Tag: "moon"

"Magnified" lunar eclipse? I don't think so

The BBC last week ran a story on Saturday's partial lunar eclipse. I have no objections to the BBC coverage lunar eclipses, but I do have problems with non-science writers covering them.

Just a bit of background, for viewers in Asia and the Americas this lunar eclipse would have appeared while the Moon was near the horizon. The Moon is bigger near the horizon right? Kinda.

The article of the title was "Lunar eclipse 'magnified' in US". A pathetic attempt at trying to make it seem more interesting. The article went on to say:

A partial lunar eclipse taking place on 26 June will appear magnified in the US by an effect known as the "moon illusion". [...] According to Nasa, low-hanging Moons look "unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects". The reason for this is not understood.

NASA huh, well you could have just asked your local amateur astronomer and got an answer. The reason for the effect is NOT unknown.

The Moon, or the Sun for that matter (please don't look directly at the Sun), do look larger when they're near the horizon compared to high in the sky. However you can take a simple measurement to show they're the same size regardless of where they are in the sky, about half a degree across.

The effect is an optical illusion created by our brains. Our brains use other objects to estimate the size of things. Trees and houses, things you'd see on the horizon are pretty big. The Moon looks like it's close to them and about the same size or bigger, so hmmm the Moon must be big too. When the Moon is off by itself high up in the sky we have nothing else to compare it to.

Effect not unknown.

What was that bright star next to the Moon?

Last night some of you may have seen a bright star close to the Moon, well it wasn't a star it was the planet Jupiter. It's been hanging out towards the south in the evenings for the summer if you hadn't already spotted it.

Close encounter between the Moon and Jupiter

The star to the lower-left of Jupiter is Iota Capricorni. But if you look closely you can see two other "stars" either side of Jupiter. They're not actually stars but two of Jupiter's moons. To the left is Ganymede and to the right is Callisto. The above image has over-exposed the Moon to show the tree around it. The somewhat green flare opposite the Moon in the image is the reflection of the Moon caused by the camera's optics.

Below is a close up of Jupiter.

In this image we can see a third Moon, just poking out around the left limb of Jupiter, this is Io. There's another large Moon that is normally visible and that's Europa, but yesterday evening when these images were taken it was on the far side of Jupiter.

Company to create advertisements on the Moon? No thanks

Disgusting, absolutely disgusting. Not happy with ruining the Earth, the advertising industry now looks to expand into space.

A new company is looking to sell advertising on the Moon, by using robots to carve out patterns in the lunar regolith. Bidding starts at $46,000.

Their website claims "twelve billion eyeballs looking at your logo in the sky for several days every month for the next several thousand years".

Well for starters it's a little grim they expect humanity to only be around for several thousand years. In reality the vandalism they would commit upon the Moon would be there for billions of years.

The next obvious problem is rights. No nation, company or individual can own the Moon, let alone have the right to vandalise it for billions of years.

Frankly, I think the people behind this little project should be sent packing, and hopefully nobody is dumb enough to bid on their malicious little project.

Venus and the Moon

The forecast was predicting heavy cloud cover after dark yesterday, but in the afternoon we had a clear spell. I used this opportunity to capture Venus and the Moon before the occultation. The following was taken at 15:34 UTC, a few minutes before the Moon moved in front of Venus.

As predicted the cloud covered the rest of the occulation.

Japanese space agency and HD marketing

Absolutely pathetic, ever since the Japanese space agency released the footage from their lunar orbiter I've heard the "HD" thing far too many times, it popped up again in more of my RSS feeds today, this time on more mainstream websites, which was the last straw, so it is time to rant.

The sole reason it seems to me for them to use this term is to get this mentioned on technology websites, and as such is nothing but marketing nonsense.

Let's actually look at the materials that have been made public. We've got some video footage on their website that is a pitiful 480x270 resolution, almost a quarter that of standard definition.

Unfortunately this really bothered me, I was expecting to find some gorgeous video from the spacecraft in orbit around the Moon in 1920x1080 and what I find is a disappointing 480x270 video. With the confusion surrounding HD in the general public at the moment we don't need the Japanese space agency adding to it, coughing up the term HD with such low-resolution video.

Why use the term HDTV in your press release if you're not actually including any 1920x1080 material on your website for people to download? I refuse to count the few still photos that are 1920x1080 they've released, no offence but your typical consumer camera can capture resolutions four times higher than that. The Apollo missions carried still cameras that used 70mm film, theoretically providing much higher resolution than 1920x1080.

Come on, just do the science and stop sounding like Ken Kutargi. You don't see ESA and NASA firing out press releases about images eight times the resolution of HD just because they released a new picture, why? Because those details are irrelevent.

Come on release the 1920x1080 video footage!

Close encounter between Saturn and the Moon

Yesterday evening I managed to snap Saturn and the Moon at an extremely close encounter, I would of got out earlier and taken some photos of them even closer, but I was busy trying to retrofit my Canon T-ring, with the thread from my Pentax T-ring, which was successful so I have pretty decent focus now when using my 350D at prime focus on my 6 inch TAL 2M reflector, it did delay me by about half an hour though.

Saturn and the Moon

There's a high resolution version on the gallery. I've still got a few more images of this too, so I may publish them at a later date, I'm thinking of merging two images together to get a better exposure on the Moon.

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