My interest in joining Mars One has caused my childhood interest in the universe to resurface (off-topic, but “Last auto saved: 11:55:44 AM”—it’s all in the wrist).
As with almost anything, knowledge frequently comes with reading rather than hands-on research, but I always need some element of hands-on…ed…ness…
…to keep things interesting. It is difficult to touch stellar objects, especially the sun, so I settled for taking photographs of them. Of course you can download pictures of the planets, moon, and sun anywhere (well, not literally), but the interactive element is what makes the images fun. So these are all images that I took myself from my room in Tokyo, Japan, Earth. I hope you enjoy my amateur photography.
This is the sun.
The sun is too bright to photograph during the day so I took this shot close to midnight when the sun is darkest.
Ho ho ho, you see, I kid. This was taken during the day, but from Japan, which is the land of the rising sun, which is a different and darker sun than yours.
Ho ho ho, you see, I jest. I used ultra-dark filters to put the brightness of the sun into a reasonable range for photography, shutter speed 1/320, F8.0, and ISO 80.
Year 2,013 marks the 11th year of the solar cycle, which is its peak. Solar flares are emitted from sunspots, a few of which are visible here. Just days before I took this, the gigantic sunspot AR1654 was pointing like a cannon directly at Earth, but luckily did not fire. We did however get a direct hit from a solar flare in January, though no one seemed to notice.
For comparison, the black part of the main sunpot is about 1.3 or so times larger than Earth, and some of the flames coming off the photosphere of the sun, especially in the upper-right, are about as tall as the diameter of Earth.
This is the most recent fool moon. Ho ho ho, I jest—it was actually a very clever full moon.
This was shot as it was rising just after sunset and low on the horizon, giving it a yellowish tint. Tip to all who photograph space, shoot things when they are directly overhead. The more atmosphere between you and the target, the less clear and more tinted the photo will be. I wanted to wait for this one to rise over me for the shot, but I had to go to bed.
This was taken the night before while the moon was overhead. Not a completely foolish moon, but the jagged outline and craters are much more visible.
This first-quarter moon shows the craters much better.
This is Jupitar. With normal brightness (left) you can easily see its main 4 moons. Ganymede, the largest moon in our solar system, is larger than Mercury!
With brightness reduced (right) the surface features of Jupiter start to appear.
Unfortunately this was a low-horizon shot, which means it could be a lot clearer. I will try to get one while it is overhead soon and will post if the clarity is noticeably better.
This was not digitally scaled—it is the same zoom/scale as the sun and earth shots (although the site might have rescaled those images).
Saturn is also fairly easy to spot with the naked eye. With good eyesight you can see her rings without any equipment.
The upper-left square is the non-scaled (same zoom/scale as all previous images) image and the middle is digitally scaled by 4 times.
Venus, you sneaky girl! Trying to hide between layers of clouds eh? Venus is an inferior planet, meaning it is always in the direction of the sun when viewed from Earth. This means it is only easily visible during sunrise and sunset normally, but it is so bright that it can be seen during clear days and is sometimes mistaken for a UFO.
If there is some interest, more might follow.
Edited by L. Spiro, 09 February 2013 - 06:08 AM.