Archive for Astronomy

Eclipse Animation

This nice animation of the August 21st Eclipse across America showed up on Astronomy Picture of the Day today. It is less than a minute in length and is a good graphic illustration of the path of totality.

The embedded video can be set to full screen for enlargement.

After the video finishes, there is another interesting video follow-up that animates the shadow of the moon as it crosses the country. You can see in detail where totality occurs with the shadow video.

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Countdown to the Great American Solar Eclipse

The countdown has been underway here for almost five years since we first made our reservations at the RV campground near the centerline of the eclipse in Wyoming. Now, however, we’re down to the last few weeks before the big event. The Javascript countdown timer above shows the remaining time to the start of the eclipse (first lunar encroachment) in Arizona Time.

The date of the eclipse is August 21, 2017. The beginning of the eclipse is dependent on the location of the observer, but in our case is 16:22:20 UTC, The seven hour difference has been adjusted in the timer. Totality follows a bit over an hour later. The interactive eclipse map has moved to the NASA Eclipse pages:

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Asterism - Moon and Jupiter

Moon and Jupiter

Damsel and I went out to the courtyard last night to observe a fairly close encounter between Jupiter and the Waxing Gibbous Moon. The conjunction was almost directly overhead of us when I took this photo. Jupiter is visible as a small dot in the lower right. Click on the image to enlarge.

We witnessed the Moon and Jupiter the evening before when they were a hand span apart at arms length and Jupiter being to the East. Last night, the pair were separated by only a thumbnail with Jupiter having moved to the west side of the Moon. I took the photo without the aid of a tripod using my Canon EOS REBEL SL1: 1/500 sec, F8, ISO 800, F/L 190mm.

The pair will be up there again tonight with the Moon appearing a bit fuller and further to the east of Jupiter. The weather has been very cooperative for evening visits to the courtyard after dusk with the 106° daytime temperature having diminished to under 90° by 8:30PM.

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Supermoon over Wickenburg


We drove from our camping spot in K-Stan back home today. Safe arrival with light traffic and no incidents other than a little roadwork enroute. It was a good trip to see the Grandson and his folks.

I snapped this photo of the Supermoon (Luna at perigee) shortly after moonrise this evening. Camera Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with 75-300 mm zoom lens. Settings: 1/500 sec, F8, focal length 300mm, ISO 800 and no tripod. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Harvest Moon over Arizona

Harvest Moon over Arizona

Well, it has been over a week since we posted anything here on the state of the world, etc. We have been busy with our October to-do list, consisting of a few chores and some important healthcare milestones.

Damsel took this photo of the harvest moon rising behind our big saguaro and ocotillo a couple of evenings ago. We are having a pleasant “second spring” with daytime temperatures in the high eighties to low nineties and nocturnal lows are still in the comfort zone of low to mid sixties. We love our desert retirement home.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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The All American Eclipse is One Year from Today!

Commemorative Eclipse ShadesOne year from today, we plan to be in Casper Wyoming to observe the August 21, 2017 total eclipse of the sun. We have been getting ready for the event for over four years.

“Ready” includes making reservations at a campground near the centerline of totality, planning the trip to include some optional, scenic side excursions and purchase of a couple dozen commemorative eclipse shades from Rainbow Symphony. We are also preparing to use the camera and telescope to record this spectacular event.

Image: August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Commemorative Shades. Click to enlarge.

This post from May of 2012 has a map of the path of totality and some details about the eclipse. I also did some on-line research and found which forecast a 75% chance for clear skies in August. We’re hoping that it will be so.

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Telescope Adapter Kit

Telescope Adapter

The kit for adapting the Canon camera to the Meade telescope arrived in the mail today. I tried it out and found that it basically works but I still have some issues on stability because the moment arm of the camera is large compared to just an eyepiece. I experimented with objects across the hollow from our house, including the neighbors electric meter, just to get a feel for what I am up against. I am yet to be satisfied with the first attempts, but I’m sure it will get better.

We won’t be doing any experimenting tonight, but we will go out and see the celestial triangle of the gibbous moon, Mars and Saturn. We plan to continue experimenting next week since our plans don’t include astrophotography until then.

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