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Planetary Photography in the daytime

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  • Planetary Photography in the daytime

    Few people know that Venus may be observed in the middle of the day. It is only a matter of knowing exactly when and where to look. I have observed it before and have been waiting for an opportunity to see it and take a photo. The photo isn't much because my telescope is designed for wide angle views but it can easily be seen that it is a partially illuminated round object that is displaying a crescent. Venus may only be seen during the day when it is near maximum extension and still reasonably close to the Earth. While it will be more completely illuminated later on it will also be much further away.

    This is approximately how it appears to the unaided eye. It isn't hard to see but you must be looking right at it. Then it looks like a tiny diamond sparkling in the sun.

    This is an enlargement of the same image above. It's a bit grainy because of the image sharpening required to show it more clearly.

    If you want to try seeing it then look due south at 14:40 Pacific Daylight Time. At my latitude of 52 north it is 20 degrees above the horizon. If you are south of me then add the difference to the elevation. If you are in a different time zone then make the appropriate adjustment. Scan the area with binoculars and it will be easy to find. Take great care not to scan toward the sun. It isn't that close but keep an eye on where you are looking.
    Last edited by Evan; 09-12-2010, 08:26 PM.
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  • #2
    Dang. I went outside to check it out, but even with binoculars all I could see was grey shades- and then these blurry spots started showing up. What could be wrong here-

    Ah, it's just BC weather coming home to roost

    Evan, you're an inspiration to the telescopically and lenticularly minded among us. You've shown some pretty amazing stuff.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


    • #3
      Evan, you make it sound a bit easier than I have found it to be.

      I remember waiting for first light at the observatory. All of us would stand outside and enjoy twilight. I could find the first star of the night on occasion.

      The key is that as one looks into the sky, there is nothing for your eve to reference in order to focus, just a evenly light blue to darker blue skys. Once you lock onto the object, then it is easy to see.

      I will say that the photography is good in that photo. Its always fun to see a crescent Venus.

      Mercury can be seen without a scope right at sunset on specific nights with a clear unobstructed horizon view. Due to its small orbit around the sun it doesnt stay up for long and barley gets above the horizon here. That planet was always impressive to me when viewing. To imagine what the surface is like and how close it is to the sun.

      Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.


      • #4
        I stepped out and had it located in less than 30 seconds. Of course, I have a very good idea just where due south is since my flagpole is placed so that it is precisely due south of my telescope and the tip of it is ten degrees above the horizon. That wasn't an accident.
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        • #5
          This is mercury taken on film quite a few years ago. This shot makes nice wallpaper since it is uncluttered.

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          • #6
            Here's one about an hour before sunset today here in Arizona, taken with a Canon 600mm f/2.8. It was sharp until I uploaded it to photobucket. Oh, it's the Moon. <smile>

            Last edited by Smokedaddy; 09-13-2010, 12:29 AM.


            • #7
              That is a beauty. It's hard to take yet another picture of the Moon and make it interesting but that does the trick.
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