December 28, 2011

Crescent Moon And Venus, First Light Fun!

From December 27  Five  words --- Pretty awe struck right now. Venus and the  crescent Moon are together at dusk and they are spectacular! This year there are going to be  many solar system line ups and tonight was a great start.  Good ol' Luna is getting ready for another phase and Venus is  giving backyard skywatchers a great chance to really enjoy observing it, i am enjoying it.  The sky was actually full of airplanes, six of them around the western sky. Very busy skies airplane and planet, moon wise.  I filmed one and had a blast doing so.  Using my 12 inch dobsonian and 26mm eyepiece I enjoyed looking at both Venus and the Moon.

I observed from  6-6:47pm  and it was a complete blast!

What a great sight and objects for my new Polarizing Moon filters first light! Wow I am so glad I purchased it. I have a regular moon filter  and now a super duper souped up one. It was easy to use and I didn't have to keep taking it off like you do with a regular Moon filter, just turen it sort of like a dimmer. VERY GREAT ACCESORY!  Click here for my polarizing Moon filter. Click here for my regular moon filter.

Over all I enjoyed getting out in the crispy night doing some exploring. Just when I was going to move my scope to Jupiter in the east and hunt down Comet Levy, also in our skies right now below Jupiter  some high atmosphere clouds moved in.

But, Comet Levy you  enticing comet, I'll hunt you down yet!

Here are some pics I took:1.Sunset Moon 2..Same time, different camera setting 3Through my scope. 4.. My 12 inch dob 'Ambrosia' and the Moon And Venus above my scope.

VIDEOS  I SHOT... brighten your screen for the 1st one, neat smoke against sky!

Venus through my scope!

December 25, 2011

Six Am Trek - A Star Cluster Surprise

After feeding my cats 'n' dogs I had to do it, it was calling..the night sky was very inviting so I grabbed my binoculars and explored it for a while. Leo is roaring in the west, just under the zenith point. I brought no star maps out so I was a little lost, which was a nice feeling. Then I recognized my sky, I was ready to  explore. Sometimes, no matter  how well we know the constellations, the sky looks unfamiliar and new when we first step out the backdoor and look up.

I looked at Arcturus and as I moved too the left scouting out galaxies in my binoculars field of view  I didn't realize that I went too far and I ended up at the keystone cluster quite accidently. Which was pretty cool, your panning along and a big faint fuzzy clump comes into view. I was also downwards in the sky.  After I was done looking at it I retraced where I was around Arcturus  just with my eyes and I spotted a space probe going by so I caught it in my binoculars  and followed it until It was out of view, streaking from south west to northeast.  Cool big orange probe!  

Very nice and heartwarming too see Hercules and Lyra, Vega , and in the southeast the three stars of Scorpio was rising.  I scoured between the Big Dipper  and Virgo and found lots of galaxies, dimmer and smaller than I'm used too seeing them in my telescope, but still fascinating.

I originally set out too view  Saturn but by the time I was done being enthralled with the galaxies clouds were moving in. I saw Mars, great too see so many planets out. Saturn I will be back to  hunt you down with my eyepiece. We deep sky hunters are a different type of hunter, we shoot for objects in our eyepiece. Now that is the most fascinating hunt mankind can do, in my opinion!  

December 22, 2011

What Am I Up Too When Not Blogging Astronomically

As you know this blog is about my observations when I go out to observe.I added a twitter feed for links and updates astronomy and observing wise that I am up too.

I haven't been going out as much ..winter,brrr!  But resuming soon.
Down to your right on the page.

For those without facebook you can see my stuff I am up too and the cool things people send.

November 19, 2011


If it was not for the dropping, freezing tempratures this night would have been a pristine night for observing. The crispyness of the cold air made the skies absolutely clear and the seeing was spectacular.

The sky was so beautifully laid out with every star and planet, which is Jupiter right now, shining at their absolute maximum brightness. Betelgeuse is such a high intensity orange I was a magnet on it with my scope.  Just absolutely stunning.

Perseus was proudly placed among Auriga and Gemini and the Pleiades were a pleasure to observe. With my 10mm eyepiece and barlow lens I happily observed Merope and the bright blue nebulous haze around it. Very fascinating constellation to observe with my 12 inch dob. Jupiter's clarity is is a nice target lately, especialy with the moons in a different spot each night.

