Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Antares Rocket Launch No, International Space Station and Milky Way Yes

Evening Crescent Moon and Mars
Last evening I joined a Meetup group at Gooseberry to try to capture Antares rocket launch from Wallop Island in Virginia.  Four of us walked down to where the old World War II towers are located, and then went up to the highest point on Gooseberry, which is a hill, beneath which is a bunker.  As the sun set in the sky got darker the first thing that came into sight was the evening crescent moon, and then to to its left the planet Mars was visible.  After setting up our equipment and checking the settings, plus taking pictures of the Moon and Mars, we waited as the countdown continued.  Our leader, Christine was following it on her phone we got to six minutes prior to launch and then there was a hold two to a boat in the ocean in the hazard area.  When they could not remove the boat the launch got scrubbed.  However, the evening was not a total loss.  We were able to watch and capture the international space station, passing from west to south..
International Space Station and the Milky Way

International Space Station, Passing by the Tower on Gooseberry
The brightness of the moon hit a lot of the features of the Milky Way.  We discussed our options and I told the group that if we went to the capstone Barn would have a better chance of capturing some Milky Way images.  After walking back to the parking lot.  We drove to the stone barn and was able to capture the the Milky Way as the evening crescent moon slowly sank in the West.
Milky Way, Looking toward the West at the Stone Barn
Three Image Panorama of the Milky Way
As we were getting ready to leave, I looked toward the East between the stone barn and the caretakers building where there was a large cluster of stars and solar dust, part of the eastern end of the Milky Way.  I took some photographs to show the interesting sight.
Stars and Solar Dust
The rocket launch has been rescheduled for tonight at 6:45 PM and I am planning to return to Gooseberry hopefully to capture the launch.

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