Cloudy Skies, Everyone!

Hey, everyone. They try, the clouds do. Sometimes they win, I admit it, and the sky is disappointing, thick, flat, and gray. Then, though, there are times when I can beat them at their own game.

I love this photo:

The west in a 15-second exposure, April 2, 2017
The west in a 15-second exposure, April 2, 2017

I teamed up with my little Canon PowerShot Elph 160 (not an ad; people have asked. I have the best people).

What we have here is a fifteen 15-second slice of April 2’s 11:00 P.M. hour in the western sky at ISO 1600 and f/3.2 . Whatever it is, I love using this, and other cameras, to turn night to day.

In the middle there is the moon. Directly above are the gemini, Castor and Pollux. Canis Minor, in particular, Procyon is midway up to the left, and Auriga’s Capella is the bright one near the upper-left corner.

You’re right! This means we’re sort of looking at the eastern half of the Winter Circle. Since it’s spring now, the whole thing is turning downward toward the horizon by nightfall. Night by night, as April erodes it away, it’ll be reduced to just the Winter/Spring Arc  pretty soon before it heads off for the summer.

Just to the upper right of the moon is the always subtle and under-appreciated Alhena (Pollux’s right foot). You can also see the aging blue star Elnath, the second brightest in Taurus. For a long time it was also considered to be part of Auriga. It’s right above the tip of the tree to the left of the rooftop.

You may have been foiling me all winter, sky, but I got your number this time!

By the way, I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but I’m no better at self-promotion than I am at writing about astronomy. I’ve had the pleasure of doing a monthly column for a local paper called the Examiner for the last couple of months. It’s real “sky tonight” kind of stuff, but it’s fun and seems to be fairly well-received. If you can’t get enough of what you’re seeing here, have a look there, too. They haven’t put together putting my column on the main web page yet, but they will. For now, you can grab the PDF from The Examimer’s archives. My column is in the last issue of the month. March 28’s is on page 29 of this PDF.

Clear, or, if applicable, cloudy skies, everyone!

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