I truly love observing the three star clusters of Auriga, they are a great sight in the scope too me. Cassiopeia is in the best spot right now for viewing her deep sky objects around the area. I always enjoy stopping at the deep sky objects on this page in  and around the fun constellation I printed out. I visited all the objects on the list tonight!

The winter nights are very uncomfortably cols and a little hazerdous to our health to be out there in such frigid conditions but it is a part of us too stay connected to our cherished  observing life.

November 17, 2011


It was TOOOOOO  heavy for me to move my 12 inch dob around, I came up with the idea of putting handles and wheels on it!  Works great so I have to share how I pumped up the functionality of the scope.

November 13, 2011

My Observing Stuff

So finally I am sharing my observing toys and trinkets. I am always asked so I thought I would make a video, tried to keep it at a minumum of explanations  and time. After the video I have  Links  of accesories and stuff I mention in the video. Click the bottom x  for  full screen (or your choice of viewing it.). I enjoyed making it for everyone, now I want to make observing videos! Especially out under the stars this coming summer.

Links to products I mention in this video:

Here are the blue photos I mentioned as wel as 'USE YOUR FLASH' as I forgot to mention.

November 12, 2011


Wow the Moon has been experiencing amazing effects from falls weather (clouds are on the move in high winds!), mostly from atmospheric happenings . Two nights in a row I was out with my scope and camera having a blast. Jupiter and the Moon got close out there, awesome! Night sky is wild this week.

So last night I popped out and the Moon was so mystic looking, it was foggy and dewy, bad night for scopes and optics but great moment to capture with my camera. So here it is on film and photos. The Moon turned out awesome. Very cool orange effect.

This is one of the crazy high wind clouds blowing by the Moon and jupiter like the clouds were on fast forward. My batteries died just after this photo, which is not clear but you can see the cool event.

The Moon next morning at 7:30am. Wow you could see the dark grey features so well at the moment with just your eyes. Epic visual moment! That is my neighbors roof, wires and antenna's do not go with the Moons amazing-ness, it was so bright!

November 9, 2011


Ever go outside for a few minutes  and you look up to your night sky and a random yet exhilarating meteor streaks across the sky?  I love it too, it's like a sneaky surprise from the universe. My little dog Sophy and I went outside before bedtime and she was playing in the fallen leaves off the trees and I looked up and a brilliant blue meteor streaked through the sky by the Pleiades.

Tonight I am getting a good night's sleep, I really believe in a good night's sleep. So I said "good night meteor". Then picked Sophy up, went inside and enjoyed a good nights sleep cuddled with her under my blankets.

And they say a warm glass of milk is good for you before bedtime.

November 6, 2011

Moon-Lit Jet Streams Above My Backyard

I walked out of my back porch  and stepped outside  to get something in my shed and I of course looked up as I  was walking and one of my very favorite sky events in the summer was happening. Watching the jet streams from airplanes being lit up by the Moon. these I call events because I find them fascinating.  Just an incredible sight too me. I love the way they look with the Moon itself being out there.

The sky happening when the moon and airplanes meet is so amazing!!  People on the airplane have no idea what a a fascinating thing they left behind when flying above my backyard!!   Try brightening up your screen and full screen the video too see it, it was brighter on my camera.

November 5, 2011

Six Am Trek: Marvelous Mars And What's That Star?

Punctuation, grammer and propper writting people .. duck! your about to be clobbered! No other way to write how I am feeling right now, at this moment.

COLOSSAL WOW!  Just came in (7:38am)  from an hours worth of  observing!!! MARS IS SPECTACULAR RIGHT NOW!  So exciting, observing is  SOOO  amazing!  OBSERVING IS AN EPIC LIFE!   I got up at 6 am  for Sophy's doggie mother nature call and  yikes I could not stop looking up. Too the right in the south west  Orion is absolutely  magnificently placed for observing with it's vivid bright stars. Too my left Leo was roaring along with Mars too the right and above Regulas. Wow what a show! There is a very vivid white star poping up in the early morning, it is being affected by the rising atmosphere and it moves  so rapidly it glitters. Catch it if you get a chance in your scope. Leo triple galaxy was a nice treat also this morning.  Very nice objects to hunt and capture in my scope.

After rolling out my 12 inch dobsonian 'Ambrosia'  I moved it too Regulas, wow what a sight. Then to Mars and wow what a planet to observe in this size of scope, Ambrosia was doing a beautiful job showing me that planet. I started out getting it   in my finderscope using my 26mm eyepiece, then I threw on my Antares 2x Barlow, then moved in just a little with my 25mm.

