Category Archives: Observing

Globe At Night

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Kathryn Mersmann give us this new look at the Earth after dark showing what we humans are doing. While it is quite a sight, it does point out the light pollution as it exists today.

April is a great month for this kind of thing because it is time for Globe at Night. GAN is a GREAT project!! Visit the website and get the kids involved (teachers this is a grand class project!!). The process is really quite easy, you need no special equipment and everything you need to know is at the Globe at Night website and you can compare your findings with the rest of the world.

Tonight is “my night” to see this location stacks up. My old residence was pretty good, I had a limiting magnitude of about 6.0. I will let you know.

Go here for Globe at Night.

Have Fun!

Jupiter At Opposition

Jupiter is at opposition today so if you are thinking it is brighter than normal in the night sky you are correct! It will be around a magnitude -2.48 or so, grab a pair of binoculars and check it out you will be able to see the moons too. If have a telescope it is an excellent target. That’s what I am up to if the rains move away.

Image: NASA

March Skies

I know, a week into it already so without further delay:

March is a nice month, days are getting longer and it’s more comfortable to be out checking things out.

Lunar Eclipse Tomorrow

There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse tomorrow night (10 Feb) beginning at 22:34 UTC / 17:34 EST.  The moon won’t turn orange or red like in a total eclipse.

Take a look at hermit eclipse for a fantastic explanation about eclipses, including how a penumbral eclipse happens.

Here’s a visibility chart  (I get the whole eclipse!!) you probably will need to click the image so it looks correct:


February Skies

Great skies if you can take the cold. Well around here anyway, fun though.

I was going to put up an image from PeriJove 3, there are some good ones. Then I started fiddling around with the one (already processed) and decided later today I will dig out the computer with Photoshop and just do one of my own from the raw images, I’ll post it here.

Trio In the Evening Sky

I took this picture off the back deck the night before last. The crescent moon, Venus (to the right and also in a crescent phase), and Mars (above moon at the top). A very pleasing sight. The camera was a Nikon Coolpix and I have to say, it’s not a great camera for this type of thing.

I think it is going to snow here again, however, if you have nice skies at about 18:30 (your local time) tonight take a look to the west. You will see the Moon higher in the sky, Venus will be very bright and lower towards the horizon and Mars will be between the two about a quarter of the way from Venus and the moon. About halfway between Mars and the Moon you might be able to spot Uranus. It is a magnitude 5.5 or thereabouts so you might be able to see it with just your eye, but use binoculars and save yourself some time.

Trouble seeing Mars? Try the annotated image.

Happy Solstice!


Happy Solstice!  This of course the December solstice.  The Sun’s rays are directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.  As the Earth continues on its journey around the direct rays of the  Sun will move north  until the June solstice.

Watch where the Sun sets once a week for a while and and you will see the point move.  You can do this at sunrise too.  After the June solstice you will see the sunset point start moving in the opposite direction.

Of course we (probably) all know for people in the southern hemisphere this is the longest day of the year thanks to the tilt of the Earth as the image aptly depicts and the shortest day for people in the north. Being in the northern hemisphere one thought always comes to mind about now; as a long time weather man by the name of Stuart Hall used to say: “As the days grow longer the cold grows stronger”.

Time of the December Solstice: 10:44 UTC on 21 December 2016

Get Sun and Moon data for your location.