Amateur Stargazing?

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Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Sun Feb 23, 2003 12:01 am

My husband read me a newspaper article the other week that got both of us pretty excited. Apparently this summer Mars will be the closest it's been to Earth in something like 40,000 years and if you have a nice, clear sky you should be able to make out landforms with a small scope or good binoculars. Since we'll be camping out in the Dakotas this summer, we were bouncing up and down in anticipation of the clear skies and good view.
Are there any other skywatchers here? Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell<i></i>
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Damelon » Fri Feb 28, 2003 12:14 pm

Binoculars will not be enough to see much on Mars even if it's close. A telescope with it's higher magnification will give you a better shot of seeing something. Mars must be really close this year. Every 2 years Earth "catches" Mars in it's orbit, but Mars' orbit is much more ellipitical than the Earth; so not all passes are that close. Mars normally isn't much to look at, it being so small, but if it's close it looks as bright as Jupiter. Giant Jupiter and Saturn are more interesting for me to look at. Jupiter you can't miss, it's always bright. Saturn takes a little more work to look for, there are a number of stars that appear brighter, so you have to know the constellations a little better.

I found this article in Sky and Telescope about Mars:

skyandtelescope.com/obser..._374_1.asp <i>Edited by: Damelon at: 2/28/03 5:53:50 am
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby danlo60 » Fri Feb 28, 2003 2:03 pm

I, 2, share the love of stargazing--once u leave Albq. the night sky is amazing @ this altitude! Persieds! Whaaa! Leonids just left! but way cool meteor showers! Has any1 checked out The Atlas of the Universe, that u can go 2 by clicking the banner 2 this 4rum? And now Danlo looked in that direction, too. He remembered that snowy owls mate in the darkest part of deep winter, and so along with this beautiful white bird perched in a tree a hundred feet away, he turned to face the sea as he watched and waited.

Ahira, Ahira, he called out silently to the sky. Ahira, Ahira<i>Edited by: danlo60 at: 2/28/03 9:50:56 pm
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Fri Feb 28, 2003 4:46 pm

The desert sky is amazing! While camping at high elevations like Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon I've actually felt like I could reach up and hold the stars in my hands like diamonds...

Thanks for the tip Damelon! We'll be sure to take our little scope with us this summer! We'll be camping out in the Black Hills -- hope the sky is free of the light pollution we get here near Detroit! Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell<i></i>
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Damelon » Fri Feb 28, 2003 10:17 pm

That's a cool site Danlo. Makes one think about how small we are in the greater scheme of things.

Dutchess - The Black Hills should be a great place to stargaze. Mars will be in Aquarius at its closest, which is pretty low to the horizon at our latitude. That could cause problems if the atmosphere is turbulent, but the clear sky out there should help.

I have a friend who has a cabin in Michigan's UP. The sky is dark there and the stars are brilliant. It would be a poor spot for viewing Mars in Aquarius though, it's in the middle of the woods. <i>Edited by: Damelon at: 2/28/03 5:29:21 pm
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Sat Mar 01, 2003 12:19 am

I've been camping on the beach on Lake Superior on a still night, and the vast lake was a mirror to the thousands of stars glowing in the sky.

That is indeed a wonderful site that the banner links to, Danlo. Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell<i></i>
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby danlo60 » Sat Mar 01, 2003 4:56 am

My inlaws live in the Black Hills, Spearfish, 2 b xcat and yes the nite-sky is amazing there! I need 2 c the Aurora Borealis in my lifetime...dammit! And now Danlo looked in that direction, too. He remembered that snowy owls mate in the darkest part of deep winter, and so along with this beautiful white bird perched in a tree a hundred feet away, he turned to face the sea as he watched and waited.

Ahira, Ahira, he called out silently to the sky. Ahira, Ahira<i></i>
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Damelon » Sat Mar 01, 2003 8:39 pm

I've seen the Aurora Borealis from my front step, but the light pollution in the area made it look faded. I have to get up north in Wisconsin or Michigan to see anything. <i></i>
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Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Sat Mar 01, 2003 8:58 pm

Only once, when I was a teenager, did I get to see them, quite spectatular! Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell<i></i>
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Jupiter & the Moon

Postby Damelon » Sat Mar 15, 2003 1:00 am

Walking up the steps to the house just now, I saw Jupiter very close to the Moon tonight. Tomorrow they won't be so close. The Moon moves pretty fast. <i></i>
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Re: Jupiter & the Moon

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Tue May 06, 2003 5:50 am

I am looking very forward to seeing the stars and Mars in the Black Hills next month! Hopefully we'll have good weather at least once or two nights. We'll be camping in a tiny town called Custer, which is nestled right up to a huge state park and Wind Cave National Park (the two parks share a wild buffalo herd), so hopefully there won't be much light pollution.

Also, we've made camping reservations for two nights in August for a state park up a the tip of the Thumb, and managed to get a site right on Lake Huron. (That was the weekend we would have come to Chicago, if my boss had granted me just the one Sunday off). Someone over at the Watch just told me that it will be near the height of the annual meteor shower, but that the moon will be pretty full. I'll be rolling out my blanket on the beach anyway, just in case! Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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Re: Jupiter & the Moon

Postby Damelon » Tue May 06, 2003 10:22 am

Sounds like a good time! Dress warm for the camping by Lake Huron!

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Re: Jupiter & the Moon

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Tue May 06, 2003 3:18 pm

Neverfear! I usually take along a least a couple of pairs of sweats to sleep in!

The only time we've ever gotten caught short while camping is the last time we went out West. I packed mainly hot weather clothes because most of the time we were planning on being in national parks in Utah out in the summer. I packed a few sweats because I knew we'd be at high elevations at Bryce and in Colorado (speaking of which, you should see the stars out in the high desert sometime!!!!! ), but I wasn't expecting the blizzard that was so bad they had to shut down the roads while driving back! We stopped off in Glenwood Springs and bought the kids a bunch of those fuzzy fleece shirts and we layered like crazy! The first night and day we were at Rocky Mountain National Park, the last stop on our trip, it was snowing in the middle of June! Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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Re: Jupiter & the Moon

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Wed May 14, 2003 3:28 pm

Isn't that lunar eclipse tomorrow night? (Thurday, May 15)? Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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The Eclipse

Postby Damelon » Sat May 17, 2003 1:03 am

Had good viewing for the eclipse last night. The Moon was the color of a tarnished copper penny with a large darker area in the lower right quadrent of the disk. Seeing conditions were good here. There was a break in the clouds here for a few hours.

If you missed it, there is another lunar eclipse visible in North and South America on November 8, 2003. <i></i>
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