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John Colley
2004-Aug-22, 08:50 PM
Hi all,

I'm completely new here (in fact It's the first time I've ever visited an astronomy website good or, bad).

I'm a photographer - someone with an interest in the science of light and time but, completley clueless about planets and stars and suns and stuff outhere.

Here's a copy of a post I made on The British Journal of Photography web forum:

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Photographing planets at night.

Well can you?

I've spent this afternoon preparing some negatives from my recent Andalusia trip for printing and hi-res scanning. On a few shots of the Kodak 400CN I noticed what I thought were specks of dust on the heavily filtered, black day time sky.

After looking more closley and comparing 3 similar shots of the same scene the 'speck' appears to be consistent in it's position in the sky. As the shots were taken through a polariser and a red(x8) (erm, that says 'times 8' - no idea who the cheeky chap in the shades is. I didn't invite him) filter I'm wondering whether the 'speck' is actually mars!

I was at around 3000ft above sea level, mid afternoon, pointing my lens in a north east/easterly direction. Are there any astronomers out there? Or, have any photographers experienced this before?

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A low res scan of one shot can be viewed here: http://www.silverbites.co.uk/andalusia/52.htm

Hopefully I'll get a hi-res scan of the neg done soon for more visual info.

Anyone here able to halt my curiosity?

Cheers,

john.

John Colley
2004-Aug-22, 09:54 PM
Can someone at least tell me where mars would appear in the sky at that time (in theory at least - I know it's not really possible to see it by day).

Sorry, this one's going to keep me awake all night and I need my sleep. It's 11pm on a Sunday night where I am. ANSWERS pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze sweet jeeeeezus. now if poss.

Robert Andersson
2004-Aug-22, 10:06 PM
I know there are better places, but I can't remember where. Anyway, try http://www.heavens-above.com/, then goto "Select your location ...". When you have the list of available data, get the Astronomy/Shy chart. At the bottom you can set the date/time, and compare with you're observations.

EDIT:
I made a chart for you, clicky (http://www.heavens-above.com/skychart.asp?Y=2004&M=8&D=22&H=15&N=00&Lat=37&Lng=-5&Loc=Unspecified&TZ=CET&SL=on&SN=on&BW=0&SZ=600 ), based on these parameters:
Latitude: 37
Longitude: -5
Elevation: 3000m
Date/time: 2004-08-22 15:00

If you need to correct these, start over here: http://www.heavens-above.com/detailform.asp

EDIT 2:
Oops, that should've been 3000 feet. Shouldn't matter much, though.

John Colley
2004-Aug-22, 10:09 PM
I know there are better places, but I can't remember where. Anyway, try [ur]]http://www.heavens-above.com/[/url], then goto "Select your location ...". When you have the list of available data, get the Astronomy/Shy chart. At the bottom you can set the date/time, and compare with you're observations.

Thank you. I'll report back if my findings are worth reporting.

John.

John Colley
2004-Aug-22, 10:19 PM
I know there are better places, but I can't remember where. Anyway, try [ur]]http://www.heavens-above.com/[/url], then goto "Select your location ...". When you have the list of available data, get the Astronomy/Shy chart. At the bottom you can set the date/time, and compare with you're observations.

Thank you. I'll report back if my findings are worth reporting.

John.


--/ Okay. Sorry to bother you with questions from the uninitiated. I've got the sky chart for the time and place but, I'm not sure where I'm viewing from. Is a sky chart a map of the sky as I look directly above (so my perceived north becomes my south not like a mirror? Or, is north still north like I'm looking from above? Anyone follow me thinking?

Robert Andersson
2004-Aug-22, 10:25 PM
Sorry to bother you with questions from the uninitiated. I've got the sky chart for the time and place but, I'm not sure where I'm viewing from. Is a sky chart a map of the sky as I look directly above (so my perceived north becomes my south not like a mirror? Or, is north still north like I'm looking from above? Anyone follow me thinking?
I admit to hate reading sky charts, and I'm no good at it either, so my explaination is probably not good.

However, it is not exacly what you see when you look up; everything on the whole sky must be compressed into that thing. Consider the circle's outline, that matches the horizon. The center point is what is right above your. Then bend your mind trying to interpolate these points (north, souht, west, east, up). :D

EDIT: While looking at the chart, it seem unlikely to have been Mars (towards the south), but could've been Venus (westwards). Venus is much brighter than Mars; you can often see it before the sun sets.

