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Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby narnialuver » Nov 21, 2011 5:19 pm

Cool Ya I looked with my binoculars. but I didn't see much
That's a cool video I saw it on the weather channel
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Dec 05, 2011 10:53 pm

This upcoming weekend (Saturday morning North American time) features something you may want to see: the last total lunar eclipse until April 2014.

It's best viewed in the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and eastern Asia. Western North America sees it around the time the moon sets early in the morning, while Europe and much of Africa see it in progress as the moon rises. (A very general world map showing visibility can be seen here - scroll down past the technical stuff, and this article discusses North American viewing prospects).

The partial phase begins at 1245 Universal Time; totality lasts from 1405 to 1457 UT, and the partial phase ends at 1618 UT (conversion from Universal Time to your timezone can be found online; for example US Eastern Time is UT - 5 hours).

Clear skies!
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Aslanisthebest » Dec 10, 2011 10:17 am

Ah, I was able to see the stark-clear sky last night with the moon so beautifully in the sky, but though I wanted to, I did not wake up to see lunar eclipse! :( My mom saw it, though, and said it was beautiful. I guess my sister and I will have to wait until 2014...
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Dec 10, 2011 12:12 pm

I didn't even set the alarm for this morning's eclipse since it sets during the partial phase (for shame! :ymblushing: ) but happened to wake up at the right time anyway. I had a good view out the west-facing picture window of the moon about 10% covered as it sank in the west. It looked very much like the top picture here, taken in neaby Wisconsin. Spaceweather has some other nice pictures, incluiding a nearl-total eclipsed moon setting over Colorado's Longs Peak.

Next up is the December solstice, marking the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day in the Southern. It comes December 22 at 0530 UT (2330 the previous evening in my timezone, US Central).
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 10, 2012 8:03 pm

*sends out a call to NarniaWeb's astronomers* ;))

This is the warmest January in recent memory here, so I've taken advantage of the warmer nights to watch brilliant Venus rise ever higher in the evening skies. In only 5 months comes one of the rarest sky events of all: a transit (crossing) of Venus across the face of the sun. Stay tuned.

Last week saw the peak of a meteor shower. Skyandtelescope.com had this to say:

Have you ever seen a single Quadrantid meteor? Astronomy guidebooks say the Quads are one of the richest annual meteor showers, with peak rates of 60 to 200 visible per hour under ideal conditions. But many lifelong skywatchers have never seen a single one. (emphasis added)


That last part refers to me. ;)) I'm usually too lazy to go out in the wee hours of the coldest time of the year. But imagine my surprise when I went outside the morning of January 4 to try to spot Mercury (failing miserably) but caught a bright Quadrantid through hazy, city-lit skes. I can only imagine what the shower must have looked like from a dark sky location.

And this evening I finally managed to spot the new Tiangong 1. johobbit and other visitors to the Town Square may recall my earlier attempts to spot this Chinese space station, all of which failed. (Tonight's pass was particularly favorable, and I was glad to see it).
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jan 11, 2012 11:45 am

Not using my usual maroon colour, given all the quotes. :P

DOT wrote:What I really like watching is the moon, odd as that may sound. For one thing, it's easy to find. ;)) For another, it's appearance changes quite a bit. I shall never forget the awe of staying up late to watch a lunar eclipse.


I do too, DOT. A full moon tends to 'get in the way' when it's high in the sky and we're trying to stargaze :P but I do so love the picture of a moon rising behind bare winter trees, or peeking out from scuttering clouds. Each of the moon's phases is so beautiful.

wolf wrote:Same here... although if I was given a choice between a trip in space and a trip to the bottom of the ocean, I might just pick the ocean... ;)) though it's it's similarities to space that first got me intrigued in the Mariana Trench...

