Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Aug 07, 2017 12:51 am

Do enjoy your eclipse. :ymhug: There is no chance I could ever get to see this eclipse in Missouri, but the resident Astronomer tells me that there is a partial lunar eclipse visible from here, tonight or very early in the morning.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Aug 07, 2017 9:04 pm

You're right, wagga, there is a small partial lunar eclipse tonight for your part of the world. It's the partner to the solar eclipse in two weeks (they come in pairs, or occasionally triplets, thanks to orbital geometry).

I just was out under that big bright full moon for an excellent pass of the ISS. My observing site is a small hill in a park just west of the apartment, and tonight I had the pleasure of showing the station, along with Jupiter, Saturn, and a few bright stars, to a couple other people there enjoying the evening.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Aug 11, 2017 3:58 pm

The Perseid meteor shower (so-named because they appear to come from the direction of the constellation Perseus) are at their annual peak tonight, and seem to be getting a lot of extra media attention thanks to the upcoming eclipse.

Perseus rises in the northeast around midnight, so the shower is best after the radiant is higher in the sky. Good years can provide up to 80 meteors/hour but the bright moon will compromise that this year.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Aug 11, 2017 6:50 pm

I heard about the meteor shower. Unfortunatly the Mrs. and I will be to far gone in the dreamworld to see it.
I just recently was able to get a welder's lens. A #12. I know you recommend #14, but my selection is sadly limited. I was wondering stargazer. have you ever tried observing the surface of the sun through the telescope? If I were to set the lens on the front lens of mine, and set a white paper on the ground would that work :-\ :-\
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Aug 11, 2017 10:22 pm

That would probably work but it is not without its risks. Pointing the telescope by sighting along the tube (the usual method for basic scopes without automated modes or setting circles) means looking at the sun. The filter might fall off the end of the scope, and the focused sunlight could melt or damage the internal parts of the scope or eyepiece (I melted an eyepiece this way). There are solar filters specifically designed for scopes but they might be hard to come by at this late date.

That sounds pessimistic but all is not lost. Here is a helpful article that covers many aspects of viewing the sun safely, including filters and projection methods.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Aug 24, 2017 11:01 am

Perseid meteor shower: I set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. and spent two half-hour sessions outside (cozied up in my housecoat—it was a cool, clear night). While I did not see any fireballs this year (drat :P I love that sight!), I did view some glorious meteors. Our little village was utterly quiet, the sky was very clear, so it was a memorable time, to be sure.

Solar eclipse (partial—75-80% here in SW Ontario, Canada): whilst I would have loved to have been with the Mooters, that was not possible this year, but we did have relatively clear skies here: once the peak was reached around 2:30 p.m. EDT, the sky was cloudless and what a sight it was with my trusty solar viewers! It almost felt worshipful. Goosebump-inducing, definitely. The lighting was very eerie ... and beautiful! The chickens next door quietened down, as though confused. ;))

Going back, though, as the moon first encroached upon the sun (just after 1 pm), lofty cloud appeared. At first I was bummed, but when looking through the viewers, realized what a unique sight it was seeing them waft across the sun, almost like tentacles. Very mysterious and other-worldly.

The whole experience was kind of surreal, and I only wish it came around more often. But then it wouldn't be as special, would it? :P

Here's to April, 2024, when my area looks to be on edge of the path of totality. :)
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Aug 24, 2017 11:02 am

Perseid meteor shower: I set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. and spent two half-hour sessions outside (cozied up in my housecoat—it was a cool, clear night). While I did not see any fireballs this year (drat :P I love that sight!), I did view some glorious meteors. Our little village was utterly quiet, the sky was very clear, so it was a memorable time, to be sure.

Solar eclipse (partial—75-80% here in SW Ontario, Canada): whilst I would have loved to have been with the Mooters, that was not possible this year, but we did have relatively clear skies here: once the peak was reached around 2:30 p.m. EDT, the sky was cloudless and what a sight it was with my trusty solar viewers! It almost felt worshipful. Goosebump-inducing, definitely. The lighting was very eerie ... and beautiful! The chickens next door quietened down, as though confused. ;))

Going back, though, as the moon first encroached upon the sun (just after 1 pm), lofty cloud appeared. At first I was bummed, but when looking through the viewers, realized what a unique sight it was seeing them waft across the sun, almost like tentacles. Very mysterious and other-worldly.

The whole experience was kind of surreal, and I only wish it came around more often. But then it wouldn't be as special, would it? :P

Here's to April, 2024, when my area looks to be on edge of the path of totality. :D
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Jan 25, 2018 10:58 am

Who's hoping to watch the lunar blood moon eclipse next week? It's only a partial where I live, but I should be able to see some of it. :) Provided the weather cooperates that is.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 25, 2018 10:42 pm

This is the first total lunar eclipse for North America since September 2015, so I'd like to see it. However, I face challenges similar to yours, fantasia.

