Happy Birthday Copernicus

  Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland on February 19, 1473. From the ancient Greeks, everyone in Europe believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe. The great work of Copernicus De revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), published in 1543, showed that the sun was at the center. You can see evidence of this yourself with binoculars or a small telescope. Both…

February 19, 2017

Sunset at the Roque de Los Muchachos

Gran Telescopio Canarias at sunset, Roque de Los Muchachos observatory
April 29, 2015

  The Roque de Los Muchachos is a spectacular place to watch the sunset. For one thing, you’re usually above the clouds (which is one reason the observatory is there.) In fact, sometimes the clouds are so much lower than the Roque that the sun sets well below you. This means that your shadow on a wall is taller than you, and the shadows of your legs go on forever….


The moon, Jupiter and Venus

Jupiter, the moon and Venus photographed from La Venta viewpoint, La Palma
July 15, 2012

  This morning, the moon, Jupiter and Venus lay close together in the east. This photo was taken with a compact camera from Llano de La Venta viewpoint, one of the astronomical viewpoints on La Palma.


The Moon and Venus

  I’m glad I woke up early today. These were taken from my balcony in Breña Baja at 6:30 am. For the top one I used a compact camera (Canan SX220) and tripod. For the bottom one, a Pentax DSLR (K 10D) and tripod. On La Palma, you can get results like this with very modest equipment and skill.

June 17, 2012

The Hubble and Venus silhouetted against the sun.

  Thierry Legault is a Frenchman who travelled to Queensland, Australia for the Venus transit. He captured both Venus and the Hubble Space Telescope as they passed in front of the sun. This is a composite photograph – 9 exposures taken in under a second, during which the HST zipped in front of the sun. I’m not going to steal his photo. You can see it at: http://legault.perso.sfr.fr/venus_hst_transit.html I’m jealous.

June 9, 2012

NASA video of the Venus transit

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this video in ultraviolet ( a wavelength of 171 angstroms.) It shows Venus passing in front of the sun, and also very large coronal loops, which are found around sunspots and in active regions. These structures are associated with the closed magnetic field lines that connect magnetic regions on the solar surface. Many coronal loops last for days or weeks but most change quite rapidly….

June 6, 2012