we'll lose yet another night to weather - unlike radio telescopes we can't observe through thick cloud. On the other hand the clouds make the sunsets a little more spectacular, especially at the summit.

Cirrus and low cumulus clouds at sunset from the garden. One day I'll get a shot of the sun setting behind the mountains from here, but having no evening clouds in the west is rare - low cumulus clouds are blown in by the trade winds and bunch up against the mountains. They stay there until the temperatures drop at night so getting a clear sunset is unusual.

The high cirrus clouds, however, offer some interesting effects during the night.

Or you can just zoom in and take a shot of the moon and not worry about the cirrus.


Zuzana said...

Isn't is just still magical to see a rainbow? I d not think I will ever grow out of liking them.;))
Love the shots of the moon, the detail is amazing.

parv said...

Tom, in the moon-clouds (3d) image, did you expose to get the definition (and color) in the clouds, letting the moon overexpose?

Tom said...

Parv - I couldn't get the clouds to show up if I got the moon's exposure right, so tried an experiment - I put in a graduated ND filter (sideways) with the clear part on the clouds. This meant the exposure was also a bit longer and meant the clouds would get blurred giving a sort of "aurora borealis" effect. Although the moon is a tad over-exposed the effect looked kind of cool I think!

Protege - thanks!

Tom said...

PS. Parv, thanks for commenting here as it reminded me I really need to visit your flickr site more often - wonderful photos! I'm not a flickr member so can't comment there!

parv said...

I need to get a ND filter myself, but that won't keep the moon from moving over 4s exposure.

Tom, please don't worry about Flick[e]r, visit whenever you like|remember|have time. As for comments, feel free to contact in person at JAC or send email to the JAC address of Anu.

Tom said...

parv - I used much less than a 4-sec exposure even with the graduated ND filter.

I need to go back and look at the settings I used for Moonlit clouds although I think vog, a quarter moon and the setting moon reduced the contrast. A fullish moon is quite hard to deal with although I managed it once in Kaloli Point Moonrise.


PS. And now I know who you are! Will chat with you soon!