Sunday, September 23, 2012

International Observe the Moon Night

A Facebook post from motivated me to run outside and snap some pics of the moon for International Observe the Moon Night. Here are regular and enhanced versions of the moon through my Canon Rebel XT with 300mm lens. The zoomed photo was sharpened in Filterstorm () and Instagram Lo-fi filter creates a false image of the dark side of the moon.

The moon is 231,200 miles away and 52% illuminated.

international observe the moon night
Edited in Filterstorm and Instagram to bring out detail and create a false "dark side"
international observe the moon night
1/800, ISO 400

international observe the moon night
1/200, ISO 100

Sunday, September 16, 2012

BGSU Planetarium schedule for Fall 2012

The theme of this semester's planetarium schedule is "Moon Fest 2012" and I'm very excited about the lineup over the next few months!

bgsu planetarium schedule

I'm particularly intrigued by the shows "Is This the End of the World?" and "Bad Astronomy" because of their presumed promotion of skepticism!

Amazing sunset over McDonald's parking lot gets better with Instagram HDR filter

amazing sunset photo on iphone with instagram
HDR filter with Instagram

You never know where you'll be when nature presents an amazing spectacle like this sunset over a McDonald's parking lot in Indiana. I'm so glad the iPhone camera is decent enough to capture these moments when I don't have a camera on hand. The photo above was cropped and filtered with the Instagram HDR setting. Below is the original with slightly less impressive but still fully awesome colors.

amazing sunset photo on iphone with instagram
Original photo from iPhone camera

Friday, September 7, 2012

Iridium flare photo on iPhone

I haven't done an exhaustive search, but I can't recall ever seeing another iridium flare photo taken with an iPhone. I've seen quite a few long exposures of ISS passes, but this might be the first iridium flare photo captured directly on an iPhone camera.

I used Slow Shutter Cam () in Light Trail mode with light sensitivity to 1 and exposure time on 'bulb.' This -8 magnitude flare from Iridium 68 was visible at 5:58 am over Bowling Green, OH. I woke up at 5:50am, threw on some flip flops, and ran outside in time to see it. I propped my iPhone up against the rear window of my car to try to stabilize it.

I hadn't anticipated the bright moon would be so close to the satellite in the sky. I must say, for a -8 magnitude flare, I was a little underwhelmed. The waning gibbous was only about 3 fists at arm's length away from the flare (ballpark 30 deg or so) - so I guess I'm lucky to have seen it at all.

There is another -8 magnitude flare predicted for Saturday night over Bowling Green at 8:15pm, 47 deg altitude to the North.

iridium flare photo taken with iphone
100% crop from original photo. Iridium 68 on 9-7-12
In this zoomed in crop of the original photo, you can see the bright middle of the flare as it starts to fade out moving from top to bottom. Normally, iridium flares fade in and fade out over a period of about 30 seconds, producing long streaks on time exposed frames. However, because of the proximity to the moon, and the low light sensitivity on the iPhone camera, it's all over in a flash (har har).

iridium flare photo taken with iphone
Original photo on iPhone
Iridium 68 passing over Bowling Green Ohio
Satellite Tracker app shows proximity to the moon
mantis on a window
Bonus! I also saw this guy on the window on my way inside
This was also my first time seeing an iridium flare in person! Definitely worth waking up a little early for. Alright, it's Friday, back to bed!