The long-range weather forecast indicates a cold spell coming up, with high temperatures the day of the Super Bowl (the Sunday after the eclipse) not reaching 0F/-17C. I may be a polar bear but that's a bit nippy. Skies permitting I'll probably be ducking in and out of the house to watch it (a far cry from that last one, which we could comfortably watch from chairs out in the yard).

The timing isn't good, however, as I'm too far east to see totality (centered over the Pacific). Totality starts at 0652 my time, but civil twilight (the strongest kind, and the one most people think of as dusk or dawn) begins at 0703 and the sun rises at 0734. Since the full moon is opposite the sun, it's going to be very low just when the show gets good, behind trees and houses as seen from here.

For more about this eclipse, including times and a map with visibility, see this page.

EDIT: This page may be more useful, at least in North America. It includes diagrams that show just how high the moon will be at the start of the partial and total phases for each of the 4 major time zones for the continent. (In my time zone it will be 17 degrees high at the start and only 6 degrees high when totality starts - well behind trees and houses as seen from here. Still, if the sky is clear, I'll give it a shot.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Jan 28, 2018 2:14 pm

From what on of h Twin Cities papers said today I might be able too catch at least the partial reddening of the moon just before it dips below the horizon Wednesday morning.
From what the article said this is even more rare in that it will be a "blue moon".
Weather is looking clear, so far, but as stargazer said it also will be on the chilly side. So dress warm if you plan on getting out there.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Jan 30, 2018 1:36 pm

I have my alarm set for 6am. I think the eclipse starts around 5am, but I don't care to get up that early hehe.
The plan is to bundle the kiddos into the car and then drive west where I know the trees end and the plains of Kansas begin... about 20 minutes away. Hopefully we'll find a good place to watch the partial eclipsed moon set. :)
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 30, 2018 3:44 pm

It won't be a full moon until midnight so technically we don't get a blue moon, this side of the Blue Mountains. But the eclipse is supposed to start at 10 pm here. And it is also a supermoon. This is a rare event that last happened in 1866.

However, at last we are getting some rain so it might be too cloudy to see much.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 31, 2018 5:58 pm

Any fun stories of eclipse viewing to share?

I was lucky in two ways this morning. First, the frigid weather I mentioned above won't arrive until tomorrow, and this morning's temperature was a balmy -1C with a hint of a cold north wind.

Second, the predicted snow blew through around 2am and didn't last long. I set the alarm for 6am (shortly after the eclipse began) and it was still cloudy, but woke up again at 0625 to see the eclipsed Moon out the window. It was already almost half gone and was only about 10 degrees high in the west.

The view was quite convenient but I still went outside to get the big picture. Jupiter, Mars, and a few stars were also visible but clouds remained in the south and east. Twilight was quite noticeable by the time totality began at 0651. The Moon was beautifully framed by two trees, just above the house across the street (thankfully the trees are bare for winter, or I wouldn't have seen much). By the time civil twilight began at 0703, the Moon was sinking too low behind the trees to the west to be seen, and it was quite faint. So I saw about 10 minutes of totality. Definitely a unique view compared to those events when the Moon is high in the sky.

The next lunar eclipse for North America is another total one next January.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 31, 2018 9:27 pm

Unfortunately we didn't see it, though both the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald showed some lovely pictures of our True Blue Blood Super Moon in today's press. Well before the time the eclipse was due over Sydney, the sky in the hottest corner of the Hot place was so overcast nothing could be seen. But no rain, either, annoyingly.

At least the weather has cooled down somewhat. We will have another blue moon at the end of March.

PS. This moon has been nicknamed the Super Blue Blood Moon. :p
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby coracle » Feb 01, 2018 2:39 am

It was a rainy and overcast day here, so I didn't venture out to try to see it.
I doubt there was anything to see except black sky and rain. :(
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Feb 01, 2018 10:15 am

Did you get to see the eclipse, friend Wiggle? wagga and coracle, sorry to hear it wasn't 'viewable' in your respective locales. :(

stargazer, your experience sounds wonderful. :D

fantasia, I'd love to hear more about your viewing!

While the Moon was visible on Eclipse Eve ('though through clouds—very haunting), by the time the next morning came, we had dense cloud cover. :( I could've wept. But this morning's walk almost made up for it. The bright full Moon was fairly high in the sky around 7 a.m., shining through fitful clouds, giving the sky a wonderfully mysterious aura. I couldn't take my eyes off it, with the strange light that radiated in the surrounding clouds. As I turned east again, to my delight, over the fields came bounding 9 deer! (Unfortunately they were headed directly towards a hunt camp close by ... wish I could have warned them. :P) They flew across the quiet road I was on and continued northward. At the top of a hill, four or them kept going; the other five stopped for a time. (This somehow put me in mind of the Black Riders in The LotR at Amon Sûl ;)) —while four pursued Gandalf, five stayed to attack the hobbits.)

Anyway, I digress :ymblushing: 'though I hasten to add the dawn this morning was stunning. Even a bright sundog as the sun rose!

In nightly news, we are enjoying watching mighty Orion rise in the evenings. What a sight! ♥
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