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Sunday, April 22, 2007


Camping Moon with Added Venus

The crescent Moon next to El Nath (beta Taurii), Venus and Aldebaran (click to enlarge) on the evening of Saturday 21 April above the Stringy Bark campground, Deep Creek conservation park.

We just had a wonderful weekend camping. I missed the Friday lineup of Antares, Venus and the Moon, due to traffic issues making us late to the campsite. But that night the heavens spread above us in an amazing Jewelled carpet. One of the most startling constellations was the Emu, an Indigenous Australian constellation that consists mostly of dark nebula. It stretches from the Southern cross to past Scorpius. Most people are unfamiliar with it, but when it is pointed out, the dark star clouds forever more form an Emu.

Saturday was a nice but strenuous walk down into Deep Creek, where wild seas meet an equally wild landscape. See the stereogram to the left I created of the headland (try centering on the pointy triangular bit in the middle then crossing your eyes, you may need to click to enlarge it).

That night, tired but happy and scoffing down large amounts of spaghetti bolognaise, I caught the scene up the top with Venus, ALdebaran and the Moon (in the enlarged version you can just see the Hyades).

Then the clouds rolled in. I had the film camera set up to photograph an iridium flare, the clouds broke at the last moment ... and so too did the cable release of the camera. I held the shutter open manually, but I'm sure the image will be too wobbly to be of interest. That said, the Flare occurred just above Saturn, and was very good to see, before more cloud blotted out the sky at last.

Needless to say, I didn't get to see comet Lovejoy. But it was a wonderful weekend nonetheless.

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