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Old 03-15-2012, 10:47 AM   #256
agentgonzo
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Originally Posted by NovaSilisko View Post
 Webcam + small telescope = terrible photo of Saturn:

{image}
This photo is massively overexposed. If you have controls on your camera to modify the exposure .simplest ones have an 'EV' setting (meaning Exposure Value). Whack this down to as many minuses as you can and it'll take a shorter exposure and hopefully show you more detail of Saturn rather than an overexposed white smudge.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:56 AM   #257
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After some investigation I have determined the object I was looking at was actually Venus.

Also, I should open my window before attempting to use a telescope through it
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:59 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by NovaSilisko View Post
 After some investigation I have determined the object I was looking at was actually Venus.

Also, I should open my window before attempting to use a telescope through it
Venus typically is the brightest of the planets that shine out there. Being that it's closest to us of all the others. And also that the atmosphere is highly reflective.
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:09 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by NovaSilisko View Post
 After some investigation I have determined the object I was looking at was actually Venus.

Also, I should open my window before attempting to use a telescope through it
I'd recommend Stellarium if you really want to know what you're looking at.
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:17 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by Codz View Post
 I'd recommend Stellarium if you really want to know what you're looking at.
Well, once I got it focused, it was a waning crescent. Unless the moon is very tiny now, I'm pretty sure it's venus
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:26 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by NovaSilisko View Post
 Well, once I got it focused, it was a waning crescent. Unless the moon is very tiny now, I'm pretty sure it's venus
You'll know it's Venus if it is out to the west near Jupiter. Saturn isn't out until well after they set. Mars is currently fairly high to the east though.
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:28 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by Codz View Post
 You'll know it's Venus if it is out to the west near Jupiter. Saturn isn't out until well after they set. Mars is currently fairly high to the east though.
Yeah, Jupiter was right next to it. I could faintly make out the stripes, as well as two moons.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:35 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by NovaSilisko View Post
 More effort than my method of "hold camera in left hand, press button on laptop five feet away to take picture"? That seems unlikely
What? Just because you can't do it, it means nobody else can?
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:58 AM   #264
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 What? Just because you can't do it, it means nobody else can?
I don't know how you got that meaning from what I said, or even took offense...
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Old 03-17-2012, 02:43 PM   #265
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Allright kids, stop bickering...........
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:08 PM   #266
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I got my first picture of Saturn last night. It certainly doesn't do it justice considering I took it with a friend's Ipod camera...
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #267
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Vanguard 1, the oldest satellite still in orbit (hail probe!):
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:59 PM   #268
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Nice video,
but are you sure you've seen Vanguard 1 and not e.g. its spend upper stage?
I am wondering because, why should a (almost) sherical shaped sat vary that much in luminosity...

/Kuddel
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:43 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by kuddel View Post
 Nice video,
but are you sure you've seen Vanguard 1 and not e.g. its spend upper stage?
I am wondering because, why should a (almost) sherical shaped sat vary that much in luminosity...

/Kuddel
I'm very sure. For one thing, after all the decades that have passed since it was launched, its upper stage's orbit has drifted quite a bit from the actual satellite. In fact, as I check heavens-above right now, they're nowhere near each other:
http://heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?...d&alt=0&tz=CET
http://heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?...d&alt=0&tz=CET
The telescope is looking at Vanguard with a fairly high level of magnification compared to your eyes or binoculars as well, so it's very specific at what it's pointing at and tracking. This was tracked using Vanguard 1's orbital data and it was the only satellite there. It's a fair question though, intuitively it makes sense that the rocket booster could be a confounding factor, but in this case the booster is nowhere near the satellite nor do they share the same orbit (different right ascension of ascending node, etc).

Even had the booster passed through the field of view, which would be extraordinarily rare, it wouldn't have stayed there the whole time I tracked it, it would have passed through quickly since this is a very tight field of view.

As to why it changes in brightness like that, it is roughly spherical, but it is spinning (now much slower than at launch thanks to magnetic torque), and it is not even in albedo throughout. Its solar cells are actually quite dark and it also has a tube-like separation mechanism that may not reflect light that well when its pointed at you depending on the angle to the sun. Basically I think the solar cells have the most to do with it though. Notice the bright reflection of the sun in this image of Vanguard 1:
http://www.calchautauqua.net/ChautIm...nguard%201.jpg
Now imagine the angle were such that that dark solar cell were at the spot where the sun is reflecting... you wouldn't see the satellite nearly as brightly (and even when you do spot it, it's very dim).
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Old 03-23-2012, 03:44 PM   #270
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Thanks for the detailed explanation Messierhunter!
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