Saturday, August 14, 2010

Planet-Gazing

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

~Walt Whitman / Leaves of Grass / When I Heard The Learn'd Astronomer
One of the best things about the night sky is that anyone can look at it. While this is quite obvious, some feel that only professional astronomers are qualified to look upwards to the heavens. That's not very true. Anyone can do it, even if you don't understand the mechanics behind the whole enterprise.

The following is from my window on Thursday night. The lovely crescent moon (specially commissioned for National Day) lies just below the bright Venus. Nearby Saturn and Mars peek through the atmospheric impurities, almost invisible to the naked eye but discernible through a DSLR camera on a tripod.

click = big

I have a computer planetarium called Stallarium which I highly recommend. Here are some screen shots that show what the lights are on this night.


4 comments:

Boulevard of Broken dreams said...

Seriously??? You can see the stars like this? I've never given much thought to that before, but this is really cool stuff!

jeffyen said...

Yes Ms Gan, I can see stars through my window and also if I use the software. The window version is more real though!

Limmy said...

Je deteste des oiseaux!

But I'm glad your comments column fit in nicely now (:

Anonymous said...

gorgeous! it's all out there, just not visible to the naked eye :)