Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Community Education’ Category

Reports of yesterday’s solar eclipse are coming in from all over:

From Journey To the Stars in the Philippines: Crescent Sun At Sunrise

From SpaceWeather.com: Fantastic Eclipse

From Sky and Telescope: May 20th’s Solar Eclipse

From soulblindministry in Arizona: My Solar Eclipse Video

And here’s my report: The sky was perfect for our party of family and friends who gathered at the neighborhood park to view the eclipse. I projected the Sun’s image into a makeshift projection box using my 60mm f11.6 refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece. We also used Eclipse Shades from Astronomers Without Borders, which I highly recommend. The direct view of the eclipsed (and uneclipsed) Sun with these glasses was not only clear but positively dramatic.

I simply note the local time on May 20, 2012, with the photos below, but for those interested in Universal Time, the photos were taken between 23:45 UT on May 20, 2012 and 1:34 UT on May 21, 2012:


The Sun viewed via projection at 6:45 PM, just over one half hour before the beginning of the eclipse. Look closely and you may discern three sunspot groups, which, stretching from about “eleven o’clock” to “four o’clock” are designated 1486, 1484, and 1482 respectively.


The uneclipsed Sun shining brightly at 6:53 PM.


7:18 PM, only a minute or two after the Moon started taking a “bite” out of the lower right limb of the Sun as viewed from our location.


7:30 PM.


7:44 PM.


7:47 PM.


My niece and great nephew, a mother duck and duckling, and the partially eclipsed Sun at 7:48 PM.


Party attendees sporting Eclipse Shades at 7:48 PM.


7:49 PM. Someone (maybe my great nephew) thought it looked like the Cookie Monster had gotten hungry!


7:51 PM. Others were photographing the projected image and even sending images to friends – I’m told that my sister elsewhere in Minnesota had pictures from our party up on her Facebook page while we were still at the park!


7:54 PM.


My wife (left) and two friends at 7:55 PM, enjoying the view via Eclipse Shades, which were a complete success.


7:56 PM.


7:59 PM, the Sun’s subdued light giving a lovely ambience.


8:01 PM.


8:03 PM. Four-year-old astronomer Ayden, my great nephew, shows off his Moon picture, traced in the ground before his feet.


At 8:15 PM, attendees continue to view the eclipse using Eclipse Shades.


8:19 PM.


8:21 PM.


At 8:29 PM, the Sun begins to sink behind the trees on the horizon.


8:29 PM.


The eclipse was still in progress at 8:34 PM, a few minutes before sunset.

All with my usual LG VX8360 cell phone camera. We also viewed Venus just after sunset – only 16 days before the transit, and later on back home a few of us viewed Saturn with my large reflector. “A great time was had by all.” And if you’re close to my location at the time of the June 5 Venus Transit, come join us!

Read Full Post »

I’m truly honored to have been nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by Kay of Kay-Kay’s Bird Club. It’ll be a great opportunity to honor some good folks whose blogs I appreciate, though I’ll admit I’ve hardly even had time to read my own lately! But keep watch for my own nominations.

Speaking of birds, my heart is always warmed by the arrival of the new ducklings and goslings of the year at the neighborhood park. Three proud pairs of Canada Goose parents have been devotedly caring for their goslings since about the first of May, and just this morning I spotted the first family of enthusiastic little Mallard ducklings, attended by their intensely watchful, constantly quacking mother, a regular helicopter parent:

There was a lovely halo around the Sun yesterday, caused by ice crystals high in the atmosphere. 10:25 AM CDT May 9, 2012:

I’ve been working on a simple solar projection box for general solar observation, not to mention the upcoming 5-20-12 partial solar eclipse (annular for fortunate folks in the American Southwest), and of course, the 6-5-12 Venus transit. It needs a little work, but here’s the Sun at 10:33 AM CDT May 10, 2012 (15:33 UT), using the 60mm refractor with 17mm eyepiece to project the image on white paperboard. Note the rather large sunspot group currently in view. Ignore the lighter patches – they’re just reflected glare – I’ll be looking for something else less prone to glare:

Here’s the waning gibbous Moon at 6:12 AM CDT May 10, 2012 (11:12 UT), 8″ reflector telescope with 25mm eyepiece:

As of May 10, 2012, the upcoming Venus Transit of June 5/6, 2012 is T-Minus 26 days away, and counting. Here’s yet another plug for my community education class.

