Ahira's Hangar

Amateur Stargazing?
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Author:  Earthblood [ Thu Sep 11, 2003 3:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars

Mother Nature always seems to hold a salve to the hurts we are feeling.....
Hang in there bud, "this too, shall pass" they say...
(I still don't know who they are, but anyway....)
Cripple but free; I was blind all the time I was learning to see<i></i>

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Fri Sep 12, 2003 2:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars

Earthy, that is a lovely story about your little one. I can tell that you must be a wonderful father.

Danlo --
Things will get better with time. Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
****Tavern Wench of DOGMA, the Defenders of George Martin's Art****<i></i>

Author:  Damelon [ Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mars

The amount of interest in Mars has been interesting to follow. Although this is the closest Mars has been in 60,000 years, actually every 17 years Mars comes close enough to shine as brightly as it is now. What's the difference in a few thousand miles.

It's a great way to get to get the little ones interested in the sky though. They don't have the Apollo program like we had in our youth. <i></i>

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Mon Dec 01, 2003 6:14 am ]
Post subject:  moon watching

I couldn't help but gape at the moon tonight while driving home from work. It wasn't full, but still large...and orange...and it was gorgeous. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

Author:  Damelon [ Sat Dec 27, 2003 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: moon watching

I have, on my desktop, a display that shows the current phase of the moon. <i></i>

Author:  Earthblood [ Tue Dec 30, 2003 3:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: moon watching

Santa brought me & my son a telescope for Christmas!!!!!!!
Can't wiat for the full moon to get out & check it!
Not real powerful, but good enough to see craters & all!! Cripple but free; I was blind all the time I was learning to see<i></i>

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: moon watching

That sounds great, Earthy!
And Damelon, if you think to check, please see how the moon will be when we are at the Grand Canyon...moonrise over the Canyon would definately be a site worth seeing. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

Author:  Damelon [ Sat Jan 03, 2004 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: moon watching

Moon set looks to be about 3 in the morning at the Grand Canyon on June 28. <i></i>

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: moon watching

I don't know if I will be awake for the moonset, but be prepared for being dragged off for a walk in the moonlight if it's bright enough. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Sat Feb 07, 2004 1:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: moon watching

I ran into this on AOL tonight, and thought it was pretty cool. Tonight is the night of the "snow moon" by the way.

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is the Farmers Almanac's list of the full Moon names.

• Full Wolf Moon - January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January's full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

• Full Snow Moon - February Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

• Full Worm - March Moon As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

• Full Pink Moon - April This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month's celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

• Full Flower Moon - May In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

• Full Strawberry Moon - June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!

• The Full Buck Moon - July July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month's Moon was the Full Hay Moon.

• Full Sturgeon Moon - July The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

• Full Fruit or Barley Moon - August The names Fruit and Barley were reserved only for those years when the Harvest Moon is very late in September.

• Full Harvest Moon - September This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.

• Full Hunter's Moon - October With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean.

• Full Beaver Moon - November This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

• The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon - December During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.



Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Sun Aug 13, 2006 3:07 am ]
Post subject:  amateur skywatching

This weekend is the height of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. This year is supposed to be very good watching indeed!

Perseid meteor show 'the best of the bunch'

Sat, August 12, 2006


Park your lawn chairs in a dimmed area outside if you want to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks tonight.

A stream of small particles in space will move like a river as the Earth crosses through it sideways, creating "little flashing streaks," said Peter Jedicke, astronomy professor at Fanshawe College.

The tiny particles move very fast and create a "dramatic and exciting flash in the sky," he said.

Jedicke is former national president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Although there are generally about 20 meteor showers in a year, the Perseid is "the best of the bunch," he said.

It is the most reliable meteor shower, occurring annually around Aug. 12. It comes at a convenient time during summer, when observers tend to spend more time outdoors, Jedicke said.

The streaks of light are visible for less than three seconds and the longer streaks can be seen about once every five to 15 minutes, he said.

It won't be possible to see every streak tonight due to a recent full moon that will wash out the dimmer streaks.

It is possible to take pictures of the nightly display, he said. Just "don't lie in a lawn chair under a street light."

Looking to the east increases your chances of seeing the shower. Results are best later in the night.

"Just keep your eyes open. Patience and diligence are two things you need," Jedicke said.


Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

Author:  Menolly [ Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Amateur Stargazing?

Once again, the Perseid meteor shower is upon us.

Excellent Perseid Meteor Shower Expected Aug. 11-13

by Joe Rao
SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist

Every August, just when many people go vacationing in the country where skies are dark, the best-known meteor shower — the Perseid meteor shower — makes its appearance.

