Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby SummerSnow » Sep 28, 2015 6:28 pm

I'm sorry that it was cloudy, Jo. :( It's really the worst when you can't properly see it due to clouds (or due to light pollution, actually).

I watched the lunar eclipse with most of my family (sadly, Valia had already left). We had a pretty good viewing with limited light and clouds. The moon was simply beautiful through all of the stages of the eclipse that I saw. I had stayed up late as it was and I decided not to stay up any later to watch the eclipse end, but I stayed out there for at least a couple of hours, I think. The moon was very bright, when we first went out! I was using the camera a bit, so I was having some contortions in my vision due to closing one eye and looked at the extremely bright moon with the other! But it was quite lovely, even with the mosquitoes and vision issues.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Sep 28, 2015 7:34 pm

My husband and I went for a walk last night planning to be back before the eclipse started. Good thing we took our camera with us (intending to get super moon shots) because I misread the time the eclipse started and it started while we were walking. We actually stopped and started snapping pics very quickly. My hubby had to figure out the correct settings and all that. The poor kiddos were wondering what was wrong with their parents. :P
We got home, and our kiddos cooperated and fell asleep very quickly, so we busted out the telescope and looked at the fully eclipsed blood moon close up. We attempted to take some photos but because when you hook the camera up to the telescope, the telescope becomes the lens and A. it's hard to even find the moon, and B. it's very hard to focus it once you do, our super zoomed in pics were a bit blurry. We'll have to work on that. ;) But I was quite pleased with the majority of pictures we did get.
Interestingly enough, because we were out driving around tonight, I saw the moon rise and it was waaaay more impressive than the super moon last night (which was a good deal higher when we were first able to see it above the trees). No camera sadly.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Varnafinde » Oct 03, 2015 2:54 am

Seen from my angle the moon was hardly red at all, just dark grey. So I had no feeling of a blood moon. It was still a fascinating sight.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Oct 10, 2015 8:50 am

Yesterday (Friday) morning I enjoyed a spectacular view to the east just as twilight was lighting the sky. Bright Venus was close to Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion, and just below it the Moon, Jupiter, and Mars made a fairly compact triangle about 5 degrees on a side.

The timing was rather lucky in that I'd only been out a few minutes when clouds rapidly moved in from the west and obscured the view.

In a sign of the times, someone walked by on a nearby sidewalk, eyes glued to his phone, apparently unaware of the beauty above.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Oct 10, 2015 9:25 am

Sure glad some of you saw the lunar eclipse. The photos that have been posted are :-o wowser!

stargazer, that sounds absolutely lovely. Friday morning just before dawn was when I, too, viewed the planets in the eastern sky. Venus was like a floodlight; near to it, Regulus; the waning Moon (still a strong light); ruddy Mars; bright Jupiter; and then a brief glimpse of Mercury on the horizon before a low line of clouds covered it. What a sight!


stargazer wrote:In a sign of the times, someone walked by on a nearby sidewalk, eyes glued to his phone, apparently unaware of the beauty above.

Arrgghh, don't they know what they're missing? Apparently not. :P Look up, people, look UP! The glory in the heavens is far better than any TV show or movie ... or phone screen! 8-|

Aside from wonder of that stunning view on its own, my eyes circled around the skies, so beginning to the left of the planets (turn with me as I revolved from the NE to the SE)... the Big Dipper; Cassiopeia; up near the zenith, the Pleiades; then mighty Orion, with its belt pointing down to Sirius ... and back to the planets again. I'm probably missing some, but those are the ones that really stood out to me. ♥

Autumn is such a wonderful time for night-sky viewing with the dark arriving much earlier and the sky is filled with such glorious goodness in the lovely, cool temperatures.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Oct 10, 2015 7:52 pm

I have not posted on here in awhile, but the Mrs., and I just got in from enjoying a grand blaze in the fire pit. Sadly the thin clouds blocked all but the brightest stars. Though we were treated to a passing glimps of the ISS.
I have noticed the show Venus, and Mars is making in the morning. Missed seeing Jupiter, maybe I just get out a little too late.
I was hoping to see some action in the way of a meteor shower. Someone said we are due for one this weekend. Anyone know anything of this?
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Oct 11, 2015 5:20 am

I did not see Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the Moon Friday morning when I guess they were all really close together, but my little family decided to do some backyard camping Friday night/Saturday morning and when I got up and went to go inside at about 6:30am, I did see all of the planets and moon. It was quite a sight. :)
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Oct 25, 2015 7:31 pm

Sounds like fun, fantasia!

