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………

Monday, October 3, 2016

09030Y2K+16 We Boldly Go Star Trekking

The month of September brought us deep space adventures. Star Trek is 50! Go here for more information. Our night sky is full of Galaxies and Planets to explore. Early morning sightings of Orion.  Venus began her evening rise in the night sky. Our area is a rock and limestone. A new subdivision is going in near us. We hear the thud pounding jackhammers chunking up limestone making roads and building sites, stirring up dust and when the lights go on, hopefully they will be night sky friendly? This month brought the County Fair and lots of traffic. Too many cloudy nights this month. The first time for the group to gather on the hill this month for star gazing, it was a wash out with rain in the area. Our first cold front brought clear skies and the planet Mercury rose in the early morning sky late this month, near a very thin Waning Crescent moon!

Friday, September 2, 2016

08029Y2K+16 August Planets Collide

Still feeling the heat of the summer sun. But not as hot this month and mostly cloudy! The long, dry, hot…. dog days of August are gone. August turned out to be one of the wettest and least hot months on record! Creek was running a couple of times. Still working on the tree fall! Large 30 foot oak fell over at the base root in our north yard. Watching Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on these summer nights. Jupiter was close to the Crescent moon on August 5th. Saturday August 6 was a Cross-Quarter day! Midpoint of Astronomical Summer, half way from June Solstice to September equinox. 3:28 pm….hug a tree. Venus and Jupiter became one on August 26: was about 1° apart, on Saturday just 0.1° (⅕ of the moon’s diameter). Not visible from my portal, just too low from our position. We also missed the Perseids from my backyard, peaked August 12, just too cloudy here. Hercules was straight up, Pegasus and Andromeda just moving up in the East. Saturn, Mars and Antares in the SW.  Possible Earth like Planet discovered this month! Is Proxima b a second Earth?

Friday, July 29, 2016

07029Y2K+16 Juno in July

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.