Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Photography and the Perth Observatory

Here is a very topical post.

Those who live in Western Australia (or perhaps even the whole of Australia) may be aware of a recent decision by the WA Deptartment of Environment and Conservation under the direction of the current Liberal State Government to cut costs, has announced all research at the Perth Observatory will cease. According to media reports this will save $300,000/year.

While this is disappointing, frustrating and I hold concerns for the future of the Observatory, it is worth remembering that at least for now the Perth Observatory is open for business for public tours (both night and day tours). Enthusiastic volunteers such as myself have a wonderful time running the night tours under the direction of the few remaining Perth Observatory staff. Volunteers have been doing this for many years now.

The public viewing nights I host are truly fun and judging by the written feedback the observatory receives, and great engagement and fun demonstrated by the public on the nights, are enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of people who attend too.

Enough with the heavy talk ... on to the photography!

Perhaps one of the perks for being a volunteer who spends on average a night every week at the Perth Observatory (adds up to quite a bit really...), is doing some photography there. Last Friday after I finished hosting the tour I had a great time photographing Jupiter with a friend of mine, through one of the telescopes used for public viewing. While he was taking photo's of Jupiter I couldn't help but get my DSLR out and snap some pics of the dome.

Shown below is the 14" Celestron telescope (one of several telescopes used for public viewing) together with the stars of the Southern Cross and Milky Way visible through the opening in the dome. They were rising in the south-east at the time.

Celestron 14" at the Perth Observatory used for public viewing.

If you live in Perth, consider coming and say hi by booking on to one of the viewing nights, enjoying a great night out.

PS. AstroFest 2013 is coming.... more on that soon!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Face-Off: The Moon and Jupiter

Here is a quick photograph from tonight. I call it "Face-Off".

The Moon and Jupiter.  I like this composition with the bright side of The Moon facing directly to the planet Jupiter in top left of frame.

Surprisingly even in this photograph taken at 100mm focal length (normal camera lens on a Canon 7D camera) when zoomed in to 100% a equatorial band is visible on Jupiter. This just goes to show that to do astronomy, to observe the planets, you don't need a telescope! Binoculars or even a camera zoom lens will show you great detail on Jupiter, Saturn and The Moon.

Face-Off: Jupiter and The Moon. Click to enlarge and see Jupiter.

And here is snap of the moon at 400mm (same camera lens zoomed in):
The Moon (22nd January 2013)
Buy posters and prints of The Moon at Astro Photography Australia