Wow, what a choice: I love both the night sky and the deep ocean, so I couldn't decide: I'd have to try both. ;))

It's wonderful to read your sky-watching reminiscences, stargazer. And I'm sure you could go on for pages yet. :D

fantasia wrote:But I do love going out in the country and looking up in the night and stars. :D

:D fantasia. And one of my favourite memories doing this, among others with NarniaWebbers, was at the Moot this past summer, both at your place and at the farm. Very, very memorable and special. :)

stargazer wrote:narnian_at_heart, I'm glad you got to see the Southern Cross! I've wanted to see the southern constellations for a long time - and it would be another reason to travel Down Under. :)

Ditto and DITTO! :D How exciting that must have been, n_a_h.

Speaking of Orion (near the end of page 2), I have enjoyed seeing it recently while rising in the ESE sky in the early evening hours. Since it disappeared from my view during my morning walk, I'm making sure to get out around suppertime to see it again. So majestic! And the burning eye of Venus is glorious in the SW around and after twilight, with Jupiter shining high in the south. And, before sunrise, it's fun to see Mars and Saturn in the sky ... not too far from each other (from an earthling's perspective :P). As for the Big Dipper, it is a neck-stretching exercise to look at this huge, beautiful saucepan for too long, as it's directly above. @-)

As for the Little Dipper, skyandtelescope reports that on Thursday, January 12
In this coldest time of the year, the dim Little Dipper hangs straight down from Polaris after dinnertime as if (per Leslie Peltier) from a nail on the cold north wall of the sky.


Awesome that you caught the Southern Lights awhile back, narnialuver!

That clip of the earth zooming by below as seen from the ISS is so cool, 'gazer!

Welcome to this topic, Adeona! :) Do you live in an area where the night sky is quite visible?

Bella wrote:I guess my sister and I will have to wait [another total lunar eclipse] until 2014...

Likewise, Bella. Sadly, it was cloudy here. :(

stargazer wrote:In only 5 months comes one of the rarest sky events of all: a transit (crossing) of Venus across the face of the sun. Stay tuned.

*looks forward to that (with proper eyewear)* Wow!

'gazer wrote:Last week saw the peak of [Quadrantid meteor shower]

Not only was it somewhat cloudy here then, but I had to be up very early the next morning to head out of town for the day *weeps* otherwise I would have set my alarm for 1:30-ish to try and catch a glimpse. Here's to next year! It sounds like one awesome shower. It's great you saw one, stargazer.

'gazer wrote:And this evening I finally managed to spot the new Tiangong 1.

Excellent! :D I have yet to track it down. We've had so many clouds this winter ('though with basically no snow :().

We have two -8 Iridium Flares early tonight: it's clear and sunny now, but yet clouds are to move in this afternoon, in front of precipitation (first rain, then snow). I'm still going to try and spot them though. It's obviously not as easy, plus when there's a clear sky, the fun is to be the first one to see the satellite moving through the sky well before it flares up. We have a few bright ISS passes upcoming ... again, depending on the 'overcastness' of the sky.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jan 19, 2012 1:31 pm

One of our sons just emailed me this. Goosebumps, anyone? 'Tis so breath-taking. And, as Geoff wrote, "here's something cool, especially when you think of all the intricacies that lie on this one planet, yet looks just like a marble".

EDIT: Just got back from my first snowy walk of this winter season (yes, 'tis rather late because it's our first major snowfall :-o ) and, despite the billowing, snow-filled clouds earlier today, the sky remarkably cleared, giving way to a clear, cold sky studded with stars. Venus, Jupiter, and Orion were especially magnificent. And now, I'm looking forward to a -2 ISS pass in about ten minutes. :) EDIT 2: I totally misread the heavens-above chart: the pass was this morning. :ymblushing:
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 23, 2012 3:13 pm

Thanks for posting that, jo. Always amazing to see the earth over the moon's 'magnificent desolation.'

And there's nothing quite like the crystal-cler night sky that first night after a snowfall...even if we have to wait until January to see it for the first time in a season.

Several large solar flares have occurred of late, bringing auroras to the high latitudes. It may be worth keeping an eye to the heavens for an additional display over the next few days. More here. (It's been a long time since I've seen the Northern Lights, thanks to this prolonged solar minimum; I'm looking forward to seeing them again soon).
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Feb 09, 2012 7:38 am

And there's nothing quite like the crystal-cler night sky that first night after a snowfall...even if we have to wait until January to see it for the first time in a season.

