Saturday, December 28, 2013

Venus gets photobombed

     This morning I stayed over an hour into dayshift.  During the hour working with my buddy Sean, who recently bought a telescope, the conversation turned to planets currently visible.  I mentioned to him that Venus is now a large crescent as it is heading to a January 11th  alignment with the Sun.
    This afternoon I awoke to a beautiful late-December clear sky with a temperature in the mid-40's, a perfect opportunity to try to find Venus during the day.  I found it almost immediately with binoculars but with the smaller field of view of my telescope the low-contrast sky made for a frustrating hour-long search before I finally found it. Once it was located I removed the telescope eyepiece and hooked up my camera, refocused and fired off 4 photos.  When I reviewed the photos, I was shocked to see that Delta Airlines photobombed my Venus portrait by flying a DC-9 through my field of view. 

  Four photos and I was done. I wasn't going to top that.  The funny thing is, is that I never saw the plane even after I noticed I had captured a photo of it.   Although the jet looks like it is low, consider that this was taken through a scope of 2000mm focal length, so the planes angular size is only 9 minutes of arc, less than 1/3 of the 30 minutes of arc that the moon appears. 
  Here is the calculation of the distance to the jet.  9 arc minutes =0.15 degrees.  Sine of 0.15 degrees = 0.00261799.  The length of a DC-9 fuselage is 104.4 ft.  The length of the fuselage divided by the distance to the plane=sine of 0.15.
   So 104.4 ft divided by 0.00261799 (the sine of the angle) = 39877 ft
  Among certain circles there are rumors that I heavily photoshop my photos.  Here is the original photo. You can judge the degree of photoshopping.

Breaking News put my photo on their front page here is the link.

Here is a screengrab of their home page from December 28, 2013.  So if you click on the link above after my photo has been replaced you can check their archives by entering the date above in the archive search in their right hand column.

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