Last night I had a perfect view of the conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, but only a phone. Tonight I had a more obstructed view, but I think the power lines ended up making it a bit more interesting than a plain photo with this camera would have been.
It’s also astonishing how quickly Mercury moves. No wonder they named it after the god of speed.
I’m a bit late to the Shakespeare love floating around online today, but I did track down a few pictures from a 1999 trip to London. I had a few days at the end of a tour to wander around, and having just graduated with a drama degree, I had to visit the reconstructed Globe Theatre. I mean, seriously: Shakespeare.
I also stopped by the Criterion Theatre, where the RSC was presenting — no, the other RSC: The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).
One of these days I’ll track down the negatives and get a better scan.
Yesterday I looked at the moon and Jupiter and thought, there’s going to be another conjunction tomorrow, isn’t there? Then I forgot, but fortunately I had to make a grocery run and looked up.
For this second shot, I zoomed out and let it overexpose the moon so I could get the bright star Aldebaran in the photo as well. It was a bit easier than the really good one in January, because the crescent moon isn’t as bright (less area shining at us), so it didn’t overwhelm the stars and planet quite so thoroughly.
As I post this, it’s been about half an hour, so if you’re in the western half of North America and the sky is clear, you can walk outside RIGHT NOW and see this!
After a failed attempt yesterday, I was even more determined to try to spot comet Pan-STARRS tonight when it would appear near the moon. Naturally, the morning was fogged in, and the fog bank remained on the western horizon all day. I looked on Google Earth for a nearby hill with a western view and public access, and I found Fred Hesse, Jr. Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.
I arrived just minutes before sunset, and found thirty or so people lined up along the western edge of the hill with telescopes, binoculars, and cameras on tripods. It reminded me a lot of the eclipse I watched last May (also in Palos Verdes, though at a different park).
Hesse Park has a clear view to the west and southwest, with open space below, then houses, then the tops of the clouds. (I’m not sure what’s usually visible below the cloud layer). Off to the southwest you can see the northwestern section of Catalina Island. To the north you can see Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains. Way off to the northwest you can see some of the channel islands.
Moon and Jupiter Conjunction: Two Views, originally uploaded by Kelson.
I walked out to get the laundry tonight, looked up and saw the moon and Jupiter practically next to each other. I took a quick shot with the phone, then went back in to get a better camera. (Unfortunately, the best camera I have is in the shop right now.) The phone picture is at upper left, the camera picture at lower right.
Nothing makes you appreciate how bright the moon really is like trying to avoid overexposing it without making the second brightest planet disappear.
Last month I had the good fortune to watch Endeavour’s landing at LAX from the office building where I work. Today I had the opportunity to see the space shuttle up close while it stopped at a parking lot in Westchester.
When I got to work this morning, the shuttle had already left the airport hangar where it had spent the last month, and was sitting in a parking lot a mile or so away. I didn’t have time to go look at it, but I did have time to climb up to the top of the parking structure and look for it.
The first thing I spotted was the distinctive tail, and I walked along the top floor until I could see as much of the shuttle as possible. It looked out of place surrounded by trees and a Staples sign, though I couldn’t help thinking, “Space shuttle? Yeah, we’ve got that.” I took a few zoomed pictures with my camera, then one really grainy with my phone for the “now” impact, then headed into the office. Continue reading
I caught this view of the clouds lit up by the setting sun out of the corner of my eye on the way home tonight, and decided that I had to turn around and find someplace with a relatively unobstructed view. The beach would have been perfect, but also would have taken too long. In a pinch, I picked the top of a hill along an east-west street.
At first I was reminded of a dragon, but as I watched it, I started thinking it looked like a bird. I was going to call it “Sunset Phoenix” until I realized it would sound like a sunset in Phoenix, Arizona. Neat, I suppose…but not as intriguing as a fire dragon.
Posted in Photos
Tagged clouds, sky, sunset
Update: If you’re looking for photos from Endeavour’s trip through the LA streets in October, I’ve got those too.
And that’s it. The final flight of the space shuttle has come to an end.
The last shuttle landing I saw was Discovery in 1988. My family went out to Edwards Air Force Base to watch it land. I posted a photo essay on the event last summer when the shuttle flights stopped.
The 1988 landing was a normal Shuttle landing. It landed under its own power, from orbit, and it was all business. We civilians camped out all night on a dry lake bed, kept outside a fence so far away from the landing strip we could barely see the shuttle without binoculars.
This time it was being carried by an airplane, from another airport. Safety wasn’t any more of an issue than a normal flight, so they landed at a regular airport. (Though it was escorted by military aircraft.) And since it was the last-ever shuttle flight, there was a bit of showmanship to the flight plan: Continue reading
Remember about a year ago when people were all freaked out about a supposed missile launch off the coast of Los Angeles, even though there was no sign of it on radar and no one claimed responsibility? Remember how it turned out to just be an airplane contrail seen head-on so that it looked vertical? (Actually, I’d bet you probably didn’t hear that part, did you?)
I was reminded of that when I saw this one today. Off the coast of Los Angeles again…pretty close to the airport.
In 1984, the Olympic torch relay for the Los Angeles games ran down my street in Tustin, California. My family all went out to watch it, and at the age of 8 I took this photo with a Kodak Instamatic. It was the first time I successfully tracked the movement of a subject.