Conjunction Star Party & ISS/Shuttle Jun 21, 2007 22:36:46 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 21, 2007 22:36:46 GMT -6
Chicago Astronomers Gather to observe Saturn, Venus & Lunar Conjunction...With a ISS/Shuttle Bonus
June 20 2007
June 20 2007
The storm clouds of the day before had passed, and with it came cooler temps and a picture perfect evening to catch the close conjunction in the west.
Steve and I arrived early to set up our scopes by the South Lawn of the Adler Planetarium. And at 8:00 pm, the sun was still shining. I projected the solar image onto a notebook...
Here Steve displays the solar image just as it's dissapearing behind the Chicago skyline to close the day.
Linda arrived with goodies to munch on and a short time later, new Chicago Astronomer Rhea and her daughter joined us.
I always like a deep Chicago twilight, with turquoise skies and pleasant breezes to sooth busy minds.
The cloud play was nice and soothing.
Using a polarizer filter on the Powershot S3, the sky deepens to handsome blues and dramatic reds. Here the crescent Moon and Venus are ready to display, but Saturn was difficult to spot this early.
Here in a tighter shot, we finally get to catch Saturn right smack inbetween the Moon and Venus. There was also a star right off the lunar limb, which we believe was Regulus.
Rhea and her daughter, in their first Chicago Astronomer star party, were wonderful to observe with and here Rhea takes a peek at the conjunction thru my scope.
Fellow Adler Telescope Operator Arvind and Fred joined in, with Fred bringing his 4.5" reflector and new finder scope.
As a bonus to tonight's observations, the ISS and Space Shuttle Altantis were scheduled to fly overhead from the NW to the SE. We all gathered in the shadows of the Adler to block out as much light as we could and scanned the skies for the unmistakable dot of the ISS.
For once, I was the first to spot the ISS, and right behind it was the Space Shuttle, flying brightly and steady. It faded in view gradually and became quite bright, perhaps a magnitude 1 object.
This was quite a remarkable viewing of the duo. I have never observed a passing like this. It was near hypnotic, but I had to keep snapping away and capture this event.
Arching near zenith, we were all oohhing and ahing at this long pass of the space crafts orbiting the Earth.
Now passed overhead and heading toward the SE, it still diplayed a great view of one craft following another.
The pair started to fade and ready to enter the Earth's shadow and then...dissapered. Steve kept track of the both in binoculars, but soon lost them as well.
This was a spectacular viewing, the best I and others have observed, and the images came out great.
From left to right: Me, Fred, Linda, Steve and Rhea & her daughter...and the small supernova behind us.
This was a very nice session with freinds and space crafts. We shared views with the public, had good conversations and promoted the Chicago Astronomer, as I heard Rhea do...
Onward to the June 29th/30th close encounter of Saturn and Venus...less than One Degree apart!