Saturday, April 6, 2019

Greetings MMXIX 1/31Y2K+18

 Frosty nights, Polar Vortex
January was mostly cloudy. Frost on the roof several times, but we missed the week of Polar -50 degree weather, the Polar Vortex that occurred north of us, the last week of this month. We did have several wet rainy days too. This month is when we work on the wood pile, getting ready for those cold lingering days of winter. If it gets that cold. We did see Jupiter and Venus in a few frosty early mornings, before the clouds took over. January 20-21, there was a total eclipse of the moon, the blood moon came and went. Not too late to view from our backyard. On January 22, these two planets were real close, next to Antares! Jan. 8th, asteroid 2019 AS5 flew past Earth only 8600 km above our planet’s surface… that was close! On January 26 the group had their first Star Gazing event at the TPML. Keeping up with China and their moon landing. We lit a fire once this month. Busy month…. see our night sky, maintenance around the house. Getting ready for Ground Hog Day, Spring is coming on time. Welcomed the Chinese New Year in February, the year of the Pig. February’s weather was warmer with a few chilly frosty nights. March blew in with the madness of college basketball. Spring covered us with green and warmer nights. Hummers flew in by St Patty’s Day! Lots of cloudy nights with less viewing from the portal. Catching glimpses of a few planets. Still trying to catch up on sleep after losing and hour in March. First Quarter of the year 2019 is in the books.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Good bye MMXVIII 11/26-12/31Y2K+18

 Cyberspace, Black Holes

 The last weeks of 2018 have seen colder nights, a season of Joy and a period of dodging Cyberspace Trojans. Christmas came and went with smiling faces young and old. I learned this past year that the more smart electronics you run, the more shields you need to protect your network. As Captain Kirk said: “Shields up”! I had several close calls to those “Event Horizons”, and dodging multiple objects thrown at our network. Let’s hear it for Firewalls and Cloud based internet shielding! The full moon this month reminded us that China is on the way to the Dark Side of the Moon! We looked west before dawn December 11-12 for the Geminids, we did not see any. December 18 marked 208 days without any sunspots on our Star, the Sun. Solar Minimum continues, be aware of Cosmic Rays on the increase. Mars could be seen in Aquarius in December. Jupiter was parked in Sagittarius. As we close this year we are looking forward to dark skies and more space/earth discoveries in MMXIX.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

10/01-11/24Y2K+18 Clear cooler nights

CLOSING DAYS OF XVIII… LXXII
The past two months have been busy in the night sky. As we moved through Halley comet debris, The Orionids , October 21-22 were good but not seen here. The planets Mars and Jupiter moved next to the moon then stood alone in the night sky. Venus shined bright in the morning sky. October and November were still in Solar minimum, NO sunspotsThe Leonids peaked November 16-17. None seen from our Portal. A few days and nights did turn cold and icy in early November. Another Mars Lander, Insight, will be on Mars November 26. Another Rover is set to go to Mars in 2020. The landscape is changing color,  Elm trees are very colorful these days and leaves begin to fall.  Time to prep the fireplace. Football is winding down.  Enjoy the Holidays........
Getting ready for the winter solstice, December 21 at 4:23 pm CST

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......