Tuesday, August 15, 2017

0731Y2K+17 my summer portal

My portal seems to be closing. Trees are growing and more light pollution!  The past two months of June and July have been warmer and humidity is pressing down on us. We were lucky to get as much rain as we did before the heat wave moved in. Two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, were seen in the evening when we had clear nights. Sun spots on our nearest star were at zero several times this summer. Enjoyed the full Strawberry Moon! Our Asteroid spotters enjoyed recognition on Asteroid Day June 30th. In July, Juno gave us a close up of the Jupiter BRS. The followers of Jupiter now claim 69 moons! Wow!  Still following the planets and watching for the ISS passing into view.  August will give us the Perseid meteor shower zooming across a moonlit sky. Lots of info on the upcoming Eclipse August 21. We should only get 60 % and starting at 11:40 am. Our totality? will last just at 2 minutes starting at 1pm. Looking forward to September night skies.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

0517Y2K+17 My Portal

Gravity is beginning to affect my movements in my backyard portal. Population growth is beginning to interfere with my dark sky, as I watch the constellations and planets moving across my night sky. March and April have been busy with time constraints in my ability to make time and view the night sky. However there were a few items I should mention: Venus, Mars and the moon on March 1. Events on the TPML hill were March 18, and April 15. The Lyrid Meteor shower was April 22. Now that catches me up to the current month that includes these events: The Eta Aquarid Meteor shower May 4. A solar event on the TPML hill to view our sun during the day on May 13. Currently we are in solar Minimum, Forecasters expect the sunspot cycle, which swings like a pendulum between high and low sunspot number every ~11 years, to reach its nadir in 2019-2020. so good luck with that! Jupiter is King, now in Virgo during the night sky. Continue to watch the moon cross my portal.
Saturn is in Sagittarius in the early morning hours before dawn.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

0228Y2K+17 Heart set on flares

The month of February was warmer than usual! There were several planet gatherings just after sunset. Missed most due to clouds. February 15th, Mars and Venus in Pisces. Saturn rising very early in Ophiuchus/Sagittarius. Jupiter rose in the east after midnight, seen in Virgo. One good meteor shower this month was on the 26th. New moon, dark sky for the Delta Leonid meteors. Comet 45P seen by some near Altair, Feb. 10, 11 with binoculars, was not seen here. Too cloudy! The Group on the hill gathered Saturday, Feb 18 to view the sky, it was clear. Seeing the Earth from L1 daily by new satellite from NOAA is awesome. I put the website on my favorites. It is at: http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/. Since the news that these may be going away….we enjoyed several Iridium Flares this month! And more to come in March! This short month went by at light speed…………..

Sunday, February 5, 2017

0131Y2K+17 another New Year

Welcomed in the New Year; now the Year of the Rooster! We missed the January 3 meteor shower. If you have enjoyed the sightings of "Iridium flares, flashes in the sky, a new group of Satellites just launched, have different antennas that will make it impossible to view the Iridium flares in the future. As these newer Satellites take over, the flares will disappear over our portal. Our sun has started showing Zero - few sunspots, bringing in the Solar Minimum? Forecasters expect the next Solar Minimum to arrive in 2019-2020. Solar Minimum brings many interesting changes. For instance, as the extreme ultraviolet output of the sun decreases, the upper atmosphere of Earth cools and collapses. This allows space junk to accumulate around our planet. Also, the heliosphere shrinks, bringing interstellar space closer to Earth. We have been tracking the planets at dawn and dusk, when possible on clear nights. Jupiter was in Virgo and Saturn in Ophiuchus. Mars in Capricorn and Venus in Aquarius. Chinese New Year was January 28. Lots of cloudy nights with some clear cool nights thrown in. Warmer than usual!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1231Y2K+16 Season’s Greetings

Winter Solstice came in hard on December 21 at 4:44 AM. We had our first cold blue northerner, it blew in December 19. The folks on the hill had their night sky event December 17 at the TPML. A couple of ISS passes lit up the night sky over our portal. We viewed the ISS go by in our portal and it was “awesome”! Bright as the planet Venus, moving across the sky. Never get tired of that event. The Geminids were December 13-14, but the bright moon hid a bunch from our sky. We observed Mars and Venus on occasion in the early part of the month. And we could see Jupiter in the early morning sky. The constellation Orion dominates the early cold night sky. The Holiday ends and closes another year of observing. The Universe is a vast and awesome place.
Looking forward to next year’s discoveries!     “To infinity and beyond”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

1130Y2K+16 A Super Moon; November nights

November brought us some clear nights to view those best known patterns in the night sky. The Super bright and perigee moon was Monday the 14th. This bright object also dimmed a lot of the Leonid meteors this month! That weekend we had our first cold front. Bundle up to view the stars. Many bright stars to choose from:
Deneb, Altair, Vega, Aldebaran, Capella, Betelgeuse and Rigel.
TPML Astronomy Night was Saturday, November 19th from 6:30 till 8:30pm.
1) Venus, in the lid of the teapot constellation Sagittarius, will be brilliant as it sets in the west.
2) Mars will be off to the left of Venus and will set shortly afterward.
3) We hope to see another "Iridium Satellite Flare."
4) Uranus, in Pisces, and Neptune, in Aquarius, are high in our night skies.
5) Stars Capella and Aldebaran rising and Vega, Altair and Deneb are setting.
6) The Lonely Star, "Fomalhaut" is low to the south.
7) Star Clusters M2, M15, M92 and the Double Clusters among many are out
Lots to give thanks for, after walking and observing on this planet… LXX
This Thanksgiving, looking up at the night sky was similar to the "First" Thanksgiving sky in 1621!
I saw this Video tour of the space station @ https://youtu.be/DhmdyQdu96M
Adding the current Star Trek Beyond DVD to my library.

Friday, November 4, 2016

1031Y2K+16 Patterns in the sky

In this month of October, some Constellations were sharper and bolder. 88 named Constellations in our night sky. We saw a handful this month! The folks at the TPML had the first star gazing event on the hill October 8. And this was International Observe the Moon Night. We looked for Saturn and Venus near Scorpius on the night of October 14. Mars was near Sagittarius that same night. The Orionids meteor shower, October 19 was not as good to view because of moonlight! Pegasus is high in the eastern sky. Looked SW after sunset on October 21 to view Mars, Venus and Saturn. Searched for the Star Capella near the Pleiades in a low NE night sky the last week of October. Trick or Treat! Colder, clearer nights to come………