In the Skies

Skies and Stars

December 6, 2015

Orion Nebula – filtered (12/6/2015)

ll evening it’s been broken clouds. I finished writing the third section to my book (all done – landmark) then went outside at 12:45am and saw that everything was clear, that Orion was up, and that I had that new light filter I wanted to try. The good news was that Orion was visible right off the back porch, so that’s where I set the scope up at, right on the porch. Nice to work on boards for a change. However, I managed to dislodge (i.e. drop) the spotter scope twice. So now I was cursing a blue streak. Everything […]
November 23, 2015

NGC 869/884 (11/23/2015)

ver at the train club rather late with friends, putting the finishing touches on a falling-down barn I’ve been building for the sectional layout, a rustic structure that required the placement of individual shingles on the roof (and took six weeks to complete). When we got home, the wife pointed out that the moon was full and the sky clear. Dammit – great. It’s going on 10 and I’ve got a bike ride tomorrow morning. Gotta get up early. Still, the binoculars will give me a good look. Stayed out longer than I thought. Moved to one part of the […]
November 16, 2015

Pleiades (11/16/2015)

ith a braced telescope, I finally got a good look at the Pleiades (or M45), the closest cluster to us (at a mere 445 light years out). It was amazing – a set of hot binaries burning blue, and a number of other stars in a more orange range. I didn’t see the nebula that is supposed to be around them but I’ll probably be able to see it with the scope in a few evenings. Also lowered the brace and picked up Orion coming over the horizon, making out its nebula (one of my favorite sights). Its amazing – […]
November 7, 2015

Summer Triangle (11/6/2015)

as over at Leu Gardens (our local botanical garden) Friday night. It was outdoor movie night and we were there to see Double Indemnity, a great flick that will keep you from ever watching My Three Sons the same way again. Oh, and it’s got Southern Pacific trains in it. Regardless, tonight (Saturday) is supposed to be the star gazing night of the weekend (over at a gun range with the astronomy club) but I got a little in before the movie. See, we were sitting in a row, two couples, with the wives snittering in the middle. That left […]
September 20, 2015

Moon and Scorpion (9/20/2015)

asn’t intending on going star gazing tonight but the sky was so clear (after the Mordor clouds we’ve had for weeks) that I figured I needed to get the dust off the scope. Did some moon-looking (of course, she’s up and showing half her face) – nice shots of some of the craters along the Apennines Range (where my heroes Tubitz and Mergenstein are currently at, if I’d ever get off my can and start writing again). Found a line of craters with their central peaks clearly defined, their central shadows forming clock-hands that must have been stretching for miles. […]
August 28, 2015

Moon and Vega (8/27/2015)

he reason I haven’t posted anything to this thread is because we’ve had no viewing nights all summer. Rain. Clouds. Haze. Even the Perseid meteor shower – we saw three falls through a cloud “keyhole”. Bah! Last night, I’d checked the sky earlier and saw the moon through a silken veil of haze – bah again! But while on the phone with a buddy at 10pm, I stepped out on the back porch and saw, to my amazement – EVERYTHING! Clear as a bell. I hadn’t had a night like this in months. I finished the phone call while shifting […]
June 30, 2015

Two for one (6/30/2015)

onight was the big show – Venus and Jupiter lining up just about on top of each other, a perfect astronomy night. And our club was going to take advantage of it, setting a line of telescopes up for the public to view around a lake at Seminole State. JB and I got there early. It was our first true remote setup, and our first setup with a group. In this, it went easy. The telescope was lined and leveled in no time (I’ve had plenty of practice) But we were early so we sat in our chairs and read […]
May 31, 2015

The Grand Tour (5/30/2015)

nce a month or so, my friend Greg comes over and we watch flicks together. The couple of times he’s come over to watch since I got my scope, we’ve had clouds. Finally, last night, we had a great viewing night. Well, great for planets – the moon was up and full, putting out even more glare than OUC ever managed. Worse, we’re in our lousy viewing part of the year – no good constellations, no good things to look out. But on the plus, Saturn is in opposition, about the best we’ll see it. Before he arrived, I stationed […]
May 17, 2015

Saturn again (5/17/2015)

onight is the closest Saturn will come to Earth – the wife and I have been keeping up on this and kinda wanted to see it. So, at sunset, we planted the telescope in the backyard. I knew Saturn would be coming up at it’s highest angle above the southern horizon at 2:00am, and it would be somewhere just ahead of Scorpius. Of course, given the fact I couldn’t make out that constellation, not with all the city lighting, made things tricky. I ended up doing the Galileo method – that is looking at every bright star in the sky. […]
May 2, 2015

Lost in Space (5/2/2015)

ot such a good night tonight. I was clear so I had to break the scope out for a look. The problem was, the full moon pretty much washed everything out so I could only get a vague series of stars. And now that the sky has shifted about and my buddy Orion is a no-show, I’m having a hard time determining what is where. Tried to line up on the pour spout of the big dipper but it made for high angle sighting – a difficult line up. Still, I got a good look at Jupiter with full magnification, […]