Planets!

For the last two weeks or so we’ve been treated to a nice grouping of planets rising in the northeast each morning around dawn. Here’s a few photos I took on my little Canon IXUS with exposures in the 5-15sec range. Be sure to click through to the Picasa album for full size images…

Jupiter, Mercury, Venus (brightest) and Mars, 6:21am 13 May 2011:

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Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, 6:16am 19 May 2011:

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Jupiter, Mars, Moon, Venus and Mercury (low on the horizon between Petone and Somes Island), 6:43am 31 May 2011:

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Mars, Moon, Venus and Mercury, 6:44am 31 May 2011:

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To help identify the stars and/or planets, I use and recommend Your Sky – a fantastic site/tool to make a sky map for any location and time. To get started, look for the links to select a nearby city – for example, here’s the current sky map and horizon view for Wellington. On a related note, if you want to track satellites in real time, try this website which lets you track all sorts of satellites overlayed on a Google map, as well as the International Space Station.

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Boeing 777 at Wellington Airport

A quick post to share some links following Air NZ’s Boeing 777 visit to Wellington today. The kids and I spotted it sitting at one of the gates this afternoon, and I saw it climb out of the airport this evening when it blasted off – empty bar essential crew so it performed rather well!

To highlight just how big the 777 is, check out Rodney’s Aviation Ramblings Blog where he posted some pics showing a Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 taxiing past…

As for the incredible rate of climb on take-off, take a look at this short vid:

Wow! 😀

Aero Club Open Day

The Wellington Aero Club hosted their Aviation Open Day last weekend, and here’s a few pics…

A few more of my photos can be found in my Aero Club Open Day, 2010 album. And if you want more pics, check out Rodney’s Aviation Ramblings – a Wellington focused aviation blog that’s well worth checking out!

Sevens 2010 weather looking superb!

The 7-day rainfall maps at metservice.com are looking pretty good for the 7’s this year:

7pm Fri 5th Feb:

7pm Sat 6th Feb:

Bring it on! 😀

Southerly winds for Wellington Anniversary Weekend

Here’s the latest Press Release from MetService:

The MetService weather forecast for Wellington’s long weekend is for more of the same, with periods of southerly wind and passing showers.

“The last dry weekend in Wellington was in mid-November last year”, commented MetService Weather Ambassador, Bob McDavitt. “So it is no great surprise that showery southerlies are likely again during the coming Anniversary weekend”.

Mr. McDavitt added that the showers and southerly winds are not expected to be as intense as last weekend, and should not require any weather warnings. “There is a complex trough affecting the North Island for the next few days, and it seems set to deliver one period of southerlies to the region on Friday lasting through Saturday, and another late on Sunday or early on Monday”.

“Wellington’s anniversary holiday is celebrated on Monday by people living in a large part of the south half of the North Island. If you are in this area and looking for some sunny mild weather with light winds this weekend to plan an anniversary BBQ or have some outdoor fun then your best bet is Sunday during the day”.

Issued 01:58pm 21-Jan-2010

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And my take on it:

😦

Mustang over Wellington

As publicity for the Wings over Wairarapa airshow in Masterton this weekend, Wellington got treated to a flypast by a North American P51-D Mustang and a Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk early this afternoon.

Here’s an ambitious attempt to capture the Mustang on my new Canon IXUS 80IS from the roof of the MetService building in Kelburn.

The fighters were a fair distance away over the city. I stuck the camera in full auto mode at full optical zoom and clicked. One chance. One shot.

The full image,

And a crop at full size,

Needless to say the 8Mpx resolution helped at that range. I’m actually amazed it worked that well!

Hidden speed cameras = revenue gathering

Time for a rant.

We’ve been staying on the Kapiti Coast and during my commuting over the last couple of days I’ve seen a few hidden speed cameras on the motorway. Yesterday however, I saw something that can only confirm the title of this post. Not one hidden speed camera – but two, only a few km’s apart on the same northbound lane of SH1. Why? One can only assume that they are hoping you see the first (even if it was a decoy), speed up and get snapped by the second!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning speeding and wasn’t snapped myself, but how does this make the road any safer? Honestly. These cameras were on the motorway – on two lanes of northbound traffic separated from the southbound lanes by not only by a wide grass verge but also a physical crash barrier. Not only is the risk of a head-on crash virtually nil, but it’s a relatively straight road with all corners on that section easily taken safely at 100km/hr. I find it hard to believe that those camera locations were placed in dangerous places aka “black spots”. If that were the case, how does a hidden camera help? Well, it doesn’t. A convincing cardboard cutout of a police car placed in plain sight would be a more effective traffic safety device – speeding motorists would see it and instantly slow down. Hidden cameras have zero effect on speeding traffic in real time. A ticket a week later has not made the busy road on a holiday day any safer. Anyone who thinks these hidden cameras are NOT revenue gatherers are kidding themselves.

What I would rather see is cameras outside schools morning and afternoon with ZERO tolerance for speeders. Or perhaps a bigger effort to target motorists who don’t stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings, who don’t wear seatbelts, or who insist on talking on cellphones while driving.

So yeah, I think speed cameras are misused and wrongly justified. And as a final question I don’t expect anyone can answer – where do the funds collected actually go? I’ll bet not into driver education, free courses or to the AA for example to actually educate and improve our motorists!

/rant.

Normal programming will now resume. 🙂