John Colley
2004-Aug-22, 10:38 PM
Sorry to bother you with questions from the uninitiated. I've got the sky chart for the time and place but, I'm not sure where I'm viewing from. Is a sky chart a map of the sky as I look directly above (so my perceived north becomes my south not like a mirror? Or, is north still north like I'm looking from above? Anyone follow me thinking?
I admit to hate reading sky charts, and I'm no good at it either, so my explaination is probably not good.

However, it is not exacly what you see when you look up; everything on the whole sky must be compressed into that thing. Consider the circle's outline, that matches the horizon. The center point is what is right above your. Then bend your mind trying to interpolate these points (north, souht, west, east, up). :D

EDIT: While looking at the chart, it seem unlikely to have been Mars (towards the south), but could've been Venus (westwards). Venus is much brighter than Mars; you can often see it before the sun sets.



Can't make it work for me. If I was lying on my back where my tripod was at the time, with my feet pointing to the centre of view in the photograph, I would be lying with my head pointing south west and my feet pointing north east. The sun would be to my left (south west/west) still quite high in the sky (a beginners guess would be about 60 degrees).

I mentioned the height because... oh well, because I thought it might matter to someone or, summat.

--/ edit!!! What colour is venus? (and why?)

Ut
2004-Aug-22, 10:57 PM
North east is in the direction of Draco and Hercules in that chart. If you just look at that quarter of the chart, you'll notice there are no planets in it.

To get an idea of how it looks, the north star in that chart is about 40 degrees off the horizon. Half way between the edge of the chart and the centre is 45 degrees. The sun is SW at about 60 degrees off the horizon or so. Saturn is about 45 degrees above the horizon in the west, while Venus is about 40 degrees above the horizon in the west (both in Gemini).

In the night sky, Venus looks white or yellowish. The clouds of Venus are kind of a dirty yellow, but that's not enough to tint it to the naked eye here on Earth. It looks yellow as it gets near the horizon for the same reasons the sun gets orange. More blue light gets scattered than red.

01101001
2004-Aug-23, 02:02 AM
I'm completely new here (in fact It's the first time I've ever visited an astronomy website good or, bad).
Welcome.


Photographing planets at night.
You mean by day, right?

Day photography of the bright planets should be possible. It's not something most people do, probably just because it's harder to search around, and there's not much else to look at. They are probably bright enough to be seen during the day, but just don't stand out much from the surrounding bright sky. There isn't much contrast.

I remember a friend who got a new telescope and just on a lark, to try out the tracking software, entered some planet, probably Mars or Jupiter, that happened to be in the day sky. The telescope whirred and pointed into the blue. He took a look through the eyepiece and was surprised to see his target.

(As for the guys with shades, you got an unintended smiley, a graphic called up by some particular sequence of characters. if you can't find an appropriate character string that doesn't invoke the smiley, the posting option to disable smilies might get rid of him.)

John Colley
2004-Aug-23, 09:17 AM
Yep - I meant photographing at day.

Thanks for the responses. I've come to the conclusion that it could well be Venus. If I'm reading the sky charts correctly they suggest that Venus would be in about the right place. But, I can't quite follow Ut's post and would willingly stand corrected if it turns out I've mis-read the charts.

Someone on another forum suggested that it would be impossible to see mars by day reagrdless because more light is reflected from the sun by earth than by mars(?)

Ut
2004-Aug-23, 11:52 AM
Hrmm, I wish I could explain it better. I suspect your biggest problem is in trying to project the flat image onto the domed sky in your mind. You have to literally wrap the image around your mind. Take it outside on a clear night, so that you can actually see some stars, and you might be able to actually do it. Otherwise, it'll just stay a flat image for you.


Someone on another forum suggested that it would be impossible to see mars by day reagrdless because more light is reflected from the sun by earth than by mars(?)

Two things prevent you from seeing Mars during the day (assuming it's actually in the sky for those hours):

1. Washout (it's either too close to the Sun, or the sky itself is too bright)

2. Your pupils simply may not be able to open wide enough for Mars to be visible during the day. Even in the dark, you won't see most things in the sky until your eyes adjust. They don't get to do that during the day, because it's always light out.