10:26 AM CDT May 10, 2012 (15:26 UT)
Angular diameter 43.71 arc seconds
18.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 35,473,212 miles (57,088,600 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow
12:41 PM CDT May 3, 2012 (17:41 UT)
Angular diameter 39.11 arc seconds
24.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 39,649,337 miles (63,809,423 km)
18mm eyepiece

7:14 PM CDT April 22, 2012 (00:14 UT 4-23-12)
Angular diameter 33.12 arc seconds
33.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 46,812,338 miles (75,337,236 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow

6:28 PM CDT March 24, 2012 (23:28 UT)
Angular diameter 22.95 arc seconds
52.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 67,571,683 miles (108,746,083 km)

4:10 PM CST February 12, 2012 (22:10 UT)
Angular diameter 16.24 arc seconds
70.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 95,450,953 miles (153,613,419 km)
18mm eyepiece

1:48 PM CST February 8, 2012 (19:48 UT)
Angular diameter 15.82 arc seconds
71.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 98,020,580 miles (157,748,833 km)
18mm eyepiece

2:37 PM CST January 5, 2012 (20:37 UT)
Angular diameter 13.19 arc seconds
81.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 117,572,894 miles (189,215,232 km)
2:21 PM CST November 29, 2011 (20:21 UT)
Angular diameter 11.46 arc seconds
89.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 135,265,885 miles (217,689,541 km)
4:18 PM CST November 20, 2011 (22:18 UT)
Angular diameter 11.13 arc seconds
91.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 139,346,992 miles (227,254,246 km)
12:03 PM CST January 5, 2011 (18:03 UTC)
Angular diameter 25.58 arc seconds
48.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 60,611,164 miles (97,544,214 km)
10:02 AM CST November 27, 2010 (16:02 UTC)
Angular diameter 44.72 arc seconds
20.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 34,669,885 miles (55,795,771 km)
12:40 PM CDT (17:40 UTC), November 5, 2010
Angular diameter 59.94 arc seconds
2.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 25,866,740 miles (41,628,483 km)

Unless otherwise noted, 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera, perfect for capturing those small moments in the history of the universe. Click to enlarge, though the Venus photos won’t get any bigger.

“We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception. We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse. We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.”
― G.K. Chesterton

Read Full Post »

As of April 22, 2012, the upcoming Venus Transit of June 5/6, 2012 is T-Minus 43 days away, and counting. I’m leading a community education class on the occasion, so if you’re going to be anywhere near Alexandria, Minnesota, USA that day, please join us! But if not, I hope the view is clear wherever you are!

7:14 PM CDT April 22, 2012 (00:14 UT 4-23-12)
Angular diameter 33.12 arc seconds
33.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 46,812,338 miles (75,337,236 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow

6:28 PM CDT March 24, 2012 (23:28 UT)
Angular diameter 22.95 arc seconds
52.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 67,571,683 miles (108,746,083 km)

4:10 PM CST February 12, 2012 (22:10 UT)
Angular diameter 16.24 arc seconds
70.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 95,450,953 miles (153,613,419 km)
18mm eyepiece

1:48 PM CST February 8, 2012 (19:48 UT)
Angular diameter 15.82 arc seconds
71.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 98,020,580 miles (157,748,833 km)
18mm eyepiece

2:37 PM CST January 5, 2012 (20:37 UT)
Angular diameter 13.19 arc seconds
81.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 117,572,894 miles (189,215,232 km)
2:21 PM CST November 29, 2011 (20:21 UT)
Angular diameter 11.46 arc seconds
89.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 135,265,885 miles (217,689,541 km)
4:18 PM CST November 20, 2011 (22:18 UT)
Angular diameter 11.13 arc seconds
91.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 139,346,992 miles (227,254,246 km)
12:03 PM CST January 5, 2011 (18:03 UTC)
Angular diameter 25.58 arc seconds
48.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 60,611,164 miles (97,544,214 km)
10:02 AM CST November 27, 2010 (16:02 UTC)
Angular diameter 44.72 arc seconds
20.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 34,669,885 miles (55,795,771 km)
12:40 PM CDT (17:40 UTC), November 5, 2010
Angular diameter 59.94 arc seconds
2.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 25,866,740 miles (41,628,483 km)

Unless otherwise noted, 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

Read Full Post »