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.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

0602Y2K+16 Summer Solstice Skies

After a very cloudy and 13” rain soaked May, the sky moves into the summer constellations! We missed many nights of observing Mars and Saturn. But as we move closer to the summer solstice, we still have a chance to view bright Mars and Ringed Saturn anchored near Scorpius this month! The telescope or binoculars will bring a closer look to M13, that great globular cluster in the Keystone. Found in Hercules. The summer triangle has become more prominent, look east for stars: Altair, Vega and Deneb. Jupiter is in Leo, in the west evening sky. The summer solstice is Monday, June 20, 2016 at 5:34 PM CDT. Let’s all go out and hug a tree. El Nino may continue to bring clouds and rain this month. Rain is a good thing, for this Earth….. Let’s hope for a few clear nights.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

0505Y2K+16 Mercury Transit in May

Spring is in high gear, and we are enjoying cool nights and pleasant days. Rain and clouds are welcome although interrupting the weeks, off and on. We have had clear nights the majority of the time to see: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. First week of May a bright Mars-Saturn-Antares triangle awaits early dawn viewers in Scorpius. The Eta Aquariid meteor shower should peak before local dawn Thursday, Cinco de Mayo. On May 9, Mercury transits the sun! Mercury will have already starting moving across the sun when the sun rises! Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, its last trek taking place in 2006. Due to its diminutive size, viewing this event safely requires a telescope or high-powered binoculars fitted with solar filters made of specially-coated glass or Mylar. NASA also will stream a live program on NASA TV and the agency’s Facebook page from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will be posted at: http://www.nasa.gov/transit. The forecast for Monday is cloudy with rain in my backyard. Added the latest Star Wars DVD to my library.   Clear skies.....

Thursday, April 7, 2016

0404Y2K+16 March into April

Warmer days ahead, but we are still having cool clear nights. Canada is still pushing weaker cold air our way. Spring has brought the earth into bloom. And spring cleaning, clearing and pruning continues in earnest. The night sky has brought us some spectacular viewing of planets and the moon phases. Earth Day is April 22! TPML will have an Earth Day Event on April 23.This month, watch for the Lyrid meteor shower early mornings April 16- April 25. Peak time is April 22, 1 am Central time. But the full moon will limit observations! Mercury is in our night sky April 18 after sunset, WNW. Do not give up on Jupiter and the transits of Io and its shadow April 6 @ 8:52. Plus Europa and Ganymede also have events that night into the next morning. Keeping our fingers crossed for clear skies. Saturn is in good shape for observing, (magnitude +0.4, in the legs of Ophiuchus) rises around midnight or a bit later. The group at TPML will have the monthly star event the night of April 30. Venus is headed for a trip around the sun, look for Venus in June as an evening star.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

0305Y2K+16 Leaping into spring

Spring starts March 20! Vernal equinox… Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM CDT. Our Days are warmer and the nights are still cool. Has winter really gone up north to stay? As a steward to this planet, it is time to trim, clip and prune the homestead. We lose that hour of sleep, when we turn the clocks ahead 2 am on March 13th. Spring break begins that week! On March 5th early, before dawn, catch Mars and Saturn anchored near Scorpius. On March 16th, Mars is near Beta Scorpii early, before dawn. In the evening on March 16 around 10 pm, Ganymede and Io transit Jupiter. Watch for the black dots! March 20th, Jupiter will be near the moon that evening. Our friends on the TPML hill will be setting up to view the night sky, March 26th around 8pm. Watch for Leo, Gemini, Taurus and the Pleiades along the ecliptic. Orion is slowing moving down in the west.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

0207Y2K+16 Spring just 6 weeks away

Our local Ground hog did see his shadow. This means more winter days and nights for us. Not really! This month starts off with crisp cold nights to view the planets that line up for most of this month. Days are warm enough to have an early BBQ! Enjoy the cold nights, spring is only 6 weeks away. Happy Chinese New Year! February 8. Year of the Monkey! Look early before sunrise for Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Watch these wandering stars as they walk across the sky with the moon! First of the year paper work keeps me at the desk, getting the bugs out. Finally saw “the Martian”. Another good Sci-fi movie, added to my DVD library. Continue to locate the constellation Orion and Canis Major. Jupiter is under the hind foot of Leo. Mars is in Libra. Saturn is in Ophiuchus. The folks on the hill will gather to view the night sky, Saturday, February 27. Big write up about the group in the local paper.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

103Y2K+16 New Year, New Night Sky

The weather has turned cold and damp here in the heart of Texas. Finally winter after many warm nights the last weeks of December. New Year’s Eve was loud and loaded with the rocket’s red glare! Too cloudy to see any stars or the planets. January brings Saturn into view in the early morning sky with Venus. Starting January 4 and closer still around January 8. Look SE in Ophiuchus. Mars is near the star Spica, mid-month in the evening sky.  Jupiter makes a good target this month, look in Leo after 10pm. Orion is up and hunting in the evening after dark. Our friends up on the hill at the TPML will have the monthly stargazing gathering on January 30. We are due a few clear, cold nights this month, so enjoy the night’s sky.