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September 18, 2010

Ok… You try to photograph Jupiter!

I heard yesterday that on Monday Jupiter and it’s moons will be making their closest pass to earth since 1963 and until 2022. If you look to the eastern sky shortly after sunset you will see our celestial neighbor a mere 368 million miles away.

So I thought… naively… that I might, just might be able to secure some interesting photos of the 2nd largest body (next to Rosie O'Donnell of course) in our solar system.

Ha! I think it’d be easier to bite a porcupine in the ass!

First don’t kid yourself, a 300mm lens that can take this picture of the moon, doesn’t even begin to get close to being able to capture Jupiter! It’s like coming to the plate with a toothpick instead of a baseball bat!

moon Sept 17 2010

Remember, the moon is only 238,857 miles away!  Jupiter? Is… well… farther!

What?… I don’t care if Jupiter is bigger.  Look, an Aircraft carrier 15 miles away looks smaller than a canoe that is only 15 feet away.  Get the point?

Anyway, here’s the best I could muster… the 4 other dots are Jupiter’s 4 Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto the largest of its 63 total.

jupiter and moons

So, as you can see, Jupiter becomes really nothing more than a bright white dot in the eastern sky.  Btw, if you are curious you can see pretty much what this image captured with a good pair of binoculars, you’ll easily see The Planet with the four neighboring moons.

I did try to capture a time exposure of Jupiter’s transit across our evening sky, but a funny thing happened on the way to this picture.  I had the fStop way open on this shot, and on a long exposure it really let in the ambient light generated by the sun reflecting Waxing Gibbous Moon (first photo).  HA!  It looked like I had taken the shot in broad daylight!  When in actuality it was about 2 hours after sunset!  It was black outside! That UFO in the middle is Jupiter, the rest of the streaks are the paths of stars created by our earth’s rotation on its axis.

Bright Jupiter

The I took a couple of others just for the fun of it, one of a passing plane, and the other of my backyard (common ground) in my townhouse neighborhood (the bright light through the tree is the moon).

The plane did not do some dramatic turn, that’s where I bumped the tripod with my size 12’s just as I released the shutter for the 6 second exposure.  Hey, I was hustling even to try to get this shot!

passing plane2

And the neighborhood.

backyard night

Again, 10:30ish at night.  Ehh… Something to do.

September 18, 2010 in Photo, Science | Permalink


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John, your photos are amazing! How do you make the time to take them and then post all your stories? Hans

Posted by: Hans | Sep 23, 2010 1:00:38 AM

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