Sunday, August 19, 2007

Astronomy For Beginners on Flickr

With an ordinary camera, the amateur astronomer will be able to take quite respectable pictures of objects in the night sky and then post them to the Astronomy for beginners Flickr group. The camera can be either digital or film, but must have a 'manual' setting so that longer exposure times can be catered for. A tripod of some sort will also be necessary, and a remote shutter is handy to prevent camera shake causing blur.

Already I have received some feedback explaining the twin comet tails in more detail, or rather correcting the way I had written it in the Comet Facts article.

Astronomy For Beginners

Driftwords explains:

One tail is neutral particles (dust) and the other consists of electrically charged gas (plasma). The charged particles (the "ion tail") are affected by the magnetic field of the sun, which is typically directed across the path of the comet, whereas the neutral particles simply show where the comet has been.

It's like a long steam train. The carriages behind the loco simply follow the track, whereas the smoke from the engine will be carried sideways by the wind as well.