After that I decided to play with my filters and eyepieces. My eyepieces I used were my  Meade 9.7mm and Orion 10mm eyepieces. Then my planetary filters. Mars isn't quite close enough to really dig into the landscape as great as you can with Jupiter (pm planet right now) but the filters provided some cool contrasts. As the dawn's light started to grow I just threw on my Anteres ND25  Moon filter and that darkens the background sky.

Now,  onto the mystery star.  I could not figure out what that star is. I know the skies, i've been observing it for 12 years and I should know, ever puzzling. Venus is up at dusk, rule that out. Saturn is up at dawn but it is a twinkling white star. Rule that planet out too. The only logical reasoning is a star but it is unclear to me because my experience and observing books, maps and Starry Night program tells me Arcturus could be the only star big enough to be it. But the star is orange.  So after some research it is Arcturus.

Why the unclearness? Atmospheric turbulance is affecting it.  When it is close to the horizon  atmospherics will  interfere with your view of it, happens to even the best telescopes. According to star catalogues  Arcturus is classified as orange whitish. The atmpsheric conditions can make any star appear white. So I'm going to keep an eye out on it as the weeks progressed.

So I had quite the learning and adventurous time trying to figure that out, in my observing experience I have not had that happen. So it was really fun, and puzzling trying to figure it out. If your out early before dawn take a look at it, very interesting.  But yet .. it's SO WHITE so i'm still 5% puzzled.

This morning was a fun observation session and you can bet I will be under the stars tomorow morning enjoying them all over again. What a great way too start a day!

Fantastik Sunrise And I Shot The Crescent Moon!

From my observing journal October 25, 2011

This is Niteskygirl reporting for The Nightsky Observer, I got up and the sky was so fantastik I went and grabbed my camera. I have been wanting to capture the Crescent moon for a year now and finally did. So happy about it!  Also I was geeked out with the morning sunrise I was clicking away while I was running around my neighborhood to capture it.

The first video I mention seeing an airplane shape in the clouds and I actually said it was the night sky instead of it was the clouds. Had fun filming it and Sophy makes an appearance.  There are more photos below the videos. This was fun too FINALLY capture the Crescent Moon. All pics were done on the sunset setting of my digital camera. Full screen the vids for better views.

Usually all mornings look about the same but for some reason I was enjoying this one to bits!!!

November 3, 2011


This morning between 6 -7 am I saw the northern lights! I was out with Sophy, she woke me up to go outside to go.. well you know, natures call.. and I looked up towards north and thought wispy clouds do not move that fast? What the hell is going on?

Then as we were going back to the house I thought only the northern lights do that. I looked up and they were just ending. Nice!!  I was out the two previous mornings observing Auriga, Gemini, Orion and company and this was another show before dawn.  I came back into the house, opened my bedroom window and thought wow the people across the street have no idea! Wow that  was quite the realization, I wanted to yell "Holy asteroids everyone!!" out my window.

Thinking that they had no idea AT ALL  what was going on above them, made me cherish my astronomy connection, astronomy world and life a little extra this morning while looking out my window in udder disbelief.  Goes to show you never know what's going on over your house in space!

October 28, 2011


WOW! Awesome video, loving it and the nice voice accompanying it.
That is a radio voice. Twilight zone effect but for astronomy buffs like us.

Us astronomy buffs thrive at night under the stars enjoying our hobby, this video and incredible music gives me a great feeling in my night sky observers soul.

For his other interesting videos click here.

October 22, 2011


Full of hot young stars that is. Tonight I had a pleasant time observing them all. I went out, looked up and the stunning view knocked me out. How can I find the right word to even to begin to describe the stunning view of Perseus, Pleiades, Pegasus, Cassiopeia and the planet Jupiter? How about wonderful, impressive and thrilling.

Right now it is getting chilly at 48* and I bundled up to enjoy some familiar deep sky sights. I'm touring with my  12 inch dobsonian, 25mm lens and 2x barlow lens. Jupiter is electric out there! That planet is getting a little bigger and every feature on it is very well seen and the moons are nice to observe. WOW What a sky! What a sight! I began by looking at Jupiter then going to my favorite part of Perseus which is the Mirfak area. I never get tired of exploring this awesome part of the milky way. It is so rich with young blue stars, a spectacular sight in my scope.

