2016

Supermoon 2016

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So it was time to head out of the apartment and head for my spot to take a nice shot of the supermoon. I sneaked out as quietly as I could and try to avoid waking up my wife and our baby sleeping still heavily. I left around 4:30 AM and started driving towards the TRACON area (TRACON is responsible for air traffic control for the whole West of US). Once I arrived I turned in their parking lot, but a security guard approached me letting me know I wasn’t allowed to park there but they were kind enough to advice me to park across the street. I thanked them and also asked them if they knew about the supermoon showing up this morning and their response was “Yeah! We’ve been watching it all night”. I left shortly after our short conversation looking at the security guards gazing high up in the night sky all in awe about the brightens of this beautiful full moon.

I couldn’t center the statue I had in mind (a statue of army pilots pointing towards the sky. I thought it would have been awesome to put the moon at their finger tips but that plan and angle didn’t work all too well because of the tree line in the way) and so I changed quickly plans and had the Californian state flag and US flag poles centered in the middle. Fortunately from that angle the trees weren’t in my way.

And here we go, supermoon in all its glory

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For you who have missed this event, there’s one more chance the 13th of December. I’ll be back about it and might make a new try again for my perfect shot.

Mercury’s Greatest Transit

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Mercury-Transit

I’m soon about to move in with Melissa and start our lives together in Sacramento, CA. On my last visit to the states, I left all of my DSLR cameras at her place. I realized since I don’t have any cameras left in Sweden, I had to use my Celestron NexImage webcamera, but of course it’s not compatible with Windows 10! After spending almost an entire morning trying to install Windows XP Home edition through Hyper V Manager and also trying to install all the old Windows XP drivers from the Celestron’s CD I finally succeeded to get the webcamera functioning.

Mercury-Transit2

My idea was to broadcast live stream and share that with others, but I found myself abandoning that idea quite soon due to connectivity issues and also due to the camera not being setup properly.

Selfie

To my disappointment, I was running out of time and had to cancel my effort in trying to bring the webcam alive. The event would start at 1:15 PM local hour so instead I captured the event through the afocal-projection method by pointing my Windows cell phone (a Nokia Lumia 1020) against the ocular and to my surprise the phone captured a semi-good photo and a video of the event!

The next visible Mercury transit will occur in 2019 but will not be as spectacular as this one (so called a great transit). The next great transit will be again the 9th of Noveber in 2052. By the time I’ll be 73 years old and hopefully will be able to see it again!
(See facts about Mercury’s periodic transits). Some more facts in Swedish here

Another interesting fact about Mercury as a planet is its orbit around our sun. Not before Einstein came around with his general theory of relativity, could we explain the eccentricity of Mercury’s orbit due to the large bending of space-time fabric around the planet. Before that, Newtonian physics could explain halfway all the visible observations, which annoyed the scientists. Once again, Einstein could nail the answers to this odd behavior of the planet.

Here’s a Youtube video of the event as well, expand the video to full screen in order to see the round dot on the right side of the solar disc. Mercury is a tiny planet and covers a mere 1/158 of the sun’s diameter. Enjoy watching!