Sunday, October 7, 2018

08/31-09/29Y2K+18 Cosmic Ray Alert

Galactic cosmic rays come from outside the solar system. They are a mixture of high-energy photons and sub-atomic particles accelerated toward Earth by supernova explosions and other violent events in the cosmos. Our first line of defense is the sun: The sun’s magnetic field and solar wind combine to create a porous ‘shield’ that fends off cosmic rays attempting to enter the solar system. The shielding action of the sun is strongest during Solar Maximum and weakest during Solar Minimum–hence the 11-year rhythm of the mission duration plot above. Another effect Solar Minimum has on our planet: the upper atmosphere is responding with chilling results.

August: Mars and Saturn were visible, bright in Sagittarius on clear nights. The Persieds peaked on August 11 and 12. Best viewed after midnight, missed in our portal!

September: Mars was still bright and visible in CAPRICORNUS this month. Our Mars rover Opportunity was buried by a large dust storm and stalled without communication for some time. Saturn is still in Sagittarius and shines bright in the tea pot. This month brought many cloudy nights and lots of rain. Way over our Average! Brought the aquifer up to a normal levels……

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

0731Y2K+18 Mars in Dry summer

Triple digit temps daily still. It is Hot! Second stage water rules and Burn Ban is on. Planets still rule the night sky. Jupiter, look East, up all night in Libra. Saturn, found South after midnight in Sagittarius. Mars, very red and bright in Capricorn, seen early in the AM. Group on the Hill is taking the summer off. A couple of showers brought a bit of relief for the grass. Guadalupe river flow is very low, 40 cfs! Tourists still making traffic harder, the building boom progressing. Warm nights, hot days, Dog days of summer just around the corner.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

0629Y2K+18 Extreme summer

Triple digit temps in late June are common now. It is the season of Hot! African dust flowed in late June and is lingering! Third stage water rules just around the corner. Summer constellations, Planets rule the night. Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus are in good viewing stages. The Group on the Hill is taking the summer off. Looking for Iridium flares, but dim stars hard to see with the dust in night sky. All the leaves are brown along with the grass! The Guadalupe river flow is very low, average 40 -50 cfs! More traffic and Tourists are headed for the Comal, where the flow is much better. Time for BBQs and shade……….waiting and hoping for some rain to help out our parched, dry land. Night sky viewing is harder in the heat of the night!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

0525Y2K+18 the heat of summer

The cool winds of spring are turning warmer! Triple digit temps daily now. Summer constellations are clearer in the night sky and the Planets rule. May has been a great month to view Jupiter in Libra. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower was not that great in my portal, May 5th. Saturn in Sagittarius was seen early morning before sunrise. Venus, in Taurus as an evening star. And Mars in Capricorn seen in early morning darkness. Early morning or late evening, viewing the planets very satisfying. The Group on the Hill was going to have a Solar viewing this month, but postponed it until the first weekend in June. Lava flow and eruptions in Hawaii continue to be problem! First named storm, Alberto,  will be moving into Gulf of Mexico this Memorial Day weekend. Tourists have taken to the rivers! Summer is here, early......

Sunday, April 1, 2018

0402Y2K+18 Green Planet

Every thing is green! Oak dust on everything. Hummers got here March 17, on St. Patty's Day. The Tourists are pouring into the parks for another Easter weekend. Another full moon on April 1, Wow! The world was waiting for China's Space Station to fall, it fell somewhere near Hawaii, by April 2nd. Looking forward to looking at Mars and Jupiter in the night sky. Large and bright the month of April into May. Look for red Mars early morning in Sagittarius. Jupiter is in Libra high in the evening sky. The TPML folks on the hill hope to get a clear night, April 14. The Lyrid meteor shower was April 20, I saw none. Earth Day was April 21!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

0304Y2K+18 spring and another Blue Moon!

Meteorological Spring has started March 1! Feels and looks like winter may be done. More cloudy skies and less starry nights these long winter days and nights the past couple of months. We saw a Bright full moon through a veil of clouds March 1. Medical issues have kept me away from the night sky, but we have kept up with the planets and the moon. The ISS has a new crew and the large rocket launch was successful at the cape. This sent a car and a “spaceman” hurling towards Mars!! March Equinox: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 11:15 am CDT. There was NO full moon in February. March has a second full Blue moon March 31!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

1229Y2K+17 colder nights, darker skies?

The Leonids in November were missed or not very good here. Enjoyed the ISS pass: 6:15 WSW 52 degrees high on November 27. Start splitting the wood for the fireplace, Old Man winter is finally getting here! Cold nights bring on sharper night skies. Drag out the decorations and got ready for the Christmas rush! The Geminid Meteors were a good show on December 13 for those who stayed up late and into the early morning hour to view some of the brighter fireballs. Our 8 planets are not in good positions to be viewed this month. However, the group on the hill will gather December 9 at TPML. Winter solstice was: Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 10:28 am CST. Daylight is the shortest! Warm clothes and frosty nights to come. Keep looking up, follow the constellations and the planets……Polar Vortex on the way for New Year’s Day 2018! Brrrrrrrrr!