Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

The community lounge for non-Narnian discussions.

Moderators: johobbit, stargazer

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » 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.
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18541
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

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.
Puddleglum
NarniaWeb Junkie
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Nov 20, 2009
Location: Minnesota USA
Gender: Male

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.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21819
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

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. ♥
Image

Sig by Narnian_Badger :)
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15428
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

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.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21819
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

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.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21819
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » 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.
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18541
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

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.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21819
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

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(
Puddleglum
NarniaWeb Junkie
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Nov 20, 2009
Location: Minnesota USA
Gender: Male

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » Dec 15, 2018 10:34 pm

I tried spotting our green comet buddy tonight with no luck. There were high clouds and I didn't quite know where to look. (Though I know it was close to the Pleiades.)
Has anybody else seen it?
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18541
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Dec 16, 2018 5:39 am

I have been wanting to spot the comet, fantasia, but we have had so much cloud cover lately that there has not been a chance. :( Sky & Telescope has an informative article on Comet *looks up its name again :P* 46P/Wirtanen.

I was really wanting to see some Geminids at the shower peak a few nights ago, but alas ... clouds! This shower can yield up to 120 meteors an hour! The only disadvantage is that this time of year up here can be rather chilly (to put it mildly), so one has to bundle up to be meteor-gazing, versus the Perseids in August when not even a sweater is needed, usually.

The very few times there has been a break in the clouds in early morning, I have loved to see the bright eye of Venus shining in the south-east in the dawn hours. What a sight. I never tire of it.
Image

Sig by Narnian_Badger :)
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15428
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Dec 16, 2018 6:21 pm

Clouds have also hindered my attempts to look for 46P. In addition to the every-increasing moonlight there's also all the city lights here. I've seen a few comets from the suburbs, but it's usually a challenge.

I went out with 10x50 binoculars early this evening but didn't see it. If it were a small point source instead of a blob I might have had a chance with all the lights. I may wait until the moon is out of the picture to try again, but for a good look I'd have to drive to the country.

I've also enjoyed the spectacular view of Venus in the morning (with dawn not coming until close to 8 am, it means I can observe without having to get up too early ;) ). The ISS may approach it in brightness (and Iridium flares can surpass it), but there's something about its constant brightness that is special.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21819
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » Dec 19, 2018 3:18 pm

We went out and looked the following night and I thought I might, maybe, possibly, could have seen it? ;)) It looked kind of fuzzy and greenish through my binoculars but we were also in town and I couldn't hold my binoculars perfectly steady. ;))
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18541
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Dec 20, 2018 12:17 pm

That sure sounds like other comet reports I've seen. :)

The clouds are back in these days and it even rained overnight. Now that's rare...

Even with clouds and thick fog, however, there were a number of sightings of a bright fireball over the area around 2 am this morning, from observers spread out over about 100 miles. The reports on the American Meteor Society page give magnitude estimates of -15 to -21 (brighter than the full moon) even under those conditions. There is a video here and many observers reported sounds as well.

Alas, I was fast asleep at the time.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21819
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jan 15, 2019 10:26 am

That fireball sighting is so cool, stargazer! Why can't they come more often when we're awake and just happen to be looking out the window or outside at the time? :P

I'm eager for the total lunar eclipse for the Americas this Sunday night ... as long as the weather keeps its "clear" forecast, which is after a potential snowstorm, so time will tell.
Image

Sig by Narnian_Badger :)
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15428
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jan 21, 2019 11:13 am

The sky was perfect here last night for the Full Wolf Moon eclipse. :D The only thing was the frigid temperature, near -40 F or C, including windchill. I went to sleep early (8:30 pm), to awaken around midnight, in the midst of totality. I bundled myself up and headed outside to that awesome, utterly quiet sight. Our village was still and sleeping, so my time alone reveling in the eclipse was unforgettable. Because of the bitter cold, I was in and out a fair bit from just after midnight until 2:15 a.m., when the penumbra was last visible. What a treat! I then went back to sleep for another 3 hours, even awakening in time to go for an early morning swim (didn't think I'd get that in, with being up a couple of hours in the night ;))). It was SO worth getting up in the middle of the night for that marvelous celestial sight!

What/how were your respective experiences?
Image

Sig by Narnian_Badger :)
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15428
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests