Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Moon and Venus

The Moon and Venus over my house!

Happy New Year! But don't forget your leap second!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Thin Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon taken on August 26, 2008

I took advantage of the clear skies and went observing on Monday night. I arrived at LVAAS at sunset and had about half an hour of viewing a thin crescent Moon. It was the thinnest crescent I've viewed through a telescope - thinner than the image above. I managed to identify a small piece of Mare Crisium and a few other craters but it was difficult. I was viewing through some tree branches - so the image was fading in and out - and the view was so limited that I couldn't find the usual landmarks (moonmarks?). 

Once I figured out what I was looking at I put away the lunar map and just enjoyed the view until it disappeared.

I then moved on to Venus. It was in a first-quarter phase which I had never seen before. That was cool, too. 

I moved around the sky a bit: the Pleiades, Aldeberan, Capella. Then I found M42, the Orion Nebula. This was my first time viewing this great sight. While it didn't look like the Hubble images (which are in color), it was still impressive. It took up the whole field-of-view in the eyepiece and I could easily recognize the shape. It is so hard to imagine just how big this thing is!

So I had another great time looking at the night sky. Let me know if you'd like to join me sometime.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Moon Course

Image: Mark Tillotson

Instructor: Mark Tillotson
12 weeks, Wednesday nights at 7 - 8 pm, Emmaus High School
Begins on February 4, 2009

NASA is currently planning a return to the Moon and many of it's scientists, engineers and contractors need to learn about the Moon. The Johnson Space Center sponsored Moon 101 - A Course in Lunar Science for Non-Specialists

Using the information from Moon 101, this course will present the basics of Lunar science that NASA is using to plan future missions to the Moon to set up a permanent base. The course will cover topics such as geology and the physical characteristics of the soil and surface material that will effect living and working there, the crust and interior, environment, poles, and the lessons learned from Apollo. We will also learn about viewing Lunar features from Earth, meteorites, mapping and the search for water.

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the Moon and astronomy. It will focus on the overview of Lunar science and will not require any special math skills.

The registration form is here. I hope you will join me on this exploration of the Moon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Moon and a Crow

The Moon Poster by John Moore

I've been wanting this Moon poster for a long time and I finally have it! It's one of those 'early Christmas presents' that are the perfect excuse for spending money on yourself. It was created by my new friend, John Moore, from Ireland.

John Moore currently works as a freelance science and astronomy writer. He maintains a website about the Moon – unpaid and all done on a shoestring.

We 'met' through LPOD and the Moon Wiki. We have been e-mailing back and forth and this morning he sent me a picture he had taken. He saw in my blog that I also like birds and nature.

I see that you're into nature as well as being a lunartic like myself. I'm in the middle of nowhere over here and have loads of pics on nature -- from fungi, to trees, to animals, to birds..etc. Have included a small pic of a common crow I took the other day through my window as he posed for me -- I call it "Woaaaa dude, where's my bread?" :-)))

It's a great picture of an agitated crow! I think I've seen the same bird in my yard looking for sunflower seed...

"Woaaaa dude, where's my bread?

So here's to the Moon, a crow and the magic of the internet!