Mars and The Full Moon, Friday 29/01/2010


Champion Elect
Calling all you armchair amateur astronomers. Tomorrow night is what you've all been waiting for.
Yes, that's right! Mars and The Full Moon in the sky, together, shining brightly, as the sun is in opposite whatsit, line up thingy. Opposition! That's it... Mars is in "opposition". :)

It can be seen with the human eye with only the aid of a standard SLR camera, as long as it's fitted with a telephoto lens. In fact, you could even take pictures of the event! :yes:

At only 62 million miles from Earth, Mars will be at its brightest this year and at around 9pm it will be above and to the left of The Moon - "about the length of an outstretched fist away". Who's outstretched fist would that be then? :dunno:

So, for your chance to see The Full Moon appear in the night sky, co-celestial bodying with Mars, get out at around 9pm with your SLR! Don't forget to post your photos on this thread for us to see.*

The Guardian has an article about this fantastic opportunity here >>Mars and full moon to pair up for celestial spectacle<<

*If you can post them, I'd be very grateful, as I don't have a SLR camera!
Bugger! I don't have my old SLR and 800mm zoom lens anymore :(

I did use it for the total solar eclipse in 2000 though and got some amazing pictures.
I was in Turkey at the time and spent 8 hours on a bus travelling to a place called Zonguldak just so I could get the best pictures possible.
It was a long and tiring journey but well worth it. Amazing experience when it went dark for 2-3 minutes and the birds stopped singing, etc.

Thanks for the heads up McZ :thumbsup:
Shame you don't have your SLR any more. I may have to try my best with my little instant camera...
Also have to hope for a clear night sky. We're not exactly renowned for clear skies in the UK, are we?! Although, according to the BBC weather website, tomorrow night in Bristol is supposed to be clear...
I do have an SLR, and in the middle of nowhere the sky is dark, but I think we may be cloudy - I might see if I can give it a go depending on the level of comical abuse I get from the other half...
Well, that was ever so slightly disappointing!

Seen through a human eye, without SLR assistance, the Moon was very bright and there was a shiny star next to it! Ace!

I did, however, take a couple of photos with my Nikon Coolpix L3, 3x zoom, 5.1 megapixel camera. As you can imagine, they're not very good...

I've posted the "best" of the pics I managed to take. If you look very, very closely (to zoom in, if you will), you'll notice a slightly shaky image of Mars! I think... :unsure:

I think Clip_the_Apex's only hope now rests with Geoff. Cloud cover and comical abuse allowing...


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This was the best I could manage hand held - the wiggly line one the left is Mars :D


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I'm afraid my attempts look like a light on a black sheet - could be any light..... Really need to learn how to use my camera when I switch auto off!
A few tips for those trying to capture shots of the moon, stars, etc.

As the amount of light being given off is so low, you need quite a long exposure and/or large aperture.
A result of having a long exposure though is two things:

1. Any brighter objects will appear over exposed (e.g. the moon).
2. Without a tripod/support the image will be blurred.

If you want to practice taking some simple shots of stars and don't have a tripod, use a bunched up jumper or something similar to bed the camera on.
Either use the auto function or set the aperture and expsoure manually - you will need to practice to get the settings right as they both affect each other; the larger the aperture (F2.8 is larger than F3.5), the less the exposure time and vice versa.
Ensure you use a delay timer or remote control to trip the shutter. Placing the camera on a tripod or stable surface is no good if you press the button manually as you will introduce camera shake.
Sad thing is, I used a tripod, manual focus, step exposure - problem is I forgot how to do fuill manual, it was dark and -2, so even with a tripod I was shaking too much.

I love photography, I'm just rubbish at it
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