Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mooning Venus and the ISS

After more than a week of clouds and few days of snow (yes, you heard right).  The skies unexpectedly cleared last night [4/24/12].  What a beauty of an evening.  I immediately grabbed my gear (camera bag, tripod, and binoculars) and ran out onto the patio to set up.
31mm,0.5sec f10 ISO100
Every evening I have this unavoidable compulsion to see how early I can spot Venus, usually before sunset. I spied and even photographed it at 3pm in February this year, that was wild.  Last night it was hard to miss shimmering there in the west near the thin waxing crescent Moon.  In my binoculars I was able to make out the tiny crescent of our inner solar system sister.  (I hope you guys are clicking the links I post, they aren't spam)

For the following picture I set up my camera in BULB, f5.6 and ISO250, plugged in my intervalometer set to 10 sec every 3 min for 20 exposures and mashed the start button.  As the camera fired away I was on my back on my patio table exploring Cancer, hitting Beehive cluster, M44 and M67.
20 exp, 28mm 10sec f5.6 ISO250
I loaded all 20 frames in PS, leaving the first frame alone I tediously erased all the other stars in all the other frames.  Then one by one I changed each layer's blending properties to "lighten" and  only the light from the Moon and Venus popped through. Tada!


Tonight [4/25/12] while I was in the middle of writing this post the ISS made a nice pass next to Venus and then Mars.  It's been cloudy all evening bus it cleared enough just in time.  I set up to shoot it rise in the west then as soon as it left the frame I whipped my camera over to Mars (the bright orangeish "star" in the second shot) and managed to catch it pass there too, unfortunately I think I was focused on the tree.  Check out the little "moon dog" on the right side of the first shot. 
22mm 117 sec f4.5 ISO400

35mm 56sec f5 ISO400

It's fantastic to see the sky again after so many soggy days.  Can't wait to get back out and observe with the group.