Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Solar System Bests!

Every year since 2008 I have assembled my own images in a mashup format.  Inspired by +Mike Salway  ( I have tried to pick the best images I took of planets during the calendar year.  A couple of years ago I got into comets and asteroids and have been trying to contribute to the Minor Planet Center's research (  My previous best of's are all here:

This year found a drop off in imaging from 71 nights in 2014 to 33 in 2015.  While I have a growing addiction to my favorite video game +Destiny the Game I also know that this year was the rainiest and cloudiest I've seen since moving to North Carolina in 2003.  Last year was probably busier because of the Mars opposition. This year the slack of one less planet would have been taken up with additional Deep Sky work, but those partly cloudy nights just weren't worth the effort.  Perhaps with Mars a partly cloudy night may have been worth a peek through some thin clouds but not faint fuzzies.  For those wondering I keep my astro logs in a great open source program called Observation Manager

Ok, on to this year's image, 1st with labels.... full resolution (1920x1200) on imgur

...and for you wallpaper weenies like me, the unlabeled version ... full resolution (1920x1200) on imgur.  I tagged the image

This year still had no Mercury or Pluto but I did get Eris. Which is seen in the lower right taken on three consecutive nights in early October.  I was amazed at how bright it is to have only been discovered in 2003!    Here's an animation in gifv format...

Here's to a decent 2015 and let's get more clear skies in 2016!  

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

First Mars of the 2015-2016 season

My novice eyes notice some interesting clouds on the morning limb around the areas of Tempe and Tharsis.  Just south of the North Polar Cap I spy some clouds over Mare Acidalium.  There also seems to be some interesting brightness around Cydonia.  Overall I was quite pleased with the way this image came out given it's very early and still quite low this apparition.

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