Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things Both Old And New

I had every intention of doing a street program last night with the Moon, Gemini, Saturn as the featured showings. But when it came down to it I was just to tired from a busy day of work around the home and care of the family - besides clouds and haze had rolled in. Low and behold about 10 p.m. things cleared out some. I felt a evening of quiet contemplation with some of my old friends and buddies was in order - time to ponder and enjoy the simple things like the movement of the sky over an hour or how far is that star and what is it's Arabic name. I had my trusty astronomy chair, iced green tea, and backyard lighting off and I was ready to go! I had these items to guide me on my evening foray into the sky, my old things; Collins Guide Stars and Planets by Ian Ridpath held together with packing tape, Miller Star Wheel, and my all time favorite "The Star Guide" by Steven Beyer not so held together even with packing tape. Some newer things to enjoy like a fresh LED flashlight, June issue of Sky And Telescope, along with my new S&T Pocket Sky Atlas.

What a fun evening with the stars and constellations. I was remembering back to when I was 10 years old learning the sky for the first time. Seeing the seasonal change of the sky over just a few hours, learning the actual names of stars from the ancient cultures. Light years and star type or class did not mean to much back then, but the thrill of seeing and tracing the sky did. The sky became my best buddy and friend and has remained so ever since. Sometimes it is good to just get out to watch the movement of the sky and not get to complex with it. Just enjoy it. I know where the constellations are at just about anytime, but let's use the Miller Star Wheel anyway to relive the past and enjoy the present. I love the turning of the sky! Beyer's book assigns a star to seek out during the evenings of each month and I proceed to seek out these stars assigned to April and May; Arcturus, Izar, Eta Draconis, Giena, Alphecca, Spica, Rastaban, Zeta Herculis. With the help of my trusty aids I rediscover their type, sizes, distences, temperatures ect. But the most important thing for me is seeing them and learning their names handed down from the past! They are life long friends who are there all the time, in season and out. They are waiting for us to go and discover them.


Drive-by Astronomy said...

Great post. It brought back many of my childhood memories when I first started to look up at the night sky. I never have seen the "Star Guide" but I'm never without my S&T Sky Atlas. Its great to use at the scope. I do still pull out the planishere too from time to time. I still have my first one from the late 60's. The stars names have also intrigued me too!
How magnificent just looking up at the night sky...So simple to do and such beauty that so many people never take the time to experience.
Great post "SUG"

Sidewalk Universe said...

Hey Migelacutty, I did the same thing this early morning about 3:30 local time. The summer sky was already well in the west with fall constellations up in the east. I really enjoy the changing seasons of the sky over a evening and morning! Did a quick bino tour and back to bed!

I will be up at Lake Tahoe with my sweetie for 2 days - a good friend thought we needed a break and gave us a condo to use-very generous and timely. Great location with a western facing beach perfect for some more astro stuff. I could try the blanket and stars routine with my wife again!

I may need some pointers on this from you!

Send me a pic of your old 1960's star wheel - mine was a Edmund Scientific's card board one - wish I still had it!

Drive-by Astronomy said...

Forgo all the astro geek gear when on the blanket under the stars. That means no planisphere, star atlases,and absolutely no red head lamp. I think a green laser could be allowed for pointing out the constellations, but then again this isn't really about looking at the stars. Substitute bottle of wine or other adult beverage in lieu of astro gear. Don't discuss planetary nebula, black holes, NGC's, equinoxes, etc...(KISS-keep it simple stupid)Don't fall asleep on her!
Given our age in 10-15 minutes you'll be able to get back to your scope if it goes as planned 8^)

I've never been to Lake Tahoe. Maybe some day our wives and us could meet up there some day!

Have a great time with your wife.

I like the Migelacutty

Sidewalk Universe said...

You really have my number! I love my red headlamp and all the other astro paraphernalia that goes with a fun outing under the stars. As I am writing this we just got back from a nice walk along the beach enjoying the lake and a one day shy first quarter Luna. No stars with cloud cover rolling in. My wife is enjoying her book and yes I am thinking astronomical!

I bought my old Collins guide and one astronomy book to read. Nothing else! Tomorrow is a day with fun hikes and yummy food we bought to much on. No astronomy with or without a blanket!

Thanks for the tips old chum!

Drive-by Astronomy said...

Headline in the Buffalo News Reads:
"Astronomiphillic Western New Yorkers Concerned...Has the Sidewalk Universe Guy Gone Missing. Is Foul Astronomical Play Suspected?"

Sparks, NV residents too say the Marina is not the same without the pleasant little astronomy geek with the telescope and astronomy models.

The residents lament...Where are you "SUG"?

Sidewalk Universe said...

Yes I am still here my son! Storms one right after another are keeping me from my appointed rounds with the heavens and the public. In fact there is one going on right now - this is a long string of stormy stuff for us here on the Sierra.

I was planning on getting up early tomorrow for the double transit of Jupiter's moons but it is not looking good. The only foul play here is the weather!

NiteSkyGirl said...

Hya sidewalk dude !
I reaaaaaaaaly enjoyed what you wrote, the words were just AWESOME !! I read it 7 times in a row, so enjoy reading how the night sky can be your buddy,
inspired me to write a post called Our Cherished Constellation Connection . good to see your still around fellow pajama'd stargazer :)

Sidewalk Universe said...

You bet NSG - the PJ's are a part of every early A.M. session in the backyard! But there haven't been any lately - funky weather continues to keep me sidelined!

I like the CCC!