Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks to plenty of help from my father-in-law I now have a deck in front of the workshop at the end of the garden. I needed this in order to get a flat level base for the Skywatcher, so hopefully soon I'll be getting the big scope out of mothballs and get back to some serious observing.

A wooden deck is not the best of platforms for scopes, especially for photography but seemed like a quick way to achieve my objective, as well as a bargain batch of deck boards due to the out of season nature of the product. Later a concrete base will provide a more stable base.

The last couple of weeks have seen some spectacular early evening scenes just after sunset as Venus and Jupiter beam brightly back at us.

Interestingly Jupiter is outshone by Venus despite being almost 12 times the diameter but of course is 15 times further away from us than Venus.

This optical illusion is known in Astronomy as angular size, that is, how size and distance are related. Thus an object many times larger than another can appear to be smaller because of its greater distance.

We come across this effect every day, and it explains why the garden bird sitting on my window cill appears to be much larger than the power station on the horizon 12 miles away!

Clouds have rolled in again!


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