Then I poked around the Pleiades, my barlow lens brings out the nebulosity around Merope and other stars in really nice detail. I then aimlessly wandered around Triangulum, stopping at  the galaxy known as m33  and some of the galaxies around  Andromeda. Each site is so bright this time of year, really worth it going out in the chilly night, even for just a little while.

Check out this nice page on Triangulum, I printed it out and used it as my guide tonight and observed everything on it with my scope. It is very worth it to check out all the deep sky goodies in this not so well known and often overlooked area. Last week I scoured it with my binoculars.

Even though the weather is changing to the unwelcomed by stargazers and die hard observers  uncomfortable cold is returning for four months, it's worth it to pop out, take a few peeks and stay connected  to your deep sky hunting!  :)

October 18, 2011


 A Week (ish) ago I went out to put the garbage out and the clouds were making an amazing effect around the moon. HAD to film it for everyone, so amazing!  I was so wowed. It is just amazing me our skies. It looks like a nebula effect. I took some shots then decided to try for a video and wow I got one. Then the clouds got moving.. wow!  Too amazing. Ever changing skies.  Photos below the video.

Click on the icon on the right hand side of video too view it full screen and click bottom photos to see them larger.

Kicking Off A New Day With The Soccerball Cluster

From my observing journal: October  5 2011 
WOW!!  It was 6am and I went outside to browse around the winter sky. A beautiful 6:17am and  dawn was rising, orion nebula was a showpiece  and I could still see the orion nebula and surrounding stars. do you get the amazement of this? The sun was rising and all the stars were disappearing slowly and the nebula was still seen to the max. and the pleiades were all brilliant, just stunning. Loving my new binoculars!! 

Usually in my telescopes I can still see it big time but my binocs is  quite the star catcher. I was kicking off a new day with the soccer ball cluster. Do you know what the soccer ball cluster is??   Hint: It is a deep sky feature of Gemini, found by a major star found in the constellation.  This really cool, and a great idea, of an asterism was created by Phil Harrington. you can read about it and go out just before dawn and kick it around for yourself, your star maps awaits right here. I decided to make a video, was feeling really great after some pre-dawn winter sky observing. Click right  here to check out the asterism.

The photo above is exactly  the  pre-dawn sky I was observing  when I can still see the great nebula, pleiades and surrounding goodies. I really enjoyed the spectacular Sirius, just so spectacular that star is. Grab a scope or binoculars and go catch a glimpse of it. And Jupiter and it's moons were a  visual treat.

"I discovered the term the soccer ball cluster from Phil Harrington's  Binocular Universe" is what I was going to say when my batteries died. Then I decided to show you my skies I observe and my observing space.

I call my observatory Summer Moon Stargazing observatory after an amazing night I had in 2003. No worries, my telescopes were cleaned up and everything that was on it was put away. Actually my whole back porch got cleaned, built up some energy being excited  that the winter skies are around. The big dipper was out too!   I also caught some galaxies in my scope while dabbling among the dipper!

October 8, 2011


I was somewhere out there in my binoculars. and I see some spacecraft and I yelled (yes loud) woaaah look! wooow it's the fuckin international space station!!!!!

WOOOOOWWW! that was awesome! I started to tear up! wow so amazing! I had to get the excitement out so I did a free thing of running to grass and plopped down and just layed there whispering "holy asteroid! the international space station! wow that was awesome wow!". And rolling like an idiot, how can you contain that??!! 

Then sophy and spirit came over and was jumping on me. Accidently wound up my dogs!   What an awesome moment, wow!!


September 27, 2011


The Sirius area of the winter sky  is spectacular!  I woke up shortly after six am , looked out the window and wow! Orion and Canis Major was out. Could not resist the urge to go out and observe them before dawn started to appear. According to my star charts right now the  six am sky is actually February's sky.

I took my Celestial Sampler book and notebook, telescope and binoculars and got to work on some Sirius observing.

I had a blast with the winter stars. I went inside and grabbed my Cosmic Challenge and polished off some winter sky challenges. Sirius has some amazing star clusters around it!  Best thing? I was just wearing my pajama bottoms and a t-shirt!  Had to throw on a hoodie but usually it is winter when this sky is observed.  AWESOME! I am keeping track of my own Cosmic challenge From the book right here.

