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Last night's sky.


Last night was the harvest moon and I hope everyone got to enjoy it. I got home from teaching at around 9:30 and thought about eating supper and going to bed. Instead I ended up taking my camera outside-not so much to take pictures of the moon but rather pictures of Jupiter, the largest planet in our system.

So here is the best picture I got:


Jupiter is the bright object in the lower left of the photo. Click through to my flickr page and you will see three faint objects very close to Jupiter-those are three of Jupiter's moons. All and there is an added bonus. Up and to the left of Jupiter is a very faint bluish point of light. Turns out that is Uranus, a planet I have never seen. So an interesting first for me.

I expected to be able to get Jupiter since that planet is close-OK relatively speaking- to the Earth, but I thought light from the moon would prevent me from getting a good exposure.

In fact the moon was so bright it cast very pronounced shadows. Just for a lark I shot this picture of plants in my front yard and driveway:

By the light

As you can see the moon's light rivaled that cast from the street light just down from our house-one of the few times something in the night sky is able to break through the light pollution that keeps us cut off from the Universe unfolding around us in deep time.


Ken Lassman 7 years, 2 months ago

On a moonless, clear night, you can see shadows from Venus if it's high enough in the sky. And here's a link to some really cool pictures of shadows cast by the light from the Milky Way! I don't know if you could pick that up with your naked eye, tho--that guy's photographic equipment looks to have been better than our eye in picking up faint light.... http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap100823.html

Paul Decelles 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks Doug. That is a wonderful image. Definitely we could not pick up shadows from the Milky Way with the unaided eye. Looks like it took lots of long exposures plus some fancy tricks to render these shadows. By the way this image from the same site is pretty cool, speaking of long exposures:


Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

They're all hoaxes, fakes I tell you. And, we've never been on the moon. It's cheese.

Nice photos, Paul.

Paul Decelles 7 years, 2 months ago

Of course we've been to the moon. It's just that we were not first. Clearly the craters in the moon indicate the presence of Swiss Cheese, not American.

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

I looked Wednesday night (several different hours) and could not find Uranus; I suspect the moon was so bright it washed out the Jupiter moons also. Thursday night too cloudy; where is Uranus in relation to Jupiter on Friday night? I was using 7X35 binoculars.

Paul Decelles 7 years, 2 months ago

Rabbit...right now it is 10:36pm. Find the moon. Look to the right, toward the South and the bright point you will see is Jupiter. My 7 x35 Binocs are not able to resolve the moons or see Uranus. It may be that there is a bit too much haze from my position. But give it a try. Jupiter is the brightest thing aside from the moon in that SE part of the sky.

By the way if you have an Android phone get the Google Sky map application. It's really slick and I used it to verify what I was seeing. Uranus is real faint but has a slight bluish color. My star map suggests that Uranus is very close to Jupiter tonight.

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

Blind, I'll bet Paul could find Uranus.

I agree, Paul. The Swiss have it!

livefoniks 7 years, 2 months ago

Nice pic. The bluish-green thing above Jupiter is indeed Uranus. Congrats on finding it. :)

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm out West of Lawrence about 6 miles. Been watching Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Mercury at various times this year; tonight first time I've seen Uranus. Jupiter is as bright as I've ever seen it. Back in June, saw Saturn, Mars, Venus and Mercury all at one time in Western sky; spectacular.

Does KU still have open telescope nights??, they used to advertise this on special event occurrences.

Paul Decelles 7 years, 2 months ago


Not sure if KU still has telescope nights. I know my colleague at JCCC Doug Patterson periodically has an "Evenings with the Stars" and JCCC has a pretty good scope.


Thanks. I am posting a pic from tonight in a sec. The lighting is a bit better since Jupiter and Uranus are further away in the view from the moon or my street light.

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

Beautiful star gazing last night. It's grand to find the time to look upwards - even if you only see Uranus.

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