Sunday, March 20, 2011
A nearly full perigee moon rises in the east just above Noelridge Christian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa just after 8:00 PM on Friday, March 18, 2011. This was one day before the celebrated "supermoon" event witnessed by Earth observers. The perigee (closest position in an elliptical orbit) full moon--occurring at 2:00 PM CDT on Saturday, March 19--appeared 14 percent larger and about 40 percent brighter than an apogee (opposite of perigee) full moon, and has not been viewed this big since March, 1993. This image is a composite photo. The moon was shot separately with a 1/2000 second exposure at f/7.1, 640 ISO and a 200mm focal length on auto focus. The main portion of the image was a 2.5 second exposure at f/7.1, 640 ISO and a 18mm focal length on manual focus. Skies were mainly cloudy in Cedar Rapids at the time of "super" moonrise on Saturday.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The planets Mercury (top speck of light) and Jupiter set in the western sky around 8:10 PM, Friday, March 18, 2011--just under an hour after the sun had set. Since Mercury never strays far from the sun in our skies it is somewhat unusual that it claims a higher point in the sky than a companion planet--in this case Jupiter. Mercury will achieve its greatest eastern elongation (farthest evening visual separation from the sun) on Tuesday, March 22. This view looks over a housing development just west of the grounds at Noelridge Christian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The speck of light just below Jupiter, resembling a planet itself, is actually a water tower beacon from the neighboring city of Hiawatha. The image was captured using a two-second exposure at f/7.1, 640 ISO and a focal length of 75mm.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The planets Jupiter (left) and Mercury appear close together in the western sky around 8:00 PM, Monday, March 14, 2011 as seen from just outside the grounds of Christ Community United Methodist Church in Marion, Iowa. Jupiter and Mercury would have been viewed even closer--at just two degrees from one another--on the evening of Wednesday, March 16, but cloud cover low on the western horizon precluded it. The city lights laid out below the celestial event in this image belong to the neighboring city of Cedar Rapids. The photo was captured with a shutter speed of 1/4 second at f/4.5, a focal length of 100mm and an ISO rating of 500. Mercury will be at its greatest eastern elongation (evening visual separation from the sun) on March 22, but Jupiter drops into the glare of the sun.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This fast moving jet plane and its accompanying contrail appears to be falling to Earth, but in reality the aircraft was traveling on a level westerly course high above the camera. The contrail is illuminated by the sun which had set about ten minutes earlier. The image was shot around 7:20 PM, Monday, March 14, 2011 in Marion, Iowa and was created with a shutter speed of 1/100 second, 400 ISO, 60mm focal length and an aperture of f/5.
Monday, March 14, 2011
A small flock of six Canada geese are captured by my camera as they fly northward just right of a spectacular setting sun around 7:05 PM, Monday, March 14, 2011. This image was shot just west of the grounds at Christ Community United Methodist Church in Marion, Iowa and looks toward the neighboring city of Cedar Rapids. The official sunset time on this day--following the resumption of Daylight Savings Time the previous day--was 7:11 PM.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Large flakes of snow borne on wind gusts of over 20 mph are illuminated by a light post on the playground area of Bowman Woods Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa around 10:25 PM, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. With temperatures hovering around 33 degrees F, the precipitation this night was often a mixture of rain and snow. Winds were out of the northeast, carrying the snow right to left in this image. This photo was captured with a shutter speed of 1/13 second and an ISO rating of 1600.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The silhouettes of two trees frame the constellation Orion around 8:50 PM, March 2, 2011. This view, from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, looks southwest. The -1.47 magnitude star at left, partially diffused by a drifting contrail, is Sirius in the constellation Canis Major. Sirius is the brightest star in our skies and one of the closest--only 8.6 light years from Earth. At upper right is the constellation Taurus, dominated by its brightest star (top left part of the "V" shape), the 0.84 magnitude Aldebaran. This image was created with a 16-second exposure at f/3.5, an ISO rating of 320 and a focal length of 18mm.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The annual Quad Cities National Weather Service severe weather spotter training seminar for Linn County in Iowa was held at the St. Mark's Faith and Life Center in Marion Saturday afternoon, March 5, 2011. Leading the visual/discussion session was Warning Coordination Meteorologist Donna Dubberke (standing at center background). An audience of about 250 people, including fire fighters, law enforcement personnel, amateur radio operators and the general public were in attendance. Those who volunteer as spotters are part of the NWS-sponsored program known as SKYWARN, the eyes and ears of both the warning forecasters and the local public safety networks. This year's training session of just under two hours put emphasis on accurate identification of wall clouds and rotation.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
A low flying aircraft, probably a helicopter, moves slowly left to right in the eastern sky around 9:00 PM, Wednesday, March 2, 2011. A closer inspection of the streak, created from a 20-second exposure at f/5, shows the bright individual red and green flashes. The aircraft had a companion, which had already moved out of the frame at right. Above the aircraft streak is a faint contrail, and at right center are a portion of stars in the constellation Leo. This image was shot from Brentwood Drive NE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thanks to a nearly clear sky around 8:45 PM, Wednesday, March 2, 2011, the star cluster Pleiades ("The Seven Sisters," left center) shown brightly in the WSW sky. Other prominent constellations shown in this picture is Taurus ("V"-shape, upper left), sporting its bright 0.84 magnitude star Aldebaran; and Perseus above the tree at right. The hot blur star cluster Pleiades, which actually contains hundreds of stars, resides about 425 light years from Earth. The seven most observable stars range in apparent magnitude from 2.84 to 5.43. This image was captured at Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was a 46-second exposure shot at f/3.5 with an ISO rating of 320.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A large bank of altocumulus undulatus clouds, illuminated by the rising sun, dominate the northeast sky as seen from Brentwood Drive NE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa just after 7:00 AM, Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The presence of this type of cloud, which occurs from a height of 6,500-16,500 feet, may herald the imminent arrival of an approaching front, and indeed light rain and drizzle arrived on Thursday night. Altocumulus indulatus is caused by a lifting of a large air mass followed by condensation combined with instability and wind shear at cloud level (the reason for the striking "undulating" patterns). Air temperature at this moment was around 25 degrees F.