Interview on Extrasolar Planet

January 9, 2011

This is so last year, but I want to post this for the interest of general education. The reason I am posting it this late is because I forgot, but now that I remembered, here it is. The reason I am posting this is that in astronomy, the search for extrasolar planet is more relevant than ever. Better and better technologies like the Kepler space telescope are being used to probe the vast expanses of our galaxy in search of habitable planets. The e-mail interview below is one I did for my English research report for college, but I believe you may find it of benefit too. The topic is on the method of searching extrasolar planets and some of the discoveries astronomers have made. The one being interviewed is Christine Pulliam, public affairs specialist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, to whom I am very thankful for spending some of her probably precious time answering my request and allowing me to post this. I hope you enjoy it: Read the rest of this entry »

A Happy New Years Eclipse

January 5, 2011

Wow, already the year is 2011, huh? For the first post of the year, I thought I could show you some of the pictures I took for the winter solstice lunar eclipse. It isn’t great, considering I had no telescope or tripod for my camera, but it will at least show you a general idea of what it looks like. Note, there has been a few photo manipulation just for clarity, although the difference is minimal at best, considering how small the moon looks in the pictures. Also, I used various settings in my camera, so if you wonder why two pictures similar pictures look kind of different, that is why:

The shadow of the Earth just started covering the moon.

Once the shadow is over halfway covering the moon, the moon begins turning red due to Earth’s atmosphere, which scatters the light reflected from the moon. Notice how I paid the price of not having a tripod in the middle of the three pictures above, since I had to lie on the ground perfectly still. Of course, my arms were shaking, so the moon looks like it is above the images of multiple moons.

The above two pics happened right when totality was about to happen. They are also, personally, my best pictures. Look how you can see the dark maria of the moon more clearly. Also notice that the darker part is where the moon is farther in the Earth’s shadow.

This is during totality. This is the one in which I did the most alteration with. You see, while our eyes may be able to see the moon very well, even during totality, my camera can’t. The moon is too dark, so seeing the picture kinda sucked. If I had a tripod, I could have done exposures or something. Oh woe is me without a tripod! 🙂