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Comet Pan STARRS (C/2011 L4)

Comet Pan STARRS (C/2011 L4)

Comet Pan STARRS (C/2011 L4) can be seen right of center, just above the horizon with it’s tail going up. This is a non-periodic comet (meaning it doesn’t come regularly like Haley’s Comet.) My wife and I watched the sunset together and waited a long time for the sky to darken so it would be visible. It became freezing cold and windy outside and we were about to give up when I decided to do a slightly long exposure in the general direction where the comet was supposed to be.  While it turned out to not be visible to the naked eye, it showed up in my picture! I shot this with a 50mm lens, but am going to go out with my telephoto lens again tomorrow night and take another stab at it now that I know where it is.

-William Milberry

The last Venus transit of our lifetime.

The last Venus transit of our lifetime.

This is a series of photos of the Venus transit in front of the Sun on June 6, 2012 (Japan time.) The moving dot is the planet Venus and the small specs are sunspots.

I kept running outside and taking (hand held) photos with my DSLR and homemade solar filter at work then assembled some of the frames into this movie.

The event was fully visible from southwest Japan with the weather holding out for all but the last 30 minutes of the 6hr and 40min long event which won’t happen again for 105 years.

The music was recorded on the streets during a festival in Japan.

Venus is the 2nd planet from the Sun and Earth’s sister in some ways. Venus is about the same size as Earth and made of about the same things. However, due to a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide, believed to have originated from volcanos, the planet has a runaway greenhouse effect with a surface temperature over 460 °C (860 °F) and crushing atmospheric pressure.

It’s orbit is slightly inclined compared to Earth’s so the proper alignment to see it pass in front of the sun happens twice in 8 years followed by a more than 100 year wait for the next time.

 

Vensu transiting in front of the sun