Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tagging Planets with Theodolite iPhone App

There's been a post going around Facebook about this amazing event: 5 planets visible in the same sky. It's pretty rare, but I think the pop social media crowd might be over estimating the excitement a little. Yes, all 5 naked-eye planets in our solar system are visible at the same time: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.

They present themselves in a nice arc across the sky, but they're not all in the same field of view - at least not with my lenses. It's fun to imagine looking at the solar system side-on and all these planets in their respective orbits all on approximately the same side of the sun. But let's not get crazy.

Anyway, I couldn't get a photo of them all at once. So my group of 4 is still my best planet family photo. But I did use the app Theodolite to help me spot Mercury. I wasn't sure if it was over the roofline yet so I looked up it's current position on StarWalk and then used Theodolite to see if that would be over the roof. I confirmed with binoculars.

Theodolite and StarWalk are both on my top 13 astronomy and astrophotography app recommendations, so check them out!

theodolite screen shot mercury
Screen shot of Theodolite identifying approximate position of Mercury

venus with theodolite
Venus: Theodolite lets you export photos and it puts detailed information on the screen, this is a great way to tag and document the exact position of bright objects - still need to test it at night

jupiter with theodolite
Jupiter: Theodolite detailed position capture

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