Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Dragon and A Rock

Memorial Day Weekend... Space X sends a capsule, "Dragon", to the ISS. The Dragon docked last Friday.
Today another PHA came close to our Planet! The 3 to 10 meter wide Rock is listed as #6 on the top 20 with closest approach to Earth.

Skies have been clear in the early evening, before the clouds roll in the early morning hours. I have observed the planets, the bright stars Antares, Vega, Arcturus and Spica. The quarter moon has made the constellation Hercules dimmer. But the cluster M13 is still visible. Catch this red star in your FOV Mars with a magnitude of +0.3, is high in SSW in Leo. The constellation Scorpius is well up in the SSE. Antares, the Scorpion's heart is easy to spot under the three stars that make up the head of the scorpion. Look for Beta Scorpii.

News from the Net:

Newly Found Asteroid Buzzes EarthIncredible Dragon Approach and Berthing – Image Gallery from Andre Kuipers aboard ISSSKA, the World’s Largest Telescope Will Be Built at Two SitesEcological Concerns in Losing Our Starry NightESA: Unveiling VenusWeekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast: May 28 – June 3, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Days of Miracle and Wonder

With a few clear nights in the past couple of evenings,  I was able to again observe the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules! Plus that Eclipse was caught by many across the globe. Here, it was just a partial event at sunset. Our friend Phil in Austin did have a photo of the short eclipse on his Blog. You had to be farther west of my backyard to catch the entire event and the Ring of Fire. The sun was in Taurus as it set on the 20th. It is amazing to me that with current technology, we are able to capture these events and allow us all to have access to them.

Truly, these are days of miracle and wonder
The way we look at a distant constellation
that is dying in the corner of the sky

News from the Net:
Space Weather Real Time Image Gallery
Eclipse Images from Around the World
Weekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast: May 21-27, 2012
SpaceX Successfully Launches Dragon Into Orbit
Amazing Eclipse Timelapse Shows the Sun’s Chromosphere

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sky above, Earth below and a Dark Moon

The Group met Thursday night and discussed many things within the Sky above and the Earth below. The TPL public events have been well received but will be suspended until the nights get longer in the fall. Bob reported seven clear nights at this year's TSP!  Larry may set up one or two nights for the group in the next month or two. The sky was clear when we left the meeting… Venus, Saturn, Spica, Mars and Arcturus were visible points of light. I passed on setting up a scope, after I got home. 
Eclipse this Sunday! Utah is a better place to be to get a longer look of the event. In the United States, the eclipse begins around 5:30 pm PDT. Greatest coverage occurs around 6:30 pm PDT.
Our New Moon is Sunday evening (exact at 7:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). Summer is just around the corner and Scorpius will begin to rise in the SE at the end of this week. Look for the heart of the scorpion, Antares low in the horizon by Friday May 25.
The forecast calls for a couple of clear nights this next week. Time to list a couple more sightings of M13 in the observation StarLog… 160 globular clusters have been spotted encircling our galaxy, the Milky Way, mostly toward its bulging center. M13 is one of the brightest and densest, having 100 thousand plus stars. Observations of globular clusters' stars reveal that they originated around the same time — more than 10 billion years ago — and from the same cloud of gas. As this formative period was just a few billion years after the Big Bang, nearly all of the gas on hand was the simplest, lightest and most common in the cosmos: hydrogen, along with some helium and much smaller amounts of heavier chemical elements such as oxygen and nitrogen.

News from the Net:
How Big Are Sunspots?
SpaceX says All Systems GO for Historic May 19 Blast Off to ISS
Ring of Fire! Annular Solar Eclipse on May 20
Watch How Life Recovers from Devastation
How Do The Biggest Telescopes Work?
New Crew Arrives at Space Station
4,700 Asteroids Want to Kill You
Family Guy Creator To Bring Back COSMOS

Monday, May 14, 2012

Middle of May- Points of Light

Last Saturday night the Sky did clear! Saturn and Mars lead the FOV. The event at the TPL was a go and the group had 3 scopes there, putting stars in the center of the eyepiece. The forecast for the coming week will have less clouds and a chance to catch more points of light in the night sky.

The Last-quarter Moon was this past Saturday, exact at 5:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Moon rises in Aquarius. Look southeast for Saturn, (magnitude +0.4, in Virgo) and Spica. Near by is the constellation Corvus, the Crow.  To the upper left is Arcturus, the "Spring Star." Arcturus is in the SE Vega, shines lower in the northeast. Between Vega and Arcturus is Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown.
Find Arcturus then Vega… that leads to Hercules. When you look at the Big Dipper this week, it’s upside down due north after dark. Polaris is below and below that is Cassiopeia.
By mid-week, The Summer Triangle [ Vega, Deneb and Altair ] is fully up in the east by about 11 p.m

News from the Net:
Weekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast: May 14-20, 2012
Surprise! IBEX Finds No Bow ‘Shock’ Outside our Solar System
End of the World Averted: New Archeological Find Proves Mayan Calendar Doesn’t End
Fly Over Vesta’s Cratered Terrain with Dawn
Asterisms: Signposts in the Sky
From Russia With Love: A Singularly Stunning Image of Earth
By Thor’s Mighty Helmet!
Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise in 20 Years
A New Angle on Titan

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Clouds than Stars

Wednesday night I scanned the Sky for any point of light and Constellations! I did see a dim Arcturus, Saturn and Spica through a veil of Clouds. Another low is moving through our area from the west. The long arm of that low is bringing more clouds and some needed rain. But the night sky is still too cloudy to put any Stars my FOV! The current cloudy forecast continues... through the weekend!?

News from the Net:
Weekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast – May 7-13, 2012
Buy Some Eclipse Glasses for the Upcoming Annular Eclipse or Venus Transit
Alien Life May Not Be So Alien – If It Exists At All
More Evidence of Mars’ Watery Past
The Bright and Dark Side of Vesta’s Craters
Your ‘Supermoon’ Images from Around the World

Friday, May 4, 2012

Waiting for the Sky to Clear

Targets acquired…but more cloudy nights ahead. If the clouds break, look for bright Vega moderately low in the northeast after darkness falls, and higher later. To Vega's lower right dangle fainter stars of the little constellation Lyra.
This Saturday there is a bright Full Moon (exact at 11:35 p.m. EDT), in Libra. This is the closest and largest full Moon of 2012, though not remarkably so. The Moon is 8% closer and larger than average, and only 0.16 magnitude brighter than average, so you'd need measuring tools to really tell. Take a look. What do you think?
Next Saturday is our Last-quarter Moon (exact at 5:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). The Moon rises in the middle of the night, looking lopsided and awkward in dim Aquarius.
There is a Star Event planned at the TPL May 12, next Saturday. This is the “Rain” date set after last one was cancelled due to clouds and wind.

Lost in Space, New orbit acquired

The folks at Google informed me ( at the end of April ) that my browser (Explorer) will no longer function within the Blogger parameters!!! They want me to download and use "Chrome". I waited a few weeks to get my tower in line and working faster before I do that. I did have the Firefox browser loaded on the office PC the last time it was worked on. So.... today I am in orbit, posting with "Firefox" and will  try to continue to post using "Firefox" until I get around to trying Google Chrome!