Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jupiter and Mercury Conjunction

Click on image for a larger view

The word "conjunction" may bring back memories of english class, but it's a totally different meaning in astronomy.  In this case it means the meeting of two or more celestial objects in the sky.  In this case, Jupiter and Mercury were just about 2 degrees apart on the evening of March 15, 2011.  Watch them in the western sky for the next few evenings and you'll see Jupiter drop lower in the sky and Mercury rise higher.

This image was taken with my Driod X cell phone.

Even though these planets seem to be very close together, they are actually billions of miles apart.  Mercury is a little over 93 million miles away, but Jupiter it about 550 million miles.  If you  were to view the Sun and these planets from out in space they would look like the graphic below.

Click on the image for a larger view

Monday, March 14, 2011

Winter Scenes with my new Droid X cell phone

Click on each Image for a Larger Image

We got about 4 or 5 inches of snow overnight, giving me a chance to try out my new camera.  

The Winter scenes above were taken with the camera on my new Droid X cell phone.  The camera installed on the latest phones are pretty remarkable.  Clicking on the images above will give you an image that is 1600 X 902 pixels.  This is only about half of what the 8 MPs camera actually gets, which is 3264 X 1840.  The quality of the images is amazingly good, considering the lens is only about 1/16" in diameter.  This lens does double duty, since it is also used for HD video that can be watched on a big screen HD TV (something I need to try as soon as I get an HD cable that connects the phone and the TV).

This in no way takes the place of my Canon  camera and lenses.  I have quite a bit more control with my Canon equipment than I do with my Droid X, but for a point and shoot camera, I can be sure to get a high quality image when I don't have my Canon with me.  I just have to be aware of its limitations, but for a phone, it can take some really nice pictures at a moments notice.