Archive for January, 2012

Francis Schaeffer, one of my greatest influences, was born 100 years ago today. Blessed be his memory, and may the LORD bless his family, especially his wife Edith, who is still with us as far as I know.

Wikipedia Biography

The Shelter – A Francis Schaeffer Site

L’Abri Fellowship International

Who Was Francis Schaeffer? Credit to this link for the photo above, and H/T to my friend Michael H

Sometime when I have a little less on my plate I’ll tell a bit of my own debt to Rev. Schaeffer.


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The founder of Edmund Optics has passed away at age 95. May his memory be for a blessing:

Norman Edmund, Optics Entrepreneur, Dies

Edmund OpticsĀ® Mourns the Loss of Founder, Norman W. Edmund

My homebuilt reflector telescope is an Edmund instrument, as the 8 inch mirror was ground from an Edmund mirror blank, and several other key components were ordered from Edmund, including the diagonal secondary mirror and mirror mount, the eyepiece mount, and my original two eyepieces. I’ll always remember when my big box of telescope-making goodies from Edmund Scientific came, back in 1978. Thanks, Mr. Edmund, for helping make my telescope dream possible! In tribute to Mr. Edmund, I’ll rerun this photo of “The Light Ship,” as well as a composite photo of the Moon and several planets, all photographed through The Light Ship:

Below: The Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter & Galileans, Saturn, and Uranus, photographed at various times with 8″ reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera, all at the same magnification. Click for larger view.

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Looks like a week of clouds and snow, not promising for astronomy. :0(

But looks like a couple of momentous new discoveries have occurred in the worlds of ancient Judaism and Biblical studies:

Ancient Jewish scrolls found in north Afghanistan

Earliest fragment of Paul’s Letter to the Romans?

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Overall it’s been an unseasonably warm winter here in Minnesota, with hopes to resume the warmth in the near future.

But not today! Brr! Subzero temperatures with worse windchill made it not a good morning to crawl out to the shed observatory and haul the big scope out, so in my relentless quest to document the Moon’s progress, here are a couple of photos that I shot with the small scope through the kitchen window (and as you can see, through some ground clutter as well):

Above: 7:47 AM CST 1-19-12 (13:47 UT). Actually the most detailed of the two shots, though the Moon is partially blocked by a larger branch.
Below: 7:50 AM CST 1-19-12 (13:50 UT)

60mm refractor telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view.

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Not necessarily my clearest lunar photos in every case, but an authentic document of the last four days in the history of the Moon …

Above: 12:36 AM CST 1-14-12 (6:36 UT), with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece. The Moon was “blinking” through rushing clouds as it rose in my east-southeastern sky.
Below: 7:24 AM CST 1-15-12 (13:12 UT), 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece, in my southwestern sky.

Above: 6:22 AM CST 1-16-12 (12:22 UT), 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, very close to being directly south in my sky.
Below: 8:09 AM CST 1-17-12 (14:09 UT), 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, in my south-southwestern sky.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view.

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6:40 CST 1-13-12 (12:40 UT), 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view.

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The moment of greatest Full phase occurred at 7:30 UT 1-9-12. Here’s the Moon four hours and 42 minutes after that:

Above: 6:12 AM CST 1-9-12 (12:12 UT).
Below: 5:41 AM CST 1-10-12 (11:41 UT). Both with 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece.

Above: A closeup of the east central portion of the Moon at 5:36
AM CST 1-10-12 (11:36 UT). The dark area at top is the Sea of Tranquility, the dark area adjoining it to the lower right is the Sea of Fertility. The two most prominent craters near the terminator are Langrenus (in the Sea of Fertility), and Petavius to the south. 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow.

Below: I love the hues of the sky in deepening twilight, and Venus will be an ever more radiant part of the western sky after sunset for the next few months. Here are three quick snapshots of the southwestern sky, which I took through a window at the manufacturing plant where I work.

5:25 PM 1-9-10:

5:26 PM:

5:41 PM:

As of 1-10-12, T-Minus 147 days until the 2012 Venus Transit.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view.

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