March 28, 2012
I just learnt yesterday that a ‘Conjunction’ is the term used for whenever two celestial bodies appear close to one another in the sky. It has been wonderful the past two nights to have clear skies and to see what is apparently a rare conjunction of Venus (the one nearest to the moon in the picture) and Jupiter (at the top).
Although they appear to be close to one another, they are of course mind-bogglingly (is that a word?) far apart. The moon is 238,000 miles (382,900 kilometers) from the Earth, at the moment Venus is about 67 million miles (108 million km) from the Earth and Jupiter is about 535 million miles (861 million km) away! (Source). Naturally these are tiny distances compared to measuring the distances between stars, but there is something special about our planetary neighbours.
Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and is similar in size to the Earth. It has a barren rocky surface and an atmosphere of carbon dioxide with clouds of Sulphuric acid! Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in our Solar System, over 120 times larger than the Earth!
Some words from Psalm 148 seem appropriate:
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
February 10, 2012
Last Sunday afternoon I abandoned the Rugby match at half-time, perhaps it was the ‘Call of the Wild’, or just the fact that I never know who to support when Green meets Red. With Camera and Tripod in the back of the car I headed down to Ring and Simon’s Cove, around the edge of Clonakilty Bay.
Photographers love light but there was not much light to love on Sunday afternoon. Typically, long exposures were required to get any usable pictures and even then they were dull, flat and grey. As I wandered around, clambering over rocks and dodging the slippery green patches, there would be brief moments when a gap in the clouds would let some light through – typically these abridged moments were gone again by the time I had readied the camera and tripod to take a picture. Eventually though, as I looked across the bay for the umpteenth time, a large fissure of light broke through the dark brooding sky and lit up the sea on the far side of the bay, near Duneen Point. I had my picture.
February 2, 2012
This was the view from the other side of our garden wall at 8 o’clock this morning. Now that we are officially in to Spring, it seems that Winter is reluctant to bid farewell just yet…
May 17, 2010
Nikon D70s, f4.2, 1/5 sec, ISO 200, 85mm
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
This was the view from the Rectory garden just after ten o’clock last night. Too large to be a star, my best guess is that it’s Venus (see here).
Photo notes (If you’re interested in the technical aspect of the picture): I set my camera on a tripod, placed on firm ground and put a timer delay so that there would be no vibration for the long exposure necessary. To my surprise I noticed however that even though there was no wind and I didn’t touch the camera during the exposure the picture is still slightly blurred. The only conclusion I can come to is that the slap of the viewfinder mirror caused it. Unfortunately my camera does not have mirror lock-up, which would have prevented this. Next time however I will take a much longer exposure and hold the lens cap over the lens for the first second so that the initial vibration is not recorded on the final picture.