Forum

Share:
Notifications
Clear all

Astronomy: Adventures in Stargazing  

Page 35 / 40
  RSS
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

I appreciate the interest in my astronomy comments.  There is so much fascinating material to explore in this subject.

@jo. I am not sure if I actually saw the comet.  I didn’t get out to an area free of light pollution, although I drove out in the country north of the town in which I live. The sky was partly cloudy on that night. I used binoculars, but they did not help very much.  It was hard to find a dark spot for viewing even there in that rural area.  I was able to see Hale-Bopp in the 1990’s from that location, but the light pollution has grown much worse since that time.

@stargazer. I have always loved personal experience astronomy books. I still have the copy of Leslie Pelter’s Starlight Nights that I bought many years ago at the Chaffee planetarium in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are wonderful books. There is also 365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo, which is a planetarium in a book.  You can plan your stargazing by using the date for each night of the year. The astronomer is a companion at your side sharing the experience of the hobby with you. 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 10, 2020 12:50 pm
johobbit
(@jo)
SO mod; WC captain Moderator

Thanks for the recommendation re 365 Starry Nights, @Narnian78. I would like to look that one up. stargazer, have you seen this book?

And, yes, Narnian78, light pollution is quite the frustrating deterrent for viewing the night sky. Sad  

Sky & Telescope has now posted their Perseid article.  Always interesting and informative. Smile Our hope is to see some Perseids tonight, but if the clouds remain, then we will try early tomorrow morning, when clear skies are pretty much guaranteed. Will update here. Smile  

7,237 posts from Forum 1.0

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 11, 2020 8:59 am
Narnian78 liked
Varnafinde
(@varna)
Princess of the Noldor and Royal Overseer of the Talk About Narnia forum Moderator

I did - unfortunately - not get to see the comet (and I presume it's too late now).

But I had a wonderful hour walking outside under the stars (must be Varna's Elvish blood that's kicking in Giggle ). Three weeks ago now? 1:15 a.m.-2:15 a.m. Not a lot of stars, though - I guessed less than 20 visible stars altogether - too light, even light from streetlights and buildings probably caused the stars to be less visible.

I knew I should look for the Big Dipper - but I couldn't find it. So either the light made it invisible, or it was hidden behind a hill or a wood. Mind you, I cannot remember ever having seen it since I moved to that area twentyfive years ago. I remember watching Orion on autumn nights, but not the Big Dipper. So possibly it is behind something.

Later this year, when there are dark autumn nights again, I should have another walk and see what stars are visible from my place. Living on the outskirts of a big city (if you lot call a city with half a million people a big city) gives a fair amount of light pollution. So I should try to find the best angles to stargaze from.


(avi artwork by Henning Janssen)

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 11, 2020 3:22 pm
stargazer
(@stargazer)
Member Moderator

Varna, the Big Dipper is roughly due north and pretty low this time of year, so it might be hiding behind trees or buildings. The good news is that it never sets from your latitude (or any latitude over 45N) so it's always out, somewhere.

The Perseid meteors peak tonight, but be sure to take those "100 meteors an hour" statements with a grain of salt. That's under ideal conditions - no light pollution and having a view of the entire sky. Still, it's an "Old Faithful" shower that rarely disappoints.

It was clear here until a short while ago, when clouds abruptly appeared, but now they are breaking up and we have a spectacular sunset.

I was out this morning shortly after 5 am local daylight time and was reminded of how enjoyable that late-night summer sky can be. Venus was spectacular in the east, and all of Orion (except the lower left star) was now visible to its lower right. Gemini has risen above the trees to the east, and Mars and the Moon were also out. Very pretty!

@narnian78, I'm glad you've had a chance to read Peltier's book. I've had a chance to browse 365 Starry Nights but don't own it and haven't had an opportunity to read it closely.

But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 11, 2020 7:43 pm
Narnian78 liked
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

@jo

I saw a least two or three meteors early this morning in the northeast, where the Perseus constellation is located. I remember that years ago it was possible to see two or three meteors a minute, and that could go on for hours with hundreds of meteors.  A star wheel (planisphere) will help to locate the constellation, and binoculars are useful for scanning the area of sky.

 I have had my copy of 365 Starry Nights for at least ten years.  I keep old astronomy books, and some of them are over thirty or forty years old. They have a kind of charm about them just like many of the old novels in their vintage bindings. They provide much joy for book lovers.   I have kept some old issues of Sky and Telescope magazine in binders, although I have limited space in the apartment where I live.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 12, 2020 3:42 am
johobbit liked
johobbit
(@jo)
SO mod; WC captain Moderator

An hour walking under the stars is wonderful, @Varna Grin even if lights and buildings impeded the full view. I hope that in the Autumn you can find a suitable place for better viewing. Smile  

We use our star wheel not infrequently, @Narnian78, and really appreciate the wealth of information on there. It is always hanging in our kitchen for handy use.

