Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Feb 01, 2018 11:37 am

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

;)) Well, my baby woke me up at about 5:15am (I think, it was little fuzzy :P ). I did look out the window at that time and saw the very full moon, and the eclipse didn't appear to have started. I laid back down but got up around 5:45am? At that point it was obviously partially eclipsed. I got my husband up at 6:10am (my eldest son was already up because... he gets up too early :P ) and we watched it through the kitchen window until about 6:30am. Then we loaded everybody into the van and drove out to the country with the hope of watching it set. However, even though we saw it down to just the smallest slit, the moon dropped behind the clouds at about 6:50am and we didn't see it after that.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 01, 2018 8:16 pm

Indeed I did my good Hobbit. I was able to get some excellent viewing before going off to work. My attempts at photography with my little digital were far from excellent however. Instead of a moon I was taking pictures of some blurry bright pixie that must have been "photobombing" X( Despite straining to hold a steady hand it was all in vain. :((
I did however do somewhat better after arriving to work near a quarter too 7. With just a sliver of silver I tried the camera on the "smart phone" gadget the Mrs. talked me into getting. Perhaps it was my hands being more steady after my morning caffien intake, or the "smart" technology lived up to it's name. ( or the pixie got bored with bothering me ) But the photos were at least still, and the shadow was discernable.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 26, 2018 1:26 pm

It was 39 years ago today that a good friend from university (now Ryadian's father) and I were in Brandon, Manitoba for our first total solar eclipse. The weather was crisp and clear, with thousands of people traveling to the snowy Canadian prairie for a glimpse.

We joined many others in watching totality from the parking lot of a Husky truck stop just south of the Trans-Canada Highway. We were just north of Brandon and only 2km from the center line.

It was a glorious experience, and as people often do, we found ourselves asking "When's the next one?" as soon as it was over. The answer then was over 38 years in the future, August 2017. To college kids that feels like forever! ;))

Last August's eclipse was also a wonderful experience, made all the better by sharing it with friends from the forum. Here's to the next North American eclipse, on April 8, 2024.
"The eclipse will melt your spine!'

- Overheard in a telephone pictionary game, August 2017
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Mar 05, 2018 5:58 am

:D fantasia and friend Wiggle!

stargazer, what a memory! And to think it was in Canada. B-)

The past few nights have been unusually clear and cold, so we have had the privilege of observing the close proximity of Venus and Mercury in the rosy twilight of the western sky. Absolutely gorgeous.

And how I love to see Orion high in the SE early each cloudless evening. I never tire of that wonderful sight, with his belt pointing directly at bright Sirius below. ♥
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm

Your view of Mercury and Venus in the west sounds wonderful, Jo. To me there is something special about the winter twilight, those rosy colors promising grand views of dark starlit skies later in the evening.

I haven't seen the pair yet, due mainly to lots of clouds of late (not to mention three significant snowfalls, counting the one later today). Trees in that direction would also complicate things.

The first Chinese space station, Tiangong 1, is expected to reenter the atmosphere sometime in the next 6 weeks or so. In the meantime it can still be viewed on its occasional night passes. From this far north it is always low in the south and not nearly as bright as the ISS, so I've found it much more of a challenge to spot. As with the ISS and other satellites, heavens-above will provide viewing predictions for your own location.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jun 23, 2018 7:17 pm

Night owls may have noticed a bright orange light low in the southeast or south after midnight of late. This is Mars, a planet which much of the time is fairly unimpressive visually. But every 2 years or so, it comes to opposition - opposite the sun in the sky, visible all night, and generally at its brightest and best.

Every 15 or 17 years, Mars is especially big and bright, and this is one of those years (the last was 2003). Mars is already brighter than any star in the night sky and will soon surpass Jupiter to become the 4th brightest object visible.

It will continue to brighten and rise a little earlier each night until July 28, when it rises at sunset and shines all night. It will remain bright into September, but by then will be fading just as fast as it is brightening now.

These really favorable appearances come at a time when Mars is always low in the southern sky as seen from mid-northern latitudes, but from Down Under the view must be spectacular. Mars passes almost overhead as seen from the latitude of Sydney, Australia.

No matter where you live, Mars will be impressive the next couple months.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia_kitty » Aug 19, 2018 9:32 pm

I'm a little behind on this post, but I've really been enjoying the lineup of planets lately right after the sun goes down. Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars all in a row. We vacationed in Colorado last week and had pretty decent views, particularly if you were willing to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning after the haze had cleared.
We also stepped out several nights to watch the Perseids and saw several meteors streak across the sky.
I also chuckled at how many satellites we saw.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Aug 24, 2018 5:49 pm

Glad you got to see some Perseids, fantasia. It so smoky here it was hard to see much more than even the Moon.

We vacationed in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park some years back and we were all impressed with how spectacular the night sky is there.

Due in part to my more-northerly latitude, our view of the evening planets probably isn't quite as good as yours - Venus is close to the horizon even at sunset (usually hidden by trees), and none of the planets get very high in the sky.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Aug 29, 2018 4:39 pm

Doing some camping this weekend with friends. I hope to have at least some clear skies. I might even fit my telescope into the van.
The spot we go is away from most lights so the Milky Way should be not hard to make out if there isn't any haze from smoke.
Only drawback might be the pesky mosquitos X(
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