Hear, hear! Although, we have had little snow to speak of this year, so I have missed that sight of a sparkling, starry sky with the glistening white ground glittering 'round about. *weeps*

Anywho, speaking of crystal clear, this past night was one of those ... I went out on an early morning walk this a.m. (around 6-ish) and was awed by the moon shadows from that nearly full orb (barely waning from February's full Snow Moon), with ruddy Mars hanging high above it in the SW. But, best of all, I was finally able to catch a good glimpse of the space station, Tiangong 1 \:D/, which was launched from China late last September (see 'gazer's last paragraph). Hereto, I had not been able to spot it, and even though the magnitude was not strong (0.7), the sky was so clear that it was easily visible as it traveled unblinkingly from the W to SSW, arching over the treetops, passing between Mars and the Moon, which was a really cool sight.

Having not seen a good showing of an Iridium flare for quite awhile now, I am looking forward to a -7 mag flare tonight at 18:47:51 (EST). Here's hoping the clouds arriving this evening will hold off until after that time.
:D
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 10, 2012 10:03 pm

Glad you were able to catch the Chinese space station, jo!

I've not seen the ISS or an Iridium flare in a few weeks now. Were you able to catch that flare the other night?

And now for something completely different: a Narnia reference on skyandtelescope.com: :)

The dwarfs are for the dwarfs

Seeing it pop up on the home page made me smile. :)

Soon I'll be heading outside to see the Moon in the general vicinity of Mars...if I wait another hour Saturn will be up as well.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Feb 14, 2012 9:50 am

Yes, we did. :) The sky were clear at that point, and the viewing, excellent. The satellite showed so sparkly as it flared up. Last night there was a -3.3 ISS pass: we haven't seen one that bright for awhile. The space station traveled almost directly overhead (SW to SE) across the sky's vast expanse, speeding along just above Orion. Wonderful!

Love that Narnia reference on skyandtelescope, stargazer.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 16, 2012 6:06 pm

I just had a suprise of a lifetime, ( well, of the day anyway ). the young wiggle, and I were just exiting the local mall, when I looked up into the clear sky. As expected I saw Venus, and Jupiter in all their bright glory. But to my amazment there was another bright body nearly in line with them, almost dead centre :-\
My first thought was that there could not be anyother planets so soon close. But I then noticed that the middle "planet" was moving :-o
I realized that I was in fact observing the International Space Station. Not only that, but it's amazingly close pass to Jupiter. Part of me toyed with the thought of what if they collide :-\ Thankfully it was a narrow miss #:-s
Such wonder we miss when we fail to look up once in awhile.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Aslanisthebest » Feb 18, 2012 5:46 pm

Are those two very, very bright things Venus and Jupiter, then? :O

I came in here to ask what those two very bright "stars" in the sky are, because I've been noticing them consistently. That's so cool of they are two planets!! If not, I'll give a description--they're both very, very bright, in the same spot every day and they appear before the sky gets dark.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 18, 2012 9:19 pm

Yes they are planets. The amazing thing to think about when seeing them is the fact that Venus is actually closer to the Sun than Jupiter. It makes for a bit of a optical illusion, and I am sure that stargazer could do a better job than I of explaining than I.
If I recall, Mars, and Saturn also are making an appearance, but later in the evening.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Ithilwen » Feb 18, 2012 9:58 pm

Any tips on how I can find these planets in the sky? Every time I find a bright star that I think might be a planet, it always turns out to be Sirius. :|


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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 19, 2012 9:07 pm

Ithilwen.

The best advice I can give you would be to go to ahobby shop that carries astronomy gear, telescopes, and such. They should have a star chart. Otherwise a bookstore might have one, or a booklet with one in it.
Then look up, and see what's where it should not be.
Depending how interested you are look for a current Farmer's Almanac. They typically have something giving dates, and time when planets show themselves. They also have dates for some of the more active meteor showers.
Other than that, I can only suggest you search second-hand stores for a telescope. It is quite a sight.
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