The early-morning conjunction show isn't over yet. This morning around 6.30 local daylight time, I enjoyed the view of the two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, just 1 degree apart, with much dimmer Mars looking on from just a few degrees away. Spectacular!

Venus will pass Jupiter the next few days and pass close to Mars November 1-3, with the Moon passing by a few days later. Read more here.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Oct 27, 2015 12:01 pm

It's been cloudy the past few mornings, and I'm not sure I've been up early enough to see the planets anyways. Hopefully I'll get a chance soon. :)

In other space news, apparently there is some kind of space item that's going to impact Earth on November 13th.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -november/
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Dec 05, 2015 10:03 pm

The morning sky is still the place for planetary action this month. Mars, Jupiter, and Venus are all in the southeast before dawn, though not really close together. Before long Saturn will rise out of the dawn to join them, and later in January Mercury arrives, making it possible to see all 5 naked-eye planets at once.

But we don't have to wait that long for great things to watch. This coming Monday morning, December 7, a crescent Moon rises quite close to bright Venus. Later that day, the moon will pass in front of the planet for much of North America. Venus should be visible in daylight, especially with the moon to point the way.

Also that morning, the Moon-Venus pair will point the way to Comet Catalina, which at 6th-magnitude will likely require binoculars from all but dark skies - but comets are unusual enough that if the sky clears here I'll be up in the wee hours then. Read more here.

Catalina continues to rise into the northern skies as the month passes, making it easier to view from the Northern Hemisphere (until recently it was only visible from the Southern).
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jan 20, 2016 2:54 pm

I would love to catch at least one sighting of this—5 planets in the pre-sunrise hours. Being winter here now, there is often abundant cloud and snow, but I will be grateful for even one morning of a clear view SE to SW. :D
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 20, 2016 4:28 pm

My husband got up early to see that planetary line-up but said it was too cloudy also. They said we would see it pre-dawn, which makes it about 5.00 am for a good viewing.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Thanks for mentioning this, jo. It's cloudy here but I'm hoping to give it a shot when it does clear up next week.

The article notes that it has been 11 years since all 5 naked eye planets were visible at once. I consulted my records and found that I didn't see them all at that time; Mercury was too elusive. Hopefully we'll all meet with some success this time!

The news media today was all abuzz about a new hypothetical ninth planet based on orbital analysis of Sedna and other Kuiper Belt objects. Interesting stuff!
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Jan 23, 2016 9:23 pm

was hoping to get a look when I get up for work, but it's too cloudy, or I'm running so late I forget.
Saw some articles on "Planet 9" as some are already calling it. It would be quite the find for the amature skywatcher. How big is your best lens stargazer?
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 01, 2016 7:23 pm

Puddleglum, it's likely that planet is around magnitude 22, beyond the range of most large telescopic surveys to date.

The clouds finally parted overnight so I tried finding all 5 planets this morning. There were still some clouds and while I was able to spot Mercury low in the southeast, it was actually Saturn, higher in the southeast, that eluded me (due to clouds and twilight), preventing me from catching all 5 planets this time.

It may be a few days before I can try again thanks to the big snowstorm rolling into town tomorrow.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Feb 27, 2016 3:10 pm

What a thrill to see that elusive Mercury, eh?! During the peak weeks of the 5-planet viewing, I was able to see them thrice. Clouds covered the sky much of the time during those two weeks, but thankfully three mornings were gloriously clear and I have a grand viewing vista just eastward outside our village, by a beautiful old silo. And brilliant Venus never fails to put me in put me in awe. But across that expanse of sky, from SE to SW, the 5 planets hung. Glorious!

Some other big news is the fireball of January 30, 2016 at 6:15 p.m. EST. I was talking with one of our sons on the phone and just happened to wander over to the dining room window to look out over the darkening fields, when to my great joy, a long, bright streak with a ball on the end appeared in the SE sky. It probably lasted 2 seconds, but what a sight! Our Geoff heard me exclaim over and over "oh man, what was that?". ;)) I reported it on the American Meteor Society, and obviously was not nearly the only one who saw it that night. But the area in North American in which it was seen was very large: VA, DC, PA, MD, NC, NY, NJ, DE, MA, Ontario, OH, CT, WV, KY, MI, VT, TN, SC, NH and GA—967 people reported this spectacular sighting. :D Truly unforgettable!
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