Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Did you see the Total Lunar Eclipse?

The Total Lunar Eclipse happened this morning. I got up early to get my cameras to an area that had a nice SW horizon. I headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, knowing that there were no overlooks facing SW. I planned to find a good view along the road and shoot from there.
As I moved up in elevation, I started clearing the low haze in the valley that was blocking my view of the moon. As I drove, I could see the eclipse starting to take place. I found a spot to shoot and started to set up my cameras. By this time the moon was starting full umbral eclipse. I lined up the eclipsed moon in my viewfinder and started to focus, but was having difficulty. I shot once, and saw that the focus was off. I went to refocus, and could not see the moon. I stepped back away from the viewfinder to look, only to see that the moon had slipped behind a bank of clouds that was rising from the valley floor. I started to look around, and It was the same everywhere. I could see stars directly overhead, but all around me was clouds along the horizon. A quick assessmant told me that I would not be photographing this eclipse, so I packed a way my gear and started home. I did, however, get to see the eclipse, thus completing my bookends. I saw the moon rise while eclipsed on March 3, 2007, and I watched the moon set while eclipsed on August 28, 2007.
Was it worth getting up to see? YES!!! Would I do it again, knowing that the results would be the same. YES!!!
Lunar Eclipses are a wondrous sight, and even a small glimpse of one is worth the effort.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Here comes the Total Lunar Eclipse

That's right, Folks. We will be having a total Lunar Eclipse on the morning of Tuesday, August 28, 2007. You will have to have a good, low western horizon for best viewing of this event......and, of course, clear skies. The eclipse will start as the moon is sinking to the horizon on the east coast, with the moon setting while in Umbral eclipse (that is, when the moon is darkest during the eclipse). The harkening sunrise will probably brighten the sky before the moon sets, but I am willing to take a chance to see the event. I was able to see the lunar eclipse earlier this year, on March 3rd, when the moon rose while eclipsed. It only seems appropriate to see this moon set while eclipsed. The eclipse will start at 4:51 AM, with totality starting at 5:52 AM. You will have to set your alarm clocks early, but it should give you time to get to work after the event.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Busy Me


I apologize for the lack of entries. Been on vacation, and lots of astronomy busyness. Had a chance to observe the Perseid Meteor Shower on the evening of Sunday, August 12, 2007. Our observing spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia gave us a beautiful, clear canvas, and we watched hundreds of the flashes of beauty grace the sky. I had several cameras set up, and I managed to catch a few of the meteor photons on my digital sensors. I plan to post some soon.

Keep looking at the stars, and keep your outside lights turned off. Light the world with your heart, not your electric bill.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Weather Control

I do not have too much to report in the blog, since we have been under siege by the summer weather pattern. It usually consists of hot days, afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms, and humid nights. The moon is also on it's way to full, so that rules out fainter objects and nebulosity. Double stars are always a possibility, if you can find them through the moonlit haze. I have never been much of a moon watcher, so nights with a visible moon do not work well for me.

I plan to head up on the mountain to observe the planets of Venus and Saturn as they pass within a field of view on Saturday evening, weather permitting. But, after that, we have a full moon, so I will probably pack up after a look at Jupiter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

In the beginning

I am into the night sky. I love astronomy. I love almost everything about astronomy. I am into the faint fuzzies. I dig double stars. I yearn for meteor events, and planetary dances. I love looking up at the night sky, and releasing all of my worries, so I can free my mind to the infinite possiblilties for myself, mankind, and the universal unknown. Feel free to take this trip with me. I will try to log what I do and see as I work towards knowing more about the universe around me. So grab a seat. Lets go for a ride. Destination: Unknown.