30 October 2007

Comet 17P Holmes & more astromony banter.

Comet 17P Holmes has just brightened dramatically and can now be seen with the naked eye. I just found out about this poking around here - http://www.heavens-above.com. I took some photos of it last night. The comet is in the constellation of Perseus. Each photo takes us a step closer. Click on the image to see a larger, clearer file.
The first image shows much of Perseus and the bright star, Capella (which our cat is named after) in of the constellation Auriga, at the bottom. You will see a small triangle of stars in the middle of the image. The next image shows this more closely. The bright star at the top of the triangle is Alpha Persei or Mirfak. The bright star in the lower right is Delta Persi or Basel (the brave one). The third 'star' in this triangle is not a star at all but the comet 17P Holmes! I didn't expect to see it without binoculars. It was confusing me on my star chart. The third photo is a close up of the comet itself through my 300mm lens.
All of this was visible even though there was a near full moon out. I was observing near midnight at a latitude of about 47 degrees and Perseus was almost directly above me, slightly to the east.
Other objects to note, Mars rising in the east in Gemini along with probably my favorite constellation, Orion, Capella (as stated above), and to the west Vega.
This morning I woke up early for a chance to see a Iridium Flare but of course it was foggy to the south east. There was Mars and the Moon again, now above and slightly to the west, southwest. To the southwest Sirius was trying but sadly failing to out shine Venus who stood just above the fog, in Leo, to the east.

17 October 2007

Fall Color

We just had out 5th wedding anniversary. In celebration we took a drive up to Leavenworth for Oktoberfest. The town was way overcrowded for us to really enjoy it and there was no lodging. We should have planned this better. But the fall color in the mountains was beautiful!