Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 04, 2016 11:53 pm

According to timeanddate.com, the full moon of November 14 will be the closest full moon to earth since January 1948 and will not be this close again until 2034. It adds that it will appear about 7% larger and 16% brighter than the average full moon (these numbers differ than those quoted on some other sites, which may be referring to the variations from the full moon at apogee, farthest from earth).
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Nov 10, 2016 8:47 am

So is it the early morning hours of the 14th? Or the evening of the 14th? I know I've missed a couple events due to misinterpretting the time.
Looking forward to it either way. :D
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 10, 2016 11:01 am

It will be early morning in your time zone (though seeing it the night before should be just about the same). Full Moon comes at 0752 in our time zone, but by then the Moon will have already set.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Nov 13, 2016 7:19 pm

The moon is quite lovely tonight. :D But to me it doesn't look as big as some of the other supermoons I've witnessed. I know it's still a few hours to go, so that might be why.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 15, 2016 9:10 pm

I viewed the Moon both Sunday evening and Monday morning, and it was bright and quite pretty.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 25, 2017 1:45 pm

For almost 20 years now, watching for Iridium flares - that very brief, very bright flash of light from the communications satellites - has been part of stargazing. They're fun to watch and give another chance to show the sky to others.

But it appears that these will be going away in about 18 months with the arrival of the next generation of Iridium satellites. Read more here: Get your Iridium fix before it's too late.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jan 26, 2017 5:03 pm

Gymmie and David West, those photos on the previous page are beyond amazing! *is in awe* What celestial glory!

Well, well, that news about Iridium flares is quite disappointing. It was you, stargazer, who introduced me to these, and I have had regular viewing over the years, to my great delight. The anticipation of a flare, then seeing who could be first to view it in the sky as it starts quite dimly, then the brightness of the brief flash ... I'm really going to miss these. Ah well, I shall try to get as many in as I can over the next 18 months. Thanks for the heads up, for sure!
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Feb 09, 2017 8:13 am

So I guess there's a partial lunar eclipse and a comet this weekend? Gazer, do you have any more info?
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 09, 2017 2:41 pm

The eclipse comes Friday evening, around sunset for North American viewers, so from your location the moon will be rather low (about 7 degrees high in the east) at mid-eclipse (6:44 pm local time). Technically this is a penumbral eclipse, meaning that the moon never enters the darker part of the earth's shadow and so it is noticeably dimmed rather than looking like part of it is missing. Still, it should be worth looking at if conditions permit. (the eclipse ends at 8:55 pm your time but the shadow will be invisible before that). Read all about it here.

The comet will be more of a challenge thanks to the Moon. It's a morning object now, a magnitude 8 fuzzball that will require binoculars and a pretty good idea of just where to look. This article has descriptions of what to look for and charts showing where to look. This comet is passing so close this weekend (7.7 million miles) that it's moving quite fast. It's in southern Hercules this weekend, so it won't rise until after midnight and won't be very high before about 3 am.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 10, 2017 7:00 pm

Our sky was clear this morning, but the clouds arrived this afternoon just as forecast. There was an opening in the clouds around 7pm tonight, so I was able to catch a short glimpse of the eclipse just after its peak.

Anyone else get to see it?
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Feb 10, 2017 7:06 pm

I did. :D It was soooo gorgeous with the high clouds that surrounded it. I wish I had my good camera on me, but we were out running errands. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't have had as good of a view if we weren't out running errands. ;)
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Mar 29, 2017 5:58 pm

Little Mercury is putting on its best evening show of the year for those of us in mid-northern latitudes. It's all by itself low in the western sky around 8.15 pm local time, fairly easy to spot if you have a clear view in that direction. Read more here.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Jun 30, 2017 10:29 pm

Was near Isle Mann. Last weekend for a rendezvous. Got up around 2:30 as usual to check the outhouse door, and discovered a beautiful clear sky. The Milky Way was clear, and sharp, as were the constellations. The ISS passed over somewhere near the southeast, but not two minutes later I am sure I saw another bright object pass on a more northern route :-\ Is there something else up there I am missing? I also was able to track a very blurry object for a little while, but eventually lost it as it also was headed a NNW path.
Add one shooting star, and it made for a chilly, yet satisfying late night stroll.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jul 01, 2017 4:05 pm

Sounds like a wonderful time, Puddleglum!

Satellites other than the ISS are often visible, with the brightest being the brief but spectacular Iridium flares. The Chinese space stations Tiangong 1 and 2 are also often visible, and while dimmer than the ISS they can be brighter than online predictions indicate.

There are a variety of online sites for satellite predictions and identification, but the one I use most is http://www.heavens-above.com. You'll need to enter your location (city-level is adequate though Iridium flares are extremely sensitive to location).
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Jul 22, 2017 6:38 pm

I am starting to look forward to the big eclipse. I even talked the boss into giving me the day off. Now all it takes is the old marsh-wiggle luck to kick in, storm clouds, called back to work, health, etc. X(
Before I forget. I was pricing out a spare lens for a welding mask, so I could have something safe to look at the event without frying my retina. Does anyone have a suggestion as to some kind of rating system these things have :-\
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jul 23, 2017 12:17 pm

Puddleglum, back in the old days they'd recommend #14 welder's glasses.

Now, eclipse viewing glasses are readily available from sites like amazon and skyandtelescope.com. The rating to look for on these or any glasses is ISO12312-2-2015 (with or without the 2015).
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