Friday, July 29, 2016
Feeling the heat of the summer sun. El Nino has turned and we have Firecracker days and sparkling clear nights. This bring us to the long, dry, hot…. dog days in July. Watching Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on warm summer nights. Insect repellant and hope for a soft evening breeze. In that summer breeze is African Dust! Juno reached Jupiter July 4! The summer triangle is full on in the night sky. Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp, stands nearly overhead shortly after midnight. The asterism’s second-brightest star, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, then lies more than halfway from the southeastern horizon to the zenith. Deneb, the luminary of Cygnus the Swan, marks the Summer Triangle’s third corner. Along with rich star fields in Scorpius and Sagittarius. Look for Mars in Libra, Saturn a bit east of Mars in the constellation Ophiuchus. Jupiter is well placed for viewing in Leo-Virgo area. Look for the large planet near the crescent moon in the evening of July 8. It was spectacular! This dry earth brought us tree fall! Large oak fell over at the base root in our north yard. No rain in the near future forecast! Comic Con is in San Diego this month as the newest Star Trek movie opens in theaters. We did get some rain! We did watch the planets move across our portal from our backyard.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
After a very cloudy and 13” rain soaked May, the sky moves into the summer constellations! We missed many nights of observing Mars and Saturn. But as we move closer to the summer solstice, we still have a chance to view bright Mars and Ringed Saturn anchored near Scorpius this month! The telescope or binoculars will bring a closer look to M13, that great globular cluster in the Keystone. Found in Hercules. The summer triangle has become more prominent, look east for stars: Altair, Vega and Deneb. Jupiter is in Leo, in the west evening sky. The summer solstice is Monday, June 20, 2016 at 5:34 PM CDT. Let’s all go out and hug a tree. El Nino may continue to bring clouds and rain this month. Rain is a good thing, for this Earth….. Let’s hope for a few clear nights.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Spring is in high gear, and we are enjoying cool nights and pleasant days. Rain and clouds are welcome although interrupting the weeks, off and on. We have had clear nights the majority of the time to see: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. First week of May a bright Mars-Saturn-Antares triangle awaits early dawn viewers in Scorpius. The Eta Aquariid meteor shower should peak before local dawn Thursday, Cinco de Mayo. On May 9, Mercury transits the sun! Mercury will have already starting moving across the sun when the sun rises! Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, its last trek taking place in 2006. Due to its diminutive size, viewing this event safely requires a telescope or high-powered binoculars fitted with solar filters made of specially-coated glass or Mylar. NASA also will stream a live program on NASA TV and the agency’s Facebook page from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be posted at: http://www.nasa.gov/transit. The forecast for Monday is cloudy with rain in my backyard. Added the latest Star Wars DVD to my library. Clear skies.....
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Warmer days ahead, but we are still having cool clear nights. Canada is still pushing weaker cold air our way. Spring has brought the earth into bloom. And spring cleaning, clearing and pruning continues in earnest. The night sky has brought us some spectacular viewing of planets and the moon phases. Earth Day is April 22! TPML will have an Earth Day Event on April 23.This month, watch for the Lyrid meteor shower early mornings April 16- April 25. Peak time is April 22, 1 am Central time. But the full moon will limit observations! Mercury is in our night sky April 18 after sunset, WNW. Do not give up on Jupiter and the transits of Io and its shadow April 6 @ 8:52. Plus Europa and Ganymede also have events that night into the next morning. Keeping our fingers crossed for clear skies. Saturn is in good shape for observing, (magnitude +0.4, in the legs of Ophiuchus) rises around midnight or a bit later. The group at TPML will have the monthly star event the night of April 30. Venus is headed for a trip around the sun, look for Venus in June as an evening star.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Spring starts March 20! Vernal equinox… Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM CDT. Our Days are warmer and the nights are still cool. Has winter really gone up north to stay? As a steward to this planet, it is time to trim, clip and prune the homestead. We lose that hour of sleep, when we turn the clocks ahead 2 am on March 13th. Spring break begins that week! On March 5th early, before dawn, catch Mars and Saturn anchored near Scorpius. On March 16th, Mars is near Beta Scorpii early, before dawn. In the evening on March 16 around 10 pm, Ganymede and Io transit Jupiter. Watch for the black dots! March 20th, Jupiter will be near the moon that evening. Our friends on the TPML hill will be setting up to view the night sky, March 26th around 8pm. Watch for Leo, Gemini, Taurus and the Pleiades along the ecliptic. Orion is slowing moving down in the west.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Our local Ground hog did see his shadow. This means more winter days and nights for us. Not really! This month starts off with crisp cold nights to view the planets that line up for most of this month. Days are warm enough to have an early BBQ! Enjoy the cold nights, spring is only 6 weeks away. Happy Chinese New Year! February 8. Year of the Monkey! Look early before sunrise for Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Watch these wandering stars as they walk across the sky with the moon! First of the year paper work keeps me at the desk, getting the bugs out. Finally saw “the Martian”. Another good Sci-fi movie, added to my DVD library. Continue to locate the constellation Orion and Canis Major. Jupiter is under the hind foot of Leo. Mars is in Libra. Saturn is in Ophiuchus. The folks on the hill will gather to view the night sky, Saturday, February 27. Big write up about the group in the local paper.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The weather has turned cold and damp here in the heart of Texas. Finally winter after many warm nights the last weeks of December. New Year’s Eve was loud and loaded with the rocket’s red glare! Too cloudy to see any stars or the planets. January brings Saturn into view in the early morning sky with Venus. Starting January 4 and closer still around January 8. Look SE in Ophiuchus. Mars is near the star Spica, mid-month in the evening sky. Jupiter makes a good target this month, look in Leo after 10pm. Orion is up and hunting in the evening after dark. Our friends up on the hill at the TPML will have the monthly stargazing gathering on January 30. We are due a few clear, cold nights this month, so enjoy the night’s sky.