Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I saw Sirius in the daytime

Three minutes before sundown, to be exact, while the sun was making all the hilltops pink and pretty.

I read that it was possible under good viewing conditions, and a few weeks ago the Bad Astronomer posted about spotting Venus in the daytime. Canberra is dry and 600 meters high, and this time of year the star is just north of straight up at sundown. So, I went out last week to line it up with a telephone pole. Then I went out progressively earlier each clear day to try and spot it. Sunday I caught it 5 minutes after, and yesterday was brisk and clear high pressure, with just a few high wispy clouds to focus on. I tried half an hour before with no luck, but at 5:52, it was right where it should be, twinkling between the wisps of cloud 8.7 light years below.

I had a brief look for Canopus, which is just a bit south of due up, but it is substantially dimmer, and I haven’t lined any landmarks up. Still, it is cool to confirm that the stars are still there during the day, even if they can't quite shine through the fuzzy blue atmosphere.

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