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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Jan 21, 2019 12:46 pm
by stargazer
Glad you were able to enjoy the view, jo!

Yesterday was perfectly clear during the day, if chilly. We had some friends over in the evening so I was able to share eclipse viewing with about half a dozen friends (several were eclipse veterans).

The night was brisk (air temperature around 0F with a little wind chill), but not as invigorating as Jo's temperatures.

Clouds were predicted to move in overnight in advance of snow today (which has arrived), so by the time the umbral phases started (9.34pm local time), the sky was slightly hazy with some bands of very thin clouds. We were able to observe out on the deck, which faces east and south.

We also were in and out of the house a lot due to the temperature. By the time we reached totality, the sky was hazy and it even seemed foggy in the south (in the area of Sirius and Orion, which is also the direction of the Minneapolis city light glare). The surroundings were darker, not only due to the eclipse but the haze overhead. The moon was dark orange and quite pretty.

By the time totality ended (11.44pm), the moon was in a relatively clear area of the sky, though the rest of the sky was pretty hazy. We watched until the moon was about half uncovered and then called it a night. Very impressive!

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Jan 30, 2019 6:54 pm
by fantasia
Haven't had a chance to post in this thread yet, but I bundled up with coats and blankets and headed outside about 20 minutes before totality. :) My husband and I enjoyed some views through our telescope and got one pretty decent photograph. But the cold chased me back in so I didn't watch much more after that.

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Jul 16, 2019 2:55 pm
by waggawerewolf27
Here is moongazing in style! It was a partial lunar eclipse early this morning, as I woke up just after 6.00 am. With blinds opened, the moon, almost full, was gazing almost directly at me. So from the cosiness of nice warm blankets I gazed as the largely full moon gradually turned into a sort of gibbous moon. The slightly fuzzily out of shape right hand margin solidified into a bit, then half the Moon then a bit more than half so that suddenly it was a crescent moon. The radio came on, & when I looked back again the Moon, or its remaining crescent, had dipped further towards the western horizon. A quarter of an hour later, Moonset had taken place, blocked by the line of the Blue Mountains, the moon, itself, still in partial eclipse. All I saw was pink sky as the Sun rose further. Another fine day, icy cold, even at 7.00 am at 3 degrees Celsius, with Dorothea Mackellar's "pitiless blue sky" awaiting me. Time for me to rise & shine. :D

We have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing in July of 1969, watching a series of documentaries about it. Jodrell Bank was mentioned a fair bit. Did you know that south of the City of Parkes, half of New South Wales, away, is one of our Radio Telescopes, famously used as a relay transmitting station in those moon landings? Known fondly as "The Dish", its role in the 11th Apollo mission was related in an Australian film called, obviously, The Dish.

When exactly did the last moon landing happen? Our eldest daughter, whose birthday it was yesterday, had just been able to sit up unsupported to watch it on TV, when it took place. Naturally we took a picture of her sitting on the floor watching that Moon landing about to take place. :)

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Jul 16, 2019 7:48 pm
by stargazer
Thanks for your account of the lunar eclipse, wagga. It'd be awesome to see an eclipse framed by mountains.

Skyandtelescope.com had a recent article that discussed the complications of getting the Apollo 11 images to earth; it mentions both Parkes and Australia's Honeysuckle Creek antennas. Interesting points in it include the note that NASA originally did not intend to transmit the lunar EVA at all, partially due to the added weight and complexity of bringing cameras and transmitting equipment (things we take for granted today). Squalls near Parkes and the position of the Moon above the horizon from various sites also played a part.

In a related note, Saturn was within 1 degree of the full moon early this morning (North American time). The Moon was so bright the planet was hard to spot without covering the Moon with a finger or tree branch.

The final flight, Apollo 17, was on the moon December 11-14, 1972.

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Jul 16, 2019 10:57 pm
by waggawerewolf27
stargazer wrote:Thanks for your account of the lunar eclipse, wagga. It'd be awesome to see an eclipse framed by mountains.


I doubt that your ideas of mountains would really match the Blue Mountains, which, though high enough to get occasional snow flurries, from Lawson to Katoomba & Mount Victoria, sometimes in winter, & which are definitely chillier than down in the Nepean Valley, are more like a series of tablelands, with deep gullies running through them than peaks, cols & arĂȘtes. From here they are more like a wall across the Western horizon, running from North to South. The 3 men who first crossed the Blue Mountains, Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth, managed to do so by following the ridges rather than the gullies. The Blue Mountains are still heavily wooded with eucalyptus trees, which once upon a time gave off a bluish haze which is why this part of the Great Dividing Range is called the Blue Mountains. More like a long straight ridge rather than the picturesque mountains of what I have seen of the Rockies or in Europe.

Never mind, it was awesome enough that throughout this morning's eclipse (17th July), I didn't actually have to get up out of bed until it was all over, bar people shouting for breakfast. ;;) I'm glad that you liked my post & thank you for the timing of that Apollo 17. It has given us some memory of how old was our eldest daughter - a premmie by 2 months by the way - when she was able to sit up independently. Those were the days when a premmie birth as low as 2 lb 10 oz would freak out mothers. Just over a kilo.

It would have been awesome to see Saturn as well, but no, I didn't notice it there. Probably concealed by the Earth's creeping shadow.

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Jul 18, 2019 6:51 am
by johobbit
What a beautiful, vivd description of the lunar eclipse, wagga. I could readily see it all in my mind's eye. Thanks for that! ;)

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Aug 10, 2019 8:42 pm
by fantasia
Saturn, the Moon, and Jupiter sure look cool tonight. :D

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Aug 11, 2019 3:43 am
by waggawerewolf27
@johobbit, I'm flattered. :ymblushing:

fantasia wrote:Saturn, the Moon, and Jupiter sure look cool tonight. :D


Yes, I believe so, having seen them last night. Aboriginal lore suggests that when the three ladies dance in a line, & when the koalas fight each other, there will be a drought. (The planets, not sure which ones though, & if they include the moon as well)

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Aug 14, 2019 7:58 pm
by stargazer
The planets did look quite pretty when I saw them last, but we've had some clouds, rain, and even tornadoes (south of here) as of late.

The Perseid meteor shower is just past peak, but some may be visible if your sky is clear. City lights and the big full moon will interfere, however. The shower favors the Northern Hemisphere but some may be visible from equatorial regions.

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Oct 09, 2019 11:15 am
by johobbit
This question is for stargazer, or for anyone else who wants to answer:

On my early morning walks at this time of year, there is a star group (constellation?) that is right below Sirius. It looks like a 'T', but the top crossbar is slightly concave. Three stars are across the top, the middle star being the top star of three on the downward part. The whole thing is on a slant. I have often wondered what that is, and here is the place to ask, so ... what is it? ;)) (*)

Of course, to the higher right of Sirius is mighty Orion, always a spectacular sight, and one I almost gasp at on my walks, even though I know it is there. So stunning!

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

PostPosted: Oct 09, 2019 2:47 pm
by stargazer
Jo, I think you're describing the main part of Canis Major, the constellation Sirius belongs to. (A diagram is here. Since we're seeing it shortly after rising the orientation will be slightly different than shown there).

I've been up to see Orion and friends a number of times of late, and even in the city lights it's an impressive sight.

(I recall reading one time that Canis Major has a number of first-magnitude stars that are quite impressive in their own right, but happen to be overshadowed by the glory of Sirius).

Monday evening I was out of town to look at fall colors, and just after sunset the sky was a vibrant orange color near the horizon with purple spreading out over most of the western sky. It was very pretty. Later I noticed online pictures describing the 'volcanic colors' of the sunset that day, a result of a Russian volcanic eruption in June.