Half Star?

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Hgg42
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Half Star?

#1

Post by Hgg42 »

Hi All,

My first post here. My name is Lucas and I live in Tampa, FL.

Thing is I got a decent telescope as gift from my wife and after a handful uses I think I have an OK aiming and focus ability, even with difficulty.

Now, there's this star that has been making me curious for a while as it is very shiny. I got a skymap app and when I point at it it says Alcyone, though I may be totally off.

Now today I setup the telescope at my driveway and aimed at it. Then I amplified and then I focused .. and for my total surprise it seems cut in half! See the bottom half of it very clearly, nor blurry or anything and the top half seems missing.

I'm thinking it is a common beginner's mistake.

Please tell me! :)
Many Thanks
Lucas
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Don Quixote
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#2

Post by Don Quixote »

Hello, Lucas. Welcome.
I am guessing you are viewing Venus.
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Lady Fraktor
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#3

Post by Lady Fraktor »

As DQ stated it is most likely the planet Venus which does show phases like the Moon.
Enjoy the telescope :)
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#4

Post by Graeme1858 »

Hgg42 wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:30 am
Now today I setup the telescope at my driveway and aimed at it. Then I amplified and then I focused .. and for my total surprise it seems cut in half! See the bottom half of it very clearly, nor blurry or anything and the top half seems missing.

Hello Lucas

Both Venus and Mercury show phases like the Moon does because they both orbit the Sun within Earth's orbit. They are never far from the Sun as observed from Earth. They are always only either visible in the night sky just after sunset in the West or just before sunrise in the East. Venus is about as far as it gets from the Sun (as seen from Earth) at the moment so it's illuminated from one side and you get to see it half lit. As it continues it's orbit the phase will decrease to a crescent, it will get dimmer, lower in the sky and it will follow the Sun down earlier each evening.

Welcome to the forum.

Regards

Graeme
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#5

Post by KingClinton »

Hi and welcome to the forums!

Sounds like Venus.
Download a program called Stellarium, set it to your time and location. It will show everything in your night skies.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... 5ywv4FD0Qn
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#6

Post by yobbo89 »

as others. my guess is a panet phase, or some sort of obstruction in the viewing tain, alcyone is in pleiades region aka the 7 sisters.
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Ruud
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#7

Post by Ruud »

+1 for Stellarium.

You set it for your location and it shows you what's up when and where. It's a great way to learn the sky, it's beautiful and it's free.

https://stellarium.org

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#8

Post by Makuser »

Hello Lucas. As the others have said our moon, Venus, and Mercury show phases due to their closer orbits to the sun than Earth. So, what you saw was Venus. Welcome to the forum Lucas, and the best of wishes on your astronomy hobby adventures, from a fellow Floridian.
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Hgg42
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#9

Post by Hgg42 »

Many thanks all!! It was Venus indeed!
What a joy, on same night I saw a shooting star for first time in many years.

Anybody know a good astronomy book for beginners?

Thanks again
Lucas
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Makuser
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#10

Post by Makuser »

Hello again Lucas. There are many books available, and my shelves are lined with several volumes. However, you might want to consider this DVD course from Professor Murphy. You can rewind and catch something that you may have missed. Even after all of these years, I still like to watch this video and learn something new.
https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses ... t-sky.html
You can always add books and sky atlases as you need them.
Also, you may want to post your arrival here on the welcomes/introductions sub forum, and get a larger response to your post:
viewforum.php?f=3
I hope this helps Lucas, and the very best of regards.
- Marshall
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#11

Post by helicon »

Hello Lucas and Welcome to TSS!
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KingClinton
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#12

Post by KingClinton »

A great book to get started with is "Turn left at Orion"

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... 5196591821
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Baurice
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#13

Post by Baurice »

Absolutely 100% Venus.

If you keep following it, its phase will decrease but its disc size will grow. As it is bright, a variable polarising filter or moon filter will help. Failing that, I used sunglasses at first. I got some strange looks but it worked.
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TCampbell
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#14

Post by TCampbell »

Here's a zoomed-in view of Venus (not a photo... I used Starry Night to generate the image) on Mar 23rd:
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 7.18.32 PM.png
If it looked something like that (but probably more compact)... then yep, Venus.
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