Last night around nine pm I went out with my binoculars. Here is last night's entry from my observing journal:

September 26,2011  60 degrees. 8:52pm -  Deneb seems to look visibly brighter tonight, I'm thinking something is going on with it or maybe the cooler weather.
I've been studying the Pegasus area extra carefully with my star maps, now that I have my 12 inch dobsonian I want to hunt down everything in it. I found the extension stars from Markab to Enif.  Very easy too see, found Enif and M15 to be in the same field of view in my binoculars.

Quite the stars to the right of Enif, Delphinus is showing off tonight!  While I was in the area, I swung my binoculars to the Andromeda galaxy. I always just have to take a peek at that great big galaxy.

The star clusters I observed:

M41  Cr121 Also knows as Colinder 21
NGC 2362  Amazing view in my 12 inch dob! The blues were SO VIVID!
NGC 2423 Colorful!
Mel71 Also known as Melotte 71

M44  Stunning cluster

M93  M46 and M47  M67  NGC 2354  

The planetary nebula's I observed:

NGC 2438  NGC 2440 

The star systems I observed:

ADS6915  Triple star!  ADS 6921 Quadruple star!

September 25, 2011


Anyone else remember Mir up in the winter sky?

Last night around four am I woke up and looked out my laundry room back door too see what constellations were up, I love doing that during the night. When I looked out I saw Orion was well placed for observing and sirius was out just below. Then I remembered something very cool!

Twelve years ago during my first year of observing there used to be a big light to the Right and up a little, it would be there almost every night. Then I found out it was a satellite ... I completely forgot about that. there used to be a big star or something that was accompanying Orion and it twinkled. I looked at my star maps and it was not there. I looked it up online and it turned out to be Mir, the russian space station.

For three years I enjoyed Orion's glittery companion. After it was returned to Earth I missed seeing it out there for a couple of years, that was nice to be reminded of it! I also remember Ken Hewitt-White's article in the SkyNews magazine mentioning how he was going to miss going out too be greeted by what he called his winter night sky companion. At the time it was returning to Earth and he wrote a nice article on his enjoyment of it sitting by Orion.

So I was not the only one who enjoyed Mir's  presence in the night sky! Just for old times sake let me end this article by saying what I used to say when I stepped out my door, which was "So what shall we explore tonight Mir?".

September 21, 2011


From my observing journal: September 22, 2011

I'm on Jupiter's tail tonight. That planet has no tail but,still, I am on it. I dragged myself out here, it is nicer out than I thought. I had a busy day but when I went out 10 minuets earlier that was a huge object in the sky and that sucker  was taunting me to get my scope out and explore it and the four moons it was with in the sky. So even though I love to go out and observe I made the commitment of  not being lazy. I was being called out there whether I was too tired tonight or not, I had to answer it's call.

So I bundle up with a few sweatshirts a hat and lay down the doggie beds and blankets and heeeey wait a minute! Where did all the fricken clouds come from? wow they come quick. Jupiter was fading and brightening like it was on a dimmer switch which told me the clouds were not very thick.  After I stepped out in the grass to assess the clouds I realized tonight was a peekaboo night. No steady skies for deep observation, the clouds were out to tease the stargazers this night.  So I pull out Ambrosia and get my 26mm eyepiece  all tightened in and Jupiter looked great! Nice double band and steady seeing for a few minuets. The four moons were scattered to it's left. Wow what a showpiece in the eyepiece. also i have noticed the past week that planet is  on the move! Just last week it was on the horizon.  When it seems to be on the move faster night by night I call it 'Jumpin Jupiter. Here is a shot of it i took in Ambrosia, my 12 inch dobsonian through my 26mm eyepiece. It was hard to get a shot because the clouds were not cooperating but it's still a shot of it, oh no! I shot Jupiter!

So after waiting and then observing a few seconds here and there jupiter was worth the commitment to come out. I'm committed to coming out but when I'm tired I listen. It was a great idea to come out.

Here is what Jupiter exactly looks like in my 12 inch dobsonian I compared to make sure. With my 25mm eyepiece and 2x barlow.

 When Jupiter was hiding between the clouds I'd swing my scope to the stars, Persues is absolutely packed with spectacular blue stars, Mirfak area is a blast to explore, caught some galaxies in Pegasus and then visited the Andromeda galaxy, then onto Cassiopeia. Also I saw a supernova! wow incredible chance to see one in my telescope, epic moment. M101 is a sight to be seen in itself but tonight a star is in the spotlight in that area.