For those wondering about a star wheel/planisphere, this is the one we have:

It has had many decades of use, and was especially handy on camping trips, where it was not at all cumbersome to carry on portages, hikes, etc.

@stargazer, that sunset sounds amazing! To comment on your fourth paragraph, I will have to go back a bit to the beginning of our own Perseid shower viewing ...

My husband, our daughter, and I headed out to just east of our village at 9:45 last night to view the meteors from this vista that offers a 360° view. The temperature was going down to 12C / 53.6F, so the air was extremely pleasant, and the skies pretty much clear. We brought folding chairs and cozy blankets, as we planned not to rush away. We got all settled, facing the NE, and began scanning the beautiful night sky. Bright Jupiter and Saturn were to our right, as they looked quietly down on the darkening world. We stayed until 11:15, and in that hour and a half, we saw 20 meteors, including one fireball! Glorious! We then went back home and watched for another half hour from our backyard, which gave forth five more meteors. Our backyard is quite treed, so our view there is limited to around 3/8 of the total sky, looking SE to South, 'though we can also see somewhat ESE and SW.

We just saw Mars above the nearby church building and trees as we headed inside at 11:45 pm. But we were on a roll, and decided to go to sleep for a few hours before hopefully arising around 3 to view during the shower's peak. At 3:20, I awoke (without an alarm—I think my subconscious even must have been excited!), and went to wake up our daughter. (I left my husband sleeping as he had to get up early to go into work today.) We stood outside in our backyard, at the edge of the soy field for 70 minutes (well, she sat; I stood Giggle ) and in that time saw 26 meteors. Grin Jupiter and Saturn were fading into a thin cloud bank in the SW, but ruddy Mars stood out in front of us. Then just before we went back inside at 4:40 a.m., I caught a glimpse of brilliant Venus rising in the east beyond the trees. Beauty! The church building blocked any view or Orion at that point, but when my husband and our daughter went out to view more a half hour later (I was fast asleep), they were then able to see the great Hunter in the sky. Smile  

We all went back to sleep to awake a few hours later after what seemed like an amazing dream of night-sky watching. A bit weary today Giggle but lacking sleep to see the Perseids was so worth it!

An astronomer acquaintance of our daughter's was talking with her about various viewings he has had, and somehow they got on the subject of solar eclipses. He mentioned the next total solar eclipse for North America is April 8, 2024, which is a special day in other ways too. Wink  

Oh, does anyone else not want to go inside in the middle of a meteor shower, in case, as soon as your back is turned, a spectacular one streaks across the sky? Yep, me too. Star   Tongue  

Well, this is rather lengthy, but it was good to document it here. Smile  

7,237 posts from Forum 1.0

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 12, 2020 1:45 pm
stargazer
(@stargazer)
Member Moderator

I absolutely love your descriptions, Jo. Accurate and poetic all at once, they evoke a real feeling of experiencing what you saw.

I went out twice during the night, once before midnight local DST and the other around 2am. I didn't see any Perseids but was not out as long as Jo. There were some scattered clouds, some haze from the humidity, and lots of city lights, so that wasn't too surprising. (I've only seen a few meteors from my urban setting, but did see one a few days ago while watching the ISS).

But it was still fun to see the Moon, just to the lower right of the Pleiades.

A friend called me yesterday with questions about the shower; her children were eager to see it. They did see a few meteors before the kids got tired.

I learned the constellations from a planisphere; it got a lot of use about 55 years ago. 😉 It's possible I still have it somewhere. It was invaluable, especially in those days before instantly accessible star charts online.

Posted by: @jo

Oh, does anyone else not want to go inside in the middle of a meteor shower, in case, as soon as your back is turned, a spectacular one streaks across the sky? Yep, me too.

Here, here! 

 

But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 12, 2020 6:17 pm
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

This is one of the three planispheres that I own.  I have used it for over ten years, and I am really pleased with its quality.  Its size is just right to use outdoors, and it is easy to read under red light.  The planisphere is durable and very easy to use. 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 15, 2020 4:41 am
johobbit liked
Varnafinde
(@varna)
Princess of the Noldor and Royal Overseer of the Talk About Narnia forum Moderator

I've got something similar to that planisphere. I think my dad got it from Reader's Digest or National Geographic roughly fifty years ago. I've seen it earlier this year, so I haven't lost it - but I can't remember straight off where I put it. I don't think I've ever used it out of doors. I should put it somewhere handy for picking up when I go for an evening walk.


(avi artwork by Henning Janssen)

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 17, 2020 4:41 am
johobbit
(@jo)
SO mod; WC captain Moderator

A planisphere is very handy and helpful, to be sure, Varna. Smile

Since the feel of beautiful Autumn is upon us (it was a bit less than 5C / 41F at 6 a.m. today), I have been able to start getting out on my early morning walks again. Ideally, I love walking under the night sky for a bit, into the dawn, then the sunrise. At this time of year, that means leaving the house between 5:45 and 6, and walking until 7. ♥ When I started out this morning, the waning Moon and Mars were quite close together in the SW. Beautiful! Turning towards the ESE, mighty Orion is stalking the sky, with bright Sirius tagging along ... always an awesome sight. Turning towards the east, no one can fail to notice the high brilliant eye of Venus. Love this time of year!

