Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

The community lounge for non-Narnian discussions.

Moderators: stargazer, johobbit

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jan 21, 2019 12:46 pm

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!
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21929
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » Jan 30, 2019 6:54 pm

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.
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18752
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 16, 2019 2:55 pm

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. :)
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8374
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Jul 16, 2019 7:48 pm

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.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21929
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 16, 2019 10:57 pm

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 & arêtes. 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.
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8374
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Jul 18, 2019 6:51 am

What a beautiful, vivd description of the lunar eclipse, wagga. I could readily see it all in my mind's eye. Thanks for that! ;)
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15797
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » Aug 10, 2019 8:42 pm

Saturn, the Moon, and Jupiter sure look cool tonight. :D
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18752
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Aug 11, 2019 3:43 am

@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)
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8374
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Aug 14, 2019 7:58 pm

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.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21929
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Oct 09, 2019 11:15 am

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!
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15797
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Oct 09, 2019 2:47 pm

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.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21929
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » Nov 06, 2019 1:12 pm

I saw that Mercury is transiting the sun on Monday. :D Hoping to catch that. Currently the weather looks like it will cooperate.
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18752
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 08, 2019 5:27 pm

Here is the rundown on the transit. It looks like it will already be in progress when the sun rises here.

Unfortunately, it requires optical aid, unlike Venus. I'll see what I can whip up over the weekend. ;))

Monday morning may be clear here, but it's expected to be the coldest morning of the season so far, with temperatures around 7F/-14C.

I haven't seen a transit of Mercury before and this is the last one for US viewers until May 2049, when I'll be...well, really old. ;)
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21929
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Nov 11, 2019 11:12 am

I was so hoping to see Mercury's transit of the sun this morning, but alas, we have our first snowstorm of the season ;)) (albeit a tad early for us), so there is absolutely no chance.

Did anyone catch it?
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15797
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby fantasia » Nov 11, 2019 11:16 am

A long ways away from you Jo, but we have the same storm system blanketing us this morning. No view of the sun at all so I was a little disappointed. Especially since it's supposed to clear off in a couple hours.
Here's to 2049! :P
User avatar
fantasia
Site Admin
The Watchful Admin
 
Posts: 18752
Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Location: Kansas
Gender: Female

Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 11, 2019 1:22 pm

Sorry you missed it, Jo and fantasia!

Short version: I was able to see the last half of the transit. :)

Long version: It was cloudy all weekend and even snowed last night. The forecast for today showed improvement (about 45% cloud cover). It was overcast until about 6.30 this morning, but then the sky cleared.

Temperatures were close to zero F and wind chills were in single digits below zero.

The University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History had a public viewing session which I attended. They were there before dawn setting up about half a dozen scopes (including 2 10-inchers), despite the cold. There was a steady stream of people coming and going, and one of the staff estimated about 150 had attended. The sky was actually almost entirely clear the whole time I was there (about 10.30 to end of transit at 12.04), but is clouding up now.

Kudos to all for keeping a cheery, helpful disposition despite shivering. One of the scopes was quite popular since it was nearer the building and thus out of the wind (at least sometimes).

It was very reminiscent of the 2012 Venus transit though Mercury was smaller. Several of us toughed it out to last contact and took turns glancing at it as it exited the sun's face.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
User avatar
stargazer
Moderator
 
Posts: 21929
Joined: Mar 28, 2004
Location: by a campfire

Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests