Mercury crossing sun - May 2016

Today was a very special day for star-gazers and astronomers. For about 7 hours planet Mercury crossed the sun which is a quite seldom event. At 11:12 UTC Mercury started to show up in front of the sun and left again at 18:42 UTC. The little planet will not transit again until 2019 and then again 2032. More information can of course be found on wikipedia.

One of the images made it into "My Top Astro-Pics Gallery" and is also available in full resolution.

For me it was great to see this with my own eyes and again getting an idea of how huge the sun is compared to all the planets. On the pictures untrained eyes have to look twice to recognize little Mercury. Simply fantastic!

Astrocups - The perfect Christmas present for Astro-Fans!

Happy Christmas to everyone! Well, if you are still looking for an astronomy related Christmas present you are probably a little late this year 😀 But maybe you just found something for next year... Using some of my best images I composed some fancy "astrocups". Next time you prepare for your star-gazing event you should have one of these with you! To produce the cups I used the service of http://www.luebeckgeschenke.de/ (more exactly here). The images are designed for the "standard cup (white)" and the "black cup" with a dimension of 1496 × 630 pixels, 200x200 ppi. Here are the three best ones so far:
1. The "Black Hole Cup"
This cup symbolizes a black hole just like the center of M51 - the Whirlpool Galaxy which is printed on the cup. This image is the outcome of a long night in May 2015. Personally I think this cup is best suited for black coffee...Download

2. The "Good night Cup"
The "Good night cup" has images of Jupiter, Saturn, our moon and the sun. The photo of the sun has been taken during the partial solar eclipse in March 2015. The moon is a small version of the moon mosaic recorded in July 2015. Download


3. The "Star-gazer Cup"
Finally, the Star-gazer cup reminds me on the time I spent on La Palma. The cup is white since the sky is already dark enough there...
Download

Clear skies!

Last updated: December 26, 2015 at 11:06 am

Partial solar eclipse in Germany 2015

warning Never look into the sun without appropriate sun filters!

For 20th March 2015 a partial solar eclipse was predicted for central Europe. For me currently situated close to Stuttgart a maximum coverage of about 68% was calculated. This should have been my first solar eclipse under clear sky since I own my telescope! When the weather forecast predicted clear sky for Friday morning I almost couldn't believe it. It felt a little like being a kid right before Christmas 🙂

Two hours before the party was about to start I already set up all the equipment on our terrace. I think it was a good idea to not drink a coffee this morning since I was already pretty nervous 😀 beside seeing the moon moving in front of the sun with my own eyes I also wanted to take some pictures with my Fujifilm X-T1 camera. For this reason I ordered a telescope adapter for my camera some time ago (see this post).

After doing several tests with the equipment I was satisfied and just waiting for the big moment 🙂 Continue reading →