In Proper Alignment

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Clear and cool conditions (44 degrees F) provided for excellent viewing of three planets and a bright star which formed an arc alignment in the east sky on the morning of Thursday, October 1, 2015. Location here was Progress Drive in Hiawatha, Iowa. The glittering celestial objects, suspended above the growing glow of dawn at 6:13 am CDT are, from bottom-to-top: Jupiter (-1.72 magnitude), Mars (1.77), Regulus (in Leo, 1.34), Venus (-4.52). Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


West Sky, Best Sky- At Least At This Moment

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The east sky on the evening of Sunday, September 27, 2015 featured a rising supermoon and later a total lunar eclipse, but the west sky was wowing viewers as well. All three of the images seen on this post were captured from the grounds at Echo Hill Presbyterian Church in Marion, Iowa. The above image shows Canada geese in flight in their characteristic "V" formation, heading west at 7:07 pm CDT.

This image captures the sunset with the church's silhouette in the foreground. 7:17 pm.

Seven minutes later crepuscular rays add to the beauty of the sunset. Actual sunset time was 6:55 pm. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


Super Moon, Super Eclipse

Monday, September 28, 2015

Most of the day on Sunday, September 27, 2015 was cloudy, with only intermittent breaks. But as luck would have it on the big supermoon/eclipse day in Eastern Iowa, the cloud cover dissipated just in time! The image above looks east toward a farmstead just west of Lyons Drive in Marion, Iowa at 7:04 pm CDT. The full moon was closest to earth on this day for all of 2015.

The above image is an eclipse sequence. Time for each separate image is from left: 7:53 pm,
8:09 pm, 8:22 pm, 8:30 pm, 8:35 pm, 8:41 pm, 8:51 pm, 9:47 pm.

This capture is a close-up of the eclipsed image at far right above. It is a 2 second exposure at f/13, 3200 ISO and 200mm focal length. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera. The "blood moon" gets its appearance because the sun's light leaks around the edge of the Earth and passes through its atmosphere during the eclipse. The moon was in the Earth's "umbra"shadow for one hour and 22 minutes, making it a true total lunar eclipse. The next supermoon eclipse won't occur until 2033!


Milky and Smoky

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A recent vacation which included east Tennessee produced these three images during a a clear night in the Chilhowee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, about 15 miles southeast of Knoxville. The two Milky Way images above, both shot around 9:19 pm EDT, are 20-second exposures at f/3.5, 2500 ISO and 18mm focal length. The house seen in the foreground was "light painted" with a flashlight for about a second or so. Both images look southwest.

This starry sky scene was captured nearby around 9:00 pm EDT, looks east, and is a 30-second exposure. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


Not So Super Supermoon

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Heavy cloud cover at moonrise in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area of Iowa (7:41 pm) completely prevented any observation or photo capture of the "supermoon" on the evening of Saturday, August 29, 2015. All hopes of a really fat, golden moon hanging on the horizon of a rolling farm field were then doomed. Even the possibility of catching it in "reverse" at moonset the next morning never happened as the land was shrouded in fog. The above image was all that was possible for me as the moon peeked in and out of cloud gaps high above the landscape at 8:53 pm CDT Saturday evening. The pic is a combined image with the clouds shot as a 1.3-second exposure at f/5.6, 1600 ISO and 200mm focal length, and the moon a 1/400-second exposure at f/8, 3200 ISO and 200mm focal length. Better luck next supermoon, which occurs here on September 27. A lunar eclipse occurs with this one, so we will have a "super-blood moon." Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


Wild Goose Chase?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tornado Watch 494 was issued for eastern Iowa and western Illinois by the SPC at 1:30 pm CDT on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. A report of a tornado was made from near Stanwood, Iowa, in northern Cedar County around 3:15 pm, just as I was arriving home in Cedar Rapids from work. At this time the severe weather was already well east and pushing farther east as I scrambled to catch it. Some 20 miles away, the storm suddenly weakened below severe levels. The Nikon D5000 DSLR camera image above shows a line of strong--but no longer severe--storms in western Jackson County as seen from state highway 64 in southeast Jones County at 4:24 pm CDT.

My attention was quickly given to a new severe storm warning emanating from my weather radio, this one in Scott County to the south (see above Radarscope image). Thoughts here were the opportunity to salvage the venture. I drove east to Maquoketa, then south on US Highway 61, in an apparent intercept path.

About 15 minutes later this storm too detensified below severe levels and the chase was done. Yes, but not without drama--just north of Eldridge, Iowa on Highway 61 around 5:15 pm, the heavens opened and unleashed a torrent of rain (Go Pro Hero video frame capture above). At one point I could barely see where I was driving and braced for that dreaded crash from behind. Luckily it never came. Many cars, as seen in the image above, pulled over to the side of the road, but this was only slightly safer, or maybe not AS safe? This image was captured when the rain had actually slightly let up. The chase produced nothing significant in the 170 miles driven. Photos weren't even that great because the gray and grayer sky lacked much contrast. Wet wild goose chase!


Two Bright Ones

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ya snooze ya lose. The early morning hours of Wednesday, August 12, 2015 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa provided crisp, clear, weather conditions for the Perseids meteor shower, one day ahead of its peak. And indeed I went outside for a look and witnessed several bright meteors in the short time I was out there. Weather forecasts for the following few days called for the same, so I opted to photograph the shower during its "official" peak the following night. As I staggered outside after 3:15 am on Thursday, August 13, a high veil of cirrus clouds covered all but the brightest stars. Momentary letups in the cloud cover allowed for two of the only three meteor streaks I saw to be captured by my camera. The farthest left meteor in the image above was shot at 3:59 am (and combined with the image containing the other meteor), photographed at 4:04 am. The meteor's point of origin--the radiant--emanated from the namesake constellation Perseus, located out of the picture above. At right is the constellation Auriga. Image looks northeast from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids. It is a 30-second exposure at f/3.5, 500 ISO and 18mm focal length. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP