Nerdettes weblog

Just another view of/by

Moon & Envisat spotted in the skies above.

Tonight I tried another set of pictures – with the telescope as well as without from the ESA satellite/zombie Envisat.

The moon almost didn’t fit into one single shot. Yesterday it was much easier to fetch the moon as less than 50% was lit.

And today the former ESA satellite Envisat also came by. Not, as predicted by some apps exactly between bright Moon and Jupiter, but as I found out later, it flew exactly over the moon. That made it pretty invisible as the moon is very bright while being almost 75% illuminated (10 days after new moon).

Due to the 30 second exposures, I had one image which captured a plane flying over

During the photoshoot, I looked up where Envisat currently could be, as I thought I had missed it. The app Satellite AR (Augmented Reality) showed me Envisat being right above me. I looked up and right above me I could see Envisat as an orange dot. Then it all of a sudden even flashed bright orange, so I assume Envisat is rotating/spinning.

When I then looked at the pictures afterwards, I then traced back this similar orange dot. It followed exactly the track that was predicted, it’s also in the direction where I saw it and it had the same color. Could it be Envisat?

Here is Envisat in better times, during it’s integration at ESTEC, the Netherlands, almost 16 years ago.

Source: UniverseToday
And, because there’s magic in space: A picture of the offline Envisat, taken by another earth orbiting satellite, Pleiades.

First moonshot from closeby

Having tried to take pictures from the moon in the past, I now got a real telescope to try with. And it is really not as easy as I thought. Finding the moon was already quite some work. And when you think you finally got the moon in sight and walk for a few minutes away in a lighter area to check and prepare you camera, it’s gone again
The tripod also needs to be standing perfectly balanced, which is quite a struggle when instead of a light camera all of a sudden a big lump with a weight at the back (camera) is put in place.
And last but not least: focus! The sky needs to be very clear, the moon high to get the better results. And a remote control, because the tripod and camera will move once you touch it.

The camera settings were however quite easy to find, a quick preview shows you it’s either too dark or too bright.

So here’s the first one and I hope many more will come. It can only get better!

Don’t forget the lucky peanuts.

AKA: Letter from NASA to ESA Rosetta’s for it’s wake up from hibernation.


The tradition of the peanuts for JPL missions goes way back to the 1960s with the very first missions we sent to the moon. We had seven mission attempts to go to the moon before we succeeded, and on that seventh one, they had passed out peanuts in the control room. Ranger 7, which in July 1964 became the first U.S. space proble to succesfully transmit close images of the moon’s surface back to the Earth, made the peanuts into a tradition at JPL. So ever since then, it has been a long standing tradition to hand out peanuts whenever we launch and whenever we do anything important like land on a planet. We use all the luck we can get!
For MSL, we put a label on the jar that says “dare mighty things”. That phrase was taken from Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even when though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows either victory nor defeat.”