Saturday, August 24, 2013

I'm Such a Space Nerd

Yes, I'm a Space Nerd. One of my favorite activities is to go out at night and sit in our yard and look at the stars. If there's no moonlight, it can amazing to see all of the stars. There's so many things out there to see, the moon, stars, comets. meteors, planets, satellites, the International Space Station, and yeah a bunch of air planes. It pretty neat to look up in the sky and be able to identify what you're looking at. So far, I've seen five planets, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn. The first four, I was able to see without the use of a telescope. Saturn, by far, has been my favorite. I have always wanted to see its rings and about a week ago, my husband said Saturn would be up and he would set his telescope up to see the rings. I actually could see Saturn without the telescope, but to see the rings, a telescope was required. It was so cool!

Last night, I gave my first try at astro-photography. My exposures were a little too long for the star shots, but it's a trial and error process. Below is my photo of the Milky Way. My husband was able to identify at least two constellations in that photo.


I absolutely love my photo of the Big Dipper. I felt like a kid when I saw it.


The real purpose for my venture outside last night was to see the International Space Station (ISS) fly over. I subscribe to the NASA's web site Spot the Station and receive email alerts when the ISS is going to fly over and I always try to be out there to view it. Last night, I wanted to try and photograph it going over. I did a lot of research to see how to program the settings of my camera and once I had the camera programed, I attached it to the tripod and out to the field we went. I did a couple of test shots to make sure I had the focus and settings right. I could have done better, but I'm pleased with the results. Below is my 30-second exposure of the ISS flying over my house.


My next challenge to attach my camera to my husband's telescope and see what I can capture then. Later this fall, the comet Ison will come so close to the earth that they say you'll be able to see it in the daylight. I can't wait for that. Just imagine if you can see it in the daylight, how it will look at night.

Carol