Monday, February 16, 2009

The Planet Venus

At first glance this picture of Venus, taken in Pinehurst, doesn't look like anything to get excited about...except that this is about as good as Earth-based photos ever get because of the planet's heavy cloud cover. And this picture was not taken with my telescope but with my Nikon Coolpix at full optical zoom (about 270 mm).

When Venus is nearest to the Earth it always appears as a crescent, as shown. When it is fully illuminated it is always much farther away and appears much smaller.

This was four separate images, stacked and combined in the freeware program RegiStax.

-- Dalton Hammond