pink trails and guest blogging

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My sky is usually free of clouds, but occasionally there’s a bit of messiness to it and jets leave contrails behind.  Sometimes the contrails at sunset are fairly interesting.  The one above is an example. Venus is a teeny speck below and left of the contrail. Maybe averted vision will help you pick it out. 😉

Oh, and this is uber cool! I was the guest blogger on Astronomy.com this week.  Check it out at  http://cs.astronomy.com/asycs/blogs/daves-universe/archive/2012/01/17/guest-blog-becky-s-bucket-list.aspx

Thanks to editor Dave Eicher at Astronomy.com for putting me in the starlight!

Prepping for May 20

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Yes, May 20 seems like a long way off right now, but when that day comes, this is going to be my view.

May 20 is the date of the Annular Solar Eclipse, and this spot has a nice foreground view for watching the Moon hide a large portion of the Sun.  As you can probably guess, I’m already anxious and excited about the day.  Maximum eclipse only lasts a bit over four minutes, so I hope to make the most of that time.  The Sun will be just a little bit right of the mountain in the distance.

The Sun will be setting during the eclipse, (it’s a Sunday evening) and I’m hoping there won’t be too many clouds interfering with the view.

This is a pinhole image made yesterday at my selected site, and I expect there will be quite a few others viewing there too since it’s the Albuquerque Astronomical Society’s observatory area.   I’m counting the days!

Sun spewing

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The Sun is an amazing star.  Sometimes when I think about it, it’s even kind of scary.  But for now, I’m just enjoying a warm day of sunshine in a crystal blue sky!  Lumix GF 1 held up to a Lunt Solarscope

a great night under the stars…and planets!

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A couple of days ago I mentioned that Venus would be very near Neptune tonight.  And indeed it is! I made a quick and dirty image of the duo and have it posted above, just in case you were unable to view them.

Venus is the bright spiky one, and Neptune is the much fainter speck at Venus’ lower right.  Teeny little guy!  All the other specks are stars and Venus is spiky because of camera shutter effects. I also viewed Comet 21 P Giacobini-Zinner, and the planets Jupiter and Uranus and then checked out Orion,the Pleiades and Cygnus.  Oh, and I also watched Tiangong 1, the Chinese Space Laboratory as it flew over.  Tomorrow night I’m hoping to image Phobos Grunt as it makes some of it’s last passes around the globe before falling back through the Earth’s atmosphere.  It was 31 degrees outside while I was viewing and taking photos and a bit windy so it felt like the wind was taking bites out of me.  The freezing temp caused two of my camera batteries to die a rapid death, so I stopped.  It’s okay because the Moon is on the way up and is going to blast the sky with light.  This was a very good night!