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Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 19, 2019 1:36 pm

Mark this upcoming Thursday night/Friday morning (depending on your location) on your calendar. There may be a spectacular meteor shower originating in one of the obscure constellations near Orion. The expected peak is around 0450 UTC on Friday the 22nd (2250 the previous evening US Central Time).

This article has the details, including a star chart showing where to look and a world map showing likely visibility (weather permitting). 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 fantasia » Nov 19, 2019 10:43 pm

Sadly the weather does not look like it's going to cooperate here. We are expecting rain and possibly snow. Even if we don't have precipitation, it'll probably be cloudy. :(
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Nov 23, 2019 11:19 am

The sky was overcast here as well. The reports I've seen indicate only a minor uptick in meteor counts, nothing close to an outburst.

Now the spotlight turns to a predictable, reliable event: the close approach of the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, low in the evening sky after sunset. They are closest on November 24 but are worth watching before and after that date.

The farther south you live, the higher and easier to spot the planets will be. Down Under they will be high, but viewers there face the long twilight of midsummer.
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 fantasia » Feb 17, 2020 9:08 pm

Anybody getting up early tomorrow morning to watch the moon eat Mars? ;))
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 17, 2020 10:51 pm

The alarm is set, but I'm not sure about the sky clearing off in time (the snow didn't stop falling until just a few hours ago so the sky remains covered).
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 18, 2020 5:02 am

The clouds over your home have reached our area, stargazer: we have a low ceiling, with a good snowfall over night, and therefore not a hint of a clear peek at the sky anywhere. :(

fantasia wrote:to watch the moon eat Mars?

Now, there's a fun way of describing this. :))

Wondering if anyone here has been able to view the sight ...
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Feb 18, 2020 3:12 pm

We were on the north end of a large storm Monday, and received several inches of fresh snow. The sky was still cloudy when I happened to wake up around 3.30 this morning, so I was rather surprised that it was clear when my alarm went off at 5.30.

Fresh snow reflects the city lights well so the sky seems brighter after a storm. The moon was 11 degrees high but we were able to see it between some trees and a neighbor's house (I observed it with Ryadian's father).

Mars was fairly easy to see in binoculars at first, but as time went by and it got closer, it was harder to see. Also, there was a slight wind chill and the binoculars were a little shaky.

Disappearance was scheduled for just after 6am. Just as I was adjusting the binoculars for a better view, Rya's dad announced it was gone. So I didn't actually see the disappearance. But it was still fun to watch.

Reappearance was after sunrise so I went back to sleep instead.
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 » Apr 01, 2020 11:52 am

I'm not sure why, but I am quite excited for this astronomical event on Friday at twilight ... the passing of Venus through the Pleiades. Well, I guess I do know why ;;) ... I have always been drawn to Venus, in particular, and the Seven Sisters is the cutest star cluster ever. ;))

This Friday, April 3 looks to be clear for us here, so I am definitely heading out to view. It should be gorgeous, with the temperature right around the freezing mark.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Apr 01, 2020 4:10 pm

Thanks for mentioning that, Jo. I quite enjoy reading Bob King's blog entries on that site, since he lives just a few hours north of here near one of my favorite places, Lake Superior.

Alas, it looks like it will be snowing here Friday. ;))
t
He also mentions the planets gathering in the dawn skies; in the past couple weeks Mars has passed Jupiter and then Saturn. I've had a chance to see them a few times over that period.

Jupiter and Saturn will close to within 5 degrees of each other by May, then draw apart over the summer. In December they will be quite close together.

Side note: when Venus is bright and far from the sun, as it is now, it's fairly easy to see in broad daylight if you know where to look. One trick is to note its position (compared to a tree or other landmark) as soon as you spot it in the twilight. Then you can use that as a guide to look for it the next day or so, about an hour before sunset, compensating for it being earlier in the day. Once you see it, it's hard to miss.
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 » Apr 03, 2020 1:31 pm

Lake Superior is indeed one of the most beautiful places in the world, imho. :)

Did your snow come today, stargazer? (I guess that ? is more suited for the weather thread. :P)

I have also had the privilege of seeing Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter on my early morning walks. And this week most mornings have been brilliantly clear, allowing a beautiful view of that pre-dawn sky. I think it was Sky and Telescope who described the current movement of these three planets as Musical Chairs. ;))

Thanks for the tip about viewing Venus in the daylight hours. I caught it once when we lived at our former home, but have not tried here yet.

Alas, the skies are clouding over here for the Venus-Pleiades "cosmic hug". It was supposed to be clear, and maybe that will change yet, but it's not looking hopeful. I hope the rest of you have more success this evening.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Apr 03, 2020 8:18 pm

Our snow was minimal, Jo, unlike areas north of here. I'll add details in weather.

It's overcast for the Venus-Pleiades conjunction tonight, but the front page of spaceweather.com has a nice picture, and others in their gallery.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby johobbit » Apr 15, 2020 8:06 am

Yes, there have been some lovely photos posted of that Venus-Pleiades conjunction. Glad for these, at least, if we could not view it ourselves because of cloud cover.

This past week, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the movements of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in the SE. This morning (around 6:00 a.m.), the Moon looked like it was hanging on an invisible string below Saturn. To make things better, the temperature here was a cool -10C / 14F, so the air was clear and crisp. What a sight!
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Apr 15, 2020 11:57 am

I was fortunate enough to also view the grouping this morning. It was beautiful.

Jupiter and Saturn will be fairly close to each other all year, and will be among the year's astronomical highlights as the moon passes them each month or so.

Mars will also reach one of its every-other-year oppositions later this year, so it will also be at its best.
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 » Apr 20, 2020 8:08 am

Yes, the planet grouping is so striking. Over the past few days, Mars has been moving further and further away from the other two, but still a lovely sight.

This is not strictly stargazing, but related, in some ways:
Last evening, my husband and I were out for a long walk in the crisp, clear air (-5C / 23F). As we approached our home, we decided to go a bit further, walking west towards the end of our village. It was fairly dark then already, and we wanted to view Orion and Venus, in particular. All of a sudden, we spotted a satellite (not unusual), but then two, and three … 10-15 minutes later we had seen 32 go by, mostly all equidistant!! The majority of them came ‘out of’ Orion (the top right star, Bellatrix), then passed over brilliant Venus and on into the east. Quite the sight! They looked like a train of satellites marching across the sky. We were quite curious what was going on, to be sure.

As we were watching, fascinated, another NarniaWebber texted us, saying that he and his family were out watching the night sky, which reminded him of Moots, and then … that they had just seen an unusual sight: many satellites consecutively traveling across the sky. So, it was quite fun knowing that we were watching these at the same time. :) It also confirmed to my husband and I that we were not losing our minds. ;))

After arriving home, I found an article explaining this. Although its base reference is Oregon, we have no doubt this is what we also saw here in SW Ontario, Canada.
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Re: Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing

Postby stargazer » Apr 20, 2020 9:39 am

I enjoyed reading your description of the evening walk, Jo.

I actually had a similar experience a couple days ago. I went out for a routine Venus observation and noticed a rather dim satellite in the south, below Leo, followed by another, and then another. I mentioned it to Rya's father, who came out in time to observe more of them. The following night Ryadian joined us, and counted 33 satellites. Some of them were briefly about as bright as Jupiter, magnitude -2.5.

I found that heavens-above includes these Starlink satellites in its predictions. These "satellites on parade" are certainly different than the 'old days' of seeing just the occasional satellite.
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 fantasia » Apr 21, 2020 7:54 pm

This story amused me greatly... ;))
http://www.physics-astronomy.com/2020/0 ... -moon.html

I haven't had the best luck with the weather and stargazing lately, so I hope this one works out.
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