And in the evening, it sure is nice not having to wait until well after 10 pm to enjoy night sky viewing. Smile  

7,237 posts from Forum 1.0

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 6, 2020 5:56 am
stargazer
(@stargazer)
Member Moderator

Nice descriptions!

For many of the same reasons, I love this time of year. I enjoyed backyard campfires with friends both Friday and Saturday evenings. (Mosquitoes crashed the party). Friday night was mostly clear and we watched the stars come out. We found Jupiter by 7.55 pm, noting that in June the sun would have been well up in the sky at that time.

Yesterday I was hoping to see the Moon near Mars, but it was overcast. But around 6 this morning, I went out to see a view similar to Jo's - Orion in the southeast, Venus in the east, and the Moon to the upper left of Mars.

I'm reminded of something I read long ago, that it's certainly possible to enjoy the beauty of nature without knowing the names of anything - this can apply to the stars, or trees, or flowers, or birds. They're beautiful in their own right.

But learn the name of one, and it immediately stands out as special. Sirius isn't just a bright light, but an old friend we're welcoming back after a few months' absence behind the sun. In the evening, we're soon to say goodbye to bright Arcturus for another season. The stars mark the turning of the wheel of the seasons as surely as the calendar does.

But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 6, 2020 12:12 pm
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

Another astronomy book that I would recommend is Burnham’s Celestial Handbook.   The three volumes of this book have been in print for decades, although they have been expanded and revised.  It is a pleasure to look through the volumes and find information on almost any well known star, nebula, or star cluster.  The books are very easy to read, and the material is clearly accessible for both amateur and professional astronomers.  I have owned my set for about twenty years and love to look up interesting celestial objects just for the fun of it. If you love astronomy this would be a worthwhile purchase (I think my set was around $40 when I purchased it about twenty years ago), or you can probably find it in a local public library.  🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 6, 2020 12:51 pm
johobbit
(@jo)
SO mod; WC captain Moderator

Silly mosquitoes! @stargazer  Tongue   Giggle I'm glad you were able to see that early morning night sky, 'gazer. Isn't it wonderful?! And, yes, campfires are the best this time of year ♥ particularly when the cooler evenings arrive with no bugs! Dancing

Posted by: @stargazer

But learn the name of one, and it immediately stands out as special. Sirius isn't just a bright light, but an old friend we're welcoming back after a few months' absence behind the sun.

Hear-hear! This is so true.

Good to know about Burnham's Celestial Handbook, @Narnian78. As well as the books sounding interesting, the title is quite lovely. That word, "Celestial', is so beautiful. Star  

This morning on my early morning walk I had a few treats, but one beat 'em all:

First, I saw some stunning sheet lighting far south of us (nearer to Lake Erie), which flashed over and over, 'thought without a sound to me. Really beautiful.
And then around me, the glory of the burning eye of Venus in the east; Orion and Sirius, SE; ruddy Mars high in the west; the Pleiades at the zenith above; the Big Dipper standing on its handle in the NNW, among other astronomical treats.

I thought those were wonderful enough to begin this final day of September, but then ...

I was standing still for awhile at one point in my long walk, just taking in the beauty of the SE night sky, when something bright and moving caught my eye: a magnificent fireball!!! Shocked (just below mighty Orion), whose streak was a fiery orange; the ball itself was a brilliant green. It seemed to explode, leaving a smoky, slightly glowing, trail, which lasted 9 seconds! The streak, itself, prior to the explosion, was very long, bright, and relatively slow-moving. The brightness of the fireball, itself, would have been close to the brightness of the sun, in my brief sighting. What an unexpected and amazing gift!

I have submitted it to the American Meteor Society—such a fun and interesting process!

I do wonder if it is a very early meteor from the Taurids, which, I think, are known for their stunning fireballs.

EDIT: It looked similar to this shot, but of course in no way a static photo, instead highly dynamic and active! ♥

 

 

7,237 posts from Forum 1.0

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 30, 2020 7:41 am
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

@jo  “Celestial” may be the best adjective to describe something that happens in the sky. Yesterday I told someone at work that I had seen the “garnet star” (mu Cephei) many years ago, and she was amazed that the star was actually deep red in color.   I think think it’s worth looking for especially if you have a place to observe without too much light pollution. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 30, 2020 9:10 am
johobbit
(@jo)
SO mod; WC captain Moderator

Cool, Narnian78!

The American Meteor Society just posted their article on this morning's fireball. My submission was accepted. I am one of those ten people you can see on the map in Ontario, Canada. Grin Thus far, there have been reports from 14 States and 1 province (320+ people) who saw this amazing beauty. Smile  

7,237 posts from Forum 1.0

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 30, 2020 12:54 pm
Narnian78 liked
Page 35 / 40
Share: