Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can This Be Seen From The Patio ?

As you my readers know I am a avid Lunar Universe Guy or LUG. With a Earth lassoed Luna in our skies at various times throughout the month it deserves some measure of observation. It truly is amazing what can be seen if we take the time!

This was posted today on LPOD and it captured my attention. Crater Aristillus is a fine sight at 1st / 3rd quarter moons and shows a half bright rim at high lighting times.

But this release shows these dark rim and ray features which I have not spied before. Half the battle is just knowing that they are there - now the chances of seeing them are greatly increased!

I am planning a dedicated observe time to bag this crater treat in July the worst weather month in my area. But maybe we will have a window on the waning part of Luna's jog when she is high in my morning sky and some more stable air to look through! Coffee and scone will be ready along with a temp adjusted scope on the patio. CR150 or 12.5" masked off will be out on the patio for this observe!

Crater Dionysius will show us dark rim and ray features also; the right sun angle and patience is required. The western rim of Tranquility is a great observe at sunrise/set and it is a easy capture with the "Quail Covey" of Sabine, Ritter and youngsters pointing the way!

Wonder if I can bag both of these Zebra Craters at the same time with a pre 3rd quarter observe?

Here is a Clementine pic of Dionysius too tease us a bit!

Does any one else want to be Lunar prospecting along with me?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zodiacal Sky Street Astronomy 6/26/11

It has been a while since I have had a chance to do a evening outreach at the Sparks Marina Park. Mostly I have been inhibited by weather and motivation.

Last few attempts at this long term location have lack energy and interest by park users. The rangers like me enough as they check in on me, keep things safe and give me preference with parking etc.

But with our milder weather and a awesome conjunction of Saturn & Porrima here was a golden opportunity to show off the Zodiac. So lets give it a go!

What I noticed on this outing was the "power of planets" to inspire just the right questions I was looking for: "How do you know if it is a star or planet?" "Where are the other planets right now"? When can I see them?" "How far, how big are they, and how long do they take to orbit the Earth (no kidding) or Sun?"

"Are you the SUG we heard about or should we look for another?" "What kind of snacks does the SUG like?" All of these are important questions! So armed with scope and zodiacal poster courtesy of the ASP out I go to inform the masses.

Brian made my night. Out for his exercise in the cool of the mid evening here is the SUG and his telescope available for his enrichment. Enamored Brian was with the Saturn views, Zodiac navigation, star distance and size activities. And to he was treated to various double stars in Libra and Canes Venatici easily seeing color and magnitude differences. For one hour the skies were his and in his experience he was encouraging others to stop and have some astronomy fun! His friendly and genuine demeanor defusing any fear or indifference from other walkers.

I think I'll ask Brian to be my on site PR Guy - "PRSUG"! 37 visitors this evening :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Dawn Of SUG

Drive By Astronomy who visits this blog now and then decided to have a little fun with yours truly.

A number of months ago his fertile and creative mind delved into the evolutionary processes responsible for the existence of the Sidewalk Universe Guy. It appears that the recent appearance of the Patio Universe Guy (PUG) may require further study and observation.

Drive By is presenting a significant scientific bases with field research for the existence of the SUG highlighting his various stages of growth, self awareness and astronomy discovery.

Yes it has been a long journey from the slime to the sidewalks!

From PUG To SUG To HUB Solar Lunar Outreach 6/25

We are in a wonderful weather cycle here on the Eastern Sierra! Today I was up at 5:45 and it was serious cool and dry out so I had to choose which identity would dominate my morning. Was it to be the Patio Universe Guy or the Sidewalk Universe Guy? SUG won out with a trip to the HUB Coffee Company in old South Reno foremost on my mind as this was the almost perfect day I was looking for with a waning gibbous Luna and a not so hot Sun embedded in dry clear sky! This was to be my first coffee house outreach location that I mentioned on this blog a few months back. I have had a few nights and mornings of personal observing this week and I was feeling very spunky about a outreach at a new locale. The HUB Coffee Company was just right for the PUG to transform to SUG outreach mode today!

I was all set up and ready to go by 8 a.m and my first target was the staff. They were treated to WOW Lunar Views with the Southern Lunar Highlands tilting our way. No problem cranking up the power to show these wonderful crater fields! Now they could talk up this guy with the scope on the sidewalk!

Sherry was my first patron to risk the SUG's sidewalk charm. Astronomy with morning coffee turned out to be the right fit this day for her. We started with the Jumbo Styro Ball On A Stick Phase Modeling which captured her attention and other patrons looked on with serious attention. Just what is going on here? Well come over and find out! Sherry placed herself in SUG's safe guidance and was navigating Earth's buddy with ease and making detailed observations of Solar features. It is amazing how just one person can make your outing feel so successful!

Chris is a weekly visitor to the HUB but he was not ready this day for the likes of SUG on the walkway with scope and enthusiasm for one and all. Totally captivated this biologist was with the local universe being reviled to him. Crater fields and Mare became his as he genuflected before "Selene of the Morning Sky"!

This was a fun 3 hour time out with 25 visitors stopping to enjoy the show.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Serpents Double Treasures & Post 3rd Quarter Moon 6/23/11

We are in a string of nice weather with cooler than normal temps. Last night was one of those nights to grab since the pickings have been slim over the past 6 months. First observation was the setting sun - my it stayed twilight around here till almost 10 p.m local time! Then the temps really started to drop and a lite jacket was required.

Saturn and Gamma Virginis are now beginning to separate as our Earth moves further away from Saturn in our orbit about the Sun. It has been fun to watch them close in on each other and now separate.

All day I had had been thinking about a double star observe in Serpens Caput with it being in good position early evening in the south. My sky gets worse as you move toward the south west with Reno city lights doing its part in sky decay. So now is my time to handle the wiggly serpent and tease out doubles both easy and hard. Here is some of what I looked at with AT106 as my observing buddy for the evening:

Sturve 1930 : just below M5 is a nice triple with a pale yellow primary and reddish secondary, and a dim third party to the dance of ? color.

6 Ser is a tough one to split at 3" or so. The primary is a lovely pale yellow and the second slightly dimmer star is bluish. This system is also located right below M5.

Delta Ser is a gem if your skies are good and seeing is steady! At 4" it is close with a big mag difference between the two stars but the colors of yellow/pale blue are striking! THIS IS A GOOD ONE!

Beta Ser offers a real nice mag difference with very subtle colors of a brilliant white and pale blue. At 32" in the split it is a easy bag for anyone starting out on doubles!

There were more but these are easy captures for any level patio observer! Serpens is loaded with doubles but most are tough splits or really wide ones! The wide ones can loose the contrast of the colors but I do try to tease out the details! The close ones do require good skies, reasonable optics and patience. One double last night had me for 45 minutes fighting for a glimpse of the second - a pretty red one at that! Oh my is that the fall sky I see rising in our east and northeast at 12 a.m?

Luna started my day at 6 a.m after a evening of Serpent handling & 5.5 hours of sleep. I am gonna be sleep deprived for awhile while I catch up on my observing and answer Mr. Drive By Astro's not to kind text messages in the wee morning!

This new bag of jolt ( courtesy of my son Jeremy!) should help me clear out the cob webs!

With Luna one day past third quarter and the tilt opening in the south and west there was lots to see - just move the shadow line in the pic toward Plato and you will get a feel for the view this Thursday morning. So in between views the Patio universe Guy is also the Landscape Universe Guy as lawn, scrub and pond care is required this morning.

Amazing how astronomy can fit into everyday routines!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sidewalk Universe Guy To Patio Universe Guy

With some changes going on in life - all good by the way I thought that this summer would be a time for me to gain back my "personal sky". Yes time for me to do some personal observing. This will involve everything from simple observations of the constellations, movement of the Sun, Moon and Planets, and detailed observations of anything that is up there!!!!!! So we are to morph for a time from SUG - Sidewalk Universe Guy to PUG - Patio Universe Guy! I will more than likely do some outreach somewhere but for now it is about me, my sky, my hobby.

So with this renewed observing zeal over the last week I have had time to enjoy a bit of the universe from my light surrounded Sparks NV backyard. Lately my beloved double stars have been on the forefront in the constellations of Virgo, Libra, and Serpens. I will blog about these later as today's observe of our waning one day before 3rd quarter Luna started my day out on a good note! My goodness was my brain on overload with this observe. To be honest when I first started at 6 a.m local with french press joe in mug, a nut butter sandwich, pineapple wedges and banana I was not impressed with the view - if anything kinda ho hum. Yes all the normal features for the moon during this stage of its cycle.

But then it happened : PUG is hit with Lunar Fever. And it all started up at the north polar region with the shadow line on Bond and highlighting the surrounding region with Barrow and Goldschmidt, and Anaxagoras seen in shallow lighting from the setting sun. Their rims and peaks all aglow in the twilight conditions.
This is the best pic I could find for the moment and other pics are seriously wanting for the other not so obvious features I was observing. It is a real shame that the Lunar north pole is ignored by most observers for its subtle detail, changing tilt, and fun lighting changes over short time periods really puts on a show! It was fun over the 2.5 hours out to see these peaks and walls light up and then dim down!

Now Sinus Iridum is a frequent stop for every observer but with today's oblique rim view due to a tilting away Lunar north pole kept me glued here for awhile! This is one tall curved wall with its various layers seen in with ease in my ultra dry high altitude air! Prom Laplace (on the right side end) was seriously lit up!

There was so much Lunar eye candy today I can't mention it all here but here's one off the beaten path - crater Drygalski on the lunar s.w limb. Today's view was awesome with it's north and south rims and central peak right on the lunar limb with no sign of it's back rim due to the Lunar tilt!

By the way Drive by Astronomy joined me for a spell over the phone from his clouded in Buffalo digs and he only made one rude comment to me!

My neighbor Edi daughter Rachel joined the PUG for awhile after she heard from her dad that I was out in the cool of the morning and glued she was to the 17mm views enjoying the lit up mountains and holes too many to count! In the shade of a tree with crisp blue skies over head her eyes where filled Lunar delight.

May more folks flock to the friendly skies of the PUG yard to take in our sky!

Monday, June 20, 2011

You Never Know Who You Will Meet Under The Sun

Hi everyone - it has been along time! Oh yes weather and life have kept me out of the street astro loop for awhile but this Father's Day gave us a picture perfect day for a Solar Outreach! If I had been out earlier this would have also included a wonderful waning Luna in our western sky!

Active region 1236 and some really bright beaches on the eastern limb motivated me to get out the door and show off the fun Sun stuff. It was fun for me too as over the course of this time I was able to see significant changes in the solar features I was highlighting to my visitors. I had 38 visitors in all over the 3.5 hours out in our dry Sierra climate and the folks I worked with really enjoyed the show. But one knocked me back......

Meet Dan who looks like your average middle age guy. He came by and was very interested in all this solar stuff I was doing. He was certainly more informed than the average guests I speak to as our fun conversation carried a decidedly more educated tune. And as we conversed the topic turned to our families and kids (being Dad's Day and all) he mentioned he had some interesting family lineage as being a direct family descendant of Nicolas Copernicus! Now of course I have no reason to doubt this as it came out of the clear blue and I am sure this is not a everyday day thing that Dan shares with people! So here in front of me on the park lawn is a descendant of one of the greatest science minds of human history.

Imagine sharing the Sun, the center of our Solar System with the still existing gene pool of the one who would start a new revolution in understanding our world! Fun!!!!!!