Kiwi
2004-Aug-23, 01:49 PM
Venus was a naked-eye daytime sight for me a few weeks ago and probably still is (it has been cloudy for a long time), so should be easy to photograph, particularly with that filter combination. It is very low in the sky here and sinks into haze near the horizon around noon, so should be more easily seen from the northern hemisphere.

John Colley: Are you looking at the star maps as if they're held overhead, or at least held vertical with the south on the map down near the horizon if you're facing south? Some beginners don't realise that sky maps should be held overhead and therefore think that east and west are reversed.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Aug-23, 02:08 PM
Two things prevent you from seeing Mars during the day (assuming it's actually in the sky for those hours):
Mars is too close to the sun right now, less than ten degrees away.

However, the key is that clearly he was facing northeast. There are no planets there at that time of day. The only possibility is the bright star Vega--but if it is Vega, I'd definitely be for trying to photograph Venus during the day, which is over forty times brighter. Even try for Saturn--which right now is just about as bright as Vega, and close to Venus. The sun is far enough away from Saturn and Venus that it shouldn't be a problem. Just point your camera almost due west (just a bit north) late in the afternoon.

These pictures were taken recently right? On what date? Oh, nevermind, I see from the front page that you took them in Andalusia in mid August of this year.

Jigsaw
2004-Aug-23, 03:20 PM
Sorry to bother you with questions from the uninitiated.
John, on the BABB, never apologize for asking questions. ;) Here, we say, "The only dumb question is the one you're too afraid to ask."

Welcome to the BABB!


And welcome to A Thousand Pardons, too. Is it okay if we call you "1,000" for short? :D

Ut
2004-Aug-23, 03:32 PM
I've been here for all of seven months, and that phrase is already cliche for me.


And welcome to A Thousand Pardons, too. Is it okay if we call you "1,000" for short? :D

Or how about "G"? What? I'm lazy!

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Aug-23, 03:35 PM
"Thou" would be nice :)

Tensor
2004-Aug-23, 03:53 PM
"Thou" would be nice :)

How about just "K"? :wink: :lol:

Ut
2004-Aug-23, 04:03 PM
Thou art entitled to be called that with which thou preferest thine title to be.

Robert Andersson
2004-Aug-23, 10:09 PM
"Thou" would be nice :)
How about just "K"? :wink: :lol:
That doesn't make sense. *

I vote for "1e3".

* K = Kelvin

Jigsaw
2004-Aug-24, 01:59 AM
I've been here for all of seven months, and that phrase is already cliche for me.
May be, but, you know, the thing about cliches is, they're true. ;)

Charlie in Dayton
2004-Aug-24, 04:10 AM
Cinching his belt tight, and checking the copy of Webster's Unabridged nestling in its custom holster, he swaggered out into the street to once again steer the thread back on topic with his bare hands...

Now that I'm back on night shift, it's time to finally get that scope collimated and try the trick I've been meaning to do for so long...some 800 speed color film, and some shots of the Moon in daylight around here...was ambling around on my evening constitutional about 730 pm EST here, and directly south noticed a nice first quarter moon up in the still bright blue skies. I've looked at the moon under such circumstances through a scope, and the contrast is quite different -- yellow-white/black vs bluish-white/blue, and a much lighter background too. Some shots of the moon in these circumstances might be quite artistic. Have to check quarters/rises/sets vs the calendar to see when I'm off and Luna is flying high.

John Colley
2004-Aug-29, 07:48 PM
Hi all!

Thanks for all the feedback on this. It may not astound you guys as much as it did me but, It is indeed possible to photograph stars and planets at day.

After giving up on the Kodak 400CN negs because they were just to grainy, I checked my Fuji Neopan ACROS 100 negs with the same filter combination shot at midday in Northern Andalusian sunshine. They show stars quite clearly.

So all go dig your film cameras back out the storage cupboards and leave digital to what it's best at for a while yet. I'm no luddite - honest.

Here's a link to a large jpeg (1.5mb) that shows stars. IMO at least.

http://www.silverbites.co.uk/stars.htm

John.[/url]

um3k
2004-Aug-29, 10:41 PM
John, if film can "see" it, then there is no reason to think that digital cannot. I am quite confident that the same set of filters would produce very similar results with a digital camera.