Sunday, October 11, 2015

Horned Lark, American Pipit and Elusive Mercury

  The dawn meeting between the thin crescent moon and innermost planet Mercury once again drew me to the scenic overlook at my work-site.  I'll get to the celestial event later as I'm contractually obligated to lead with the bird content.
    After sunrise I was able to photograph a Horned Lark and an American Pipit.
Horned Lark

American Pipit
 The advantage to being at an elevation 300 feet higher than the surrounding terrain is having an unobstructed view of the horizon.  The big disadvantage is that the 15 mph winds off of Lake Michigan at ground level are closer to 30 mph at the higher elevation.  In order to shield my camera from the wind I had to open both passenger-side doors on my car and set up my tripod  between them, using the doors as a wind break.
Mercury and Moon over wind farm
  The perpetual winner of the race around the sun never gets more than 28 degrees from the sun, therefore it only is visible very low in twilight before sunrise or after sunset. Back when I was in school I was taught that the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus never observed Mercury.  Upon further review the validity of that story is suspect.
Greater magnification makes Mercury much easier to see

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