The "shooting stars" promise to deliver an excellent show this year to anyone with clear and dark skies away from urban and suburban lights.

The best time to watch for meteors will be from the late-night hours of Wednesday, Aug, 11 on through the predawn hours of Aug. 13 – two full nights and early mornings. Patient skywatchers with good conditions could see up to 60 shooting stars an hour or more.

History of the Perseids

The event is also known as "The Tears of St. Lawrence."

Laurentius, a Christian deacon, is said to have been martyred by the Romans in 258 AD on an iron outdoor stove. It was in the midst of this torture that Laurentius cried out:

"I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other."

The Saint's death was commemorated on his feast day, Aug. 10. King Phillip II of Spain built his monastery place the "Escorial," on the plan of the holy gridiron. And the abundance of shooting stars seen annually between approximately Aug. 8 and 14 have come to be known as St. Lawrence's "fiery tears."

We know today that these meteors are actually the dusty remains left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. Discovered back in 1862, and most recently observed in 1992, this comet takes approximately 130 years to circle the sun. With each pass, Comet Swift-Tuttle produces a debris trail along its orbit to cause the Perseids.

Every year during mid-August, when the Earth passes close to the orbit of Swift-Tuttle, the material left behind by the comet from its previous visits ram into our atmosphere at approximately 37 miles per second (60 km/second) and creates bright streaks of light in our midsummer night skies.

Excellent prospects this year

According to the best estimates, in 2010 the Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday.

The best window of opportunity to see the shower will be the late-night hours of Wednesday on through the first light of dawn on the morning of Thursday, and then again during the late-night hours of Aug. 12 into the predawn hours of Aug. 13.

The Moon, whose bright light almost totally wrecked last year's shower, will have zero impact this year; unlike last year when it was just a few days past full, this year it will be new on Monday, Aug. 9, meaning that there will be absolutely no interference from it at all.


What to expect

A very good shower will produce about one meteor per minute for a given observer under a dark country sky. Any light pollution or moonlight considerably reduces the count.

The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yields 90 or 100 meteors per hour. Anyone in a city or near bright suburban lights will see far fewer. [Video: Perseid

However, observers with exceptional skies often record even larger numbers. Typically during an overnight watch, the Perseids are capable of producing a number of bright, flaring and fragmenting meteors, which leave fine trains in their wake.

On the night of shower maximum, the Perseid radiant is not far from the famous "Double Star Cluster" of Perseus (hence the name, "Perseid"). Low in the northeast during the early evening, it rises higher in the sky until morning twilight ends observing. Shower members appearing close to the radiant have foreshortened tracks; those appearing farther away are often brighter, have longer tracks, and move faster across the sky.

About five to 10 of the meteors seen in any given hour will not fit this geometric pattern, and may be classified as sporadic or as members of some other (minor) shower.

How to watch

Aside from the predicted peak hours, Perseid meteor shower activity always increases sharply in the hours after midnight. We are then looking more nearly face-on into the direction of the Earth's motion as it orbits the sun, so the atmosphere above you scoops up meteors like the windshield of a car catching bugs. From around 2 a.m. until daybreak your local time, the Perseids promise to put on a good display, weather permitting.

Making a meteor count is as simple as lying in a lawn chair or on the ground and marking on a clipboard whenever a "shooting star" is seen. Watching for the Perseids consists of lying back, gazing up into the stars, and waiting. It is customary to watch the point halfway between the radiant (which will be rising in the northeast sky) and the zenith, though it's perfectly all right for your gaze to wander.

Counts should be made on several nights before and after the predicted maximum, so the behavior of the shower away from its peak can be determined. Usually, good numbers of meteors should be seen on the preceding and following nights as well. The shower is generally at one-quarter strength one or two nights before and after maximum.

A few Perseids can be seen as much as two weeks before and a week after the peak. The extreme limits, in fact, are said to extend from July 17 to Aug. 24, though an occasional one may be seen almost anytime during the month of August.

As a bonus every evening now through he heart of the Perseid meteor shower, three bright planets are tightly clustered just after sunset. Venus, Mars and Saturn are easy to spot in the southwestern sky as soon as darkness falls.

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York

Author:  Duchess of Malfi [ Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Amateur Stargazing?

If it ever clears up the next few nights, I will try to get outside to see them...depending on other factors like mosquitoes, of course. :wink: (Since it has been so hot, humid, and wet this summer, the mosquitoes are out of control this year. :( ).

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