Then around 12:32am the clouds rolled in their heavy  stuff and completely covered the sky so I packed everything in, sat on the blankets with Sophy for a bit and then it was bedtime.  I am always glad to go out for a few when something special is happening in the sky,  always worth it.  The clouds won over the sky but I had fun playing with my optics and filmed a little. An hour and a half battling the clouds is not bad, it was fun!

Video I made: The Quietness At The Eyepiece.

September 19, 2011

The Moon And Venus 2009

From Observing Journal: February 27 2009
Wow tonight I am really excited! I found out my  Fuji Fine Pix pocket camera  has a 'night' setting. So I took it outside and I got this shot, facing east at dusk. I can still feel the cc-old breeze on my face.

Wow ever nice to have pics for my observing journal. I got Story out and had a blast observing the moon and Venus. Earlier I printed out info on it and now I am enjoying it. Wow.

Sept 19, 2011 - Here is the article I printed out, looked it up for fun. Venus will be in our sky in October and I am looking forward to seeing her in my scopes again. I still have that camera but I use my new one outside now. If you click on the Tonight's Night Sky link to the upper right of my blog, I have info on Venus's forthcoming visit.  CANNOT WAIT! WOO HOO!

Under The FireFly Moon

This photo was taken July 5th 2009. Wow I even captured a firefly!  Summer nights under The Moon and even just starry nights when the Moon is not present is so fun!

Backyard summer nights under the stars are unbeatable!

September 16, 2011

A Four AM Trek: Lunar And Planetary Challenge

 What an amazing night! (boy, I could label all my articles that!) I dragged myself up, got some sweaters on and a winter hat (chilly out there) and my bag with my observing books etc I keep organized for when I decide to pop outside everything is there and ready to go. Very handy, make one for yourself!  I am working on all the lunar observing section of Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge.

Tonight I start on what craters and features that are present. I love observing challenges, bring it on Phil!  Next summer  I  plan on completing  observing lists like the Messier objects, and observing the NGC list and others from different astronomy clubs and leagues. But tonight I am browsing some winter sky sights with Ambrosia, my 12 inch dobsonian. Taurus is a complete blast to explore, as I mentioned above it is chilly tonight but I am ready for it with an electric blanket plugged into the outside plug on my house. It is keeping Sophy nice and warm.  Jupiter and the moon are still riding through each constellation at a close pace. Moon is leading the way.

This is a treasure at 4 am with great weather to observe by. I took a lengthy  look at Jupiter, I read in my sky News magazine earlier for September/October 2011 skies that Jupiter will be very bright and brighter in October sometime, wow really? It is so super bright now, just shimmering out there tonight.  It is so vivid in my scope tonight  I had to tone the brightness with my moon filter.  I slapped on my ultra high contrast filter and wow what a show the moons of jupiter put on. I put in my Barlow and switched from my 26mm eyepiece to my 10mm Plossl and you cannot see the terrain or atmospheric  details of the moons but it was a great idea to try it. It brought out really cool  striking effect. I thought the 10mm Plossl would bring them in too much but it turned out effective on exploring them in more detail.

Jupiter got really wonky looking up close so I tapped the scope's tube  so the ultra close planet was out of my field of view and I focused my view on the moons.  This time too much magnification worked, you have to work with your scope and eyepieces magnification powers carefully with different deep sky objects but this experiment worked well.  I decided on a whim too try my Lumicon UHC  filter then amped up the eyepiece power to goof off, try it yourself some time. My scope  size may differ from  yours but it is fun to test out your scope's power to magnify.  Deep  sky  observing with low numbered but high power viewing is tricky, specially with 10 mm  too 7mm high powered eyepieces.  Best thing is experience and writing down what worked and didn't work out.  Have to play with your optics now and then, a great learning tool to be the skilled deep sky observer you want to be.

After that I got to work on the lunar challenge and that was a complete blast but you'll see sometime soon what I observed, I am opening a separate page for it for fun. As I packed in everything I was once again thankful that I dragged myself out here, always worth the while!

As I enjoyed a glass of apple juice before I went back to sleep I noticed something new to explore. What fun can I have next with my Lumicon filter.  I do not play with my eyepieces and filters together very often but I will test out my Lumicon UHC more, it is a great addition to amp up your observing our fun to explore night sky.  As always, I feel so soul fulfilled and amazed at what I observed and felt deep in my soul. I am happy to be an observer once again, a passion that will never leave my life. Astronomy and observing it's not just a hobby it is our way of life.

September 13, 2011

Saturday Night On Earth

From my observing journal: Sept 11, 2011
10:35pm - Wow what an amazing night! The sky has a nice big full moon, Jupiter! Cozy blankets, Les Baxter's song 'moon moods' playing on my portable cd stereo for some great night music. Also I have my two star gazing buddies, dogs Sophy and Spirit. aaaahh nice night. It is 70 degrees and slighty windy. Les Baxter and his orchestra made some great music. My self made album (downloaded and burned onto a cd) is named after one of his songs on it 'saturday night on saturn'.  

Thwap! mosquito. I have my binoculars for some deep sky viewing, It feels like summer out here tonight  because it is 70 degrees and slighty windy. Slightly to harder winds makes for steady transparent skies, perfect seeing. classic Les Baxter on my radio makes it extra enjoyable. Beautiful music to listen too out here by the blue light of my radio and the view of the full moon. Wow these binocs are so great, I just popped the Pereus double cluster in it's field of view AND there is a full moon's light out! 

11:58pm - Wow I have been sitting here ..really? one and a half hours listening to my music and staring at the moonlight? wow. When it is a full moon  there's not much hope for dark skies so you can find more deep sky objects to feed your satisfaction of hunting them down but you can still enjoy the night sky. I always take this time too sit back and apreciate the nite sky connection I have in my life. I sit, relax and just enjoy the lit up night sky and moon as company. 

You are taking a rare moment out of life to just be. to just enjoy being under the moon and what stars or planet(s) you can see. Tonight Lyra, Aquilla, and Cygnus are all saying "Come on out, we'll enjoy the moon with you tonight".

Thwap! another mosquito, only two tonight. The crickets are singing to the moon quietly tonight. sophy is beside me just staring here and there, spirit is under his tree sleeping in his favourite spot. tonight is a really nice night too be out here, ooh big airplane coming, love pulling out my binocs and watching them fly by.  

Here is a video I made. Enjoy the cricket sounds! And on my radio is Because Of You by: Les Baxter

And one of my  radio blue light and the moon. Song is 'blue tango'. by Les baxter.

One thing I love about summer full moon nights is the shadows of the trees on my patio. The moons light is bright enough to cause shadows of the tree's leaves. It is such a small thing in life but so amazing to me. I cannot get enough of is on full moon nights like tonight  when you just spend time under the moon appreciating your night sky and astronomy life. 

It's a nice life when you are connected to the night sky and full moon night sky feeling. A full moonlit night sky is like a classic Sinatra song.

September 8, 2011

Time For My "Four Am Trek"

I found out it has been 12 years too this month I have been observing. When I was first learning the skies and getting out there exploring with "Vista" my new 5 inch newtonian reflector (let's not forget the irritating shaky tripod mount). As I was saving up for my 8 inch dobsonian I was using Vista to get better at aiming my finder-scope I discovered something amazing.

I was getting pretty good at the constellations and managed to get them down packed and just learning how to hunt down deep sky objects. I was tired  one night and it was getting cold out there so I was also feeling lazy (I hate being cold) so I went to bed. Later around 4:10am I awoke feeling and feeling like going outside so
I grabbed my bag with my books, charts, eyepieces etc in it, threw a big cozy knitted sweater on and  when I stepped out and looked up and a brand new starry sky was there.

The stars were so much brighter, bigger and I was stunned, unable to set another foot  forward to drop my bag onto my picnic table and turn on my radio as I usually did. I just stood there amazed at the spectacular display of heavenly lights of patterns I did not recognize above me.

After 20 minuets  I set up my scope and stuff and flipped on my radio for some night music and good company and got my charts out to discover ... What the what??? I looked at the patterns, I did not recognize any patterns! This is not the same sky I explored last night?  So I looked up and tried to see if anything looked slightly familiar, wait that looks like a stick figure, it is Orion. I remembered it from my books I was looking at. How can it be, it is summer and winter stars are up?

Wow I discovered the winter sky is up in the summer! A four in the morning surprise. So I learned what was what for an hour then started to look at all the stars of Orion and the Great Orion Nebula, all the stars of Taurus the bull and just when I was happily exploring the Pleiades the sun started to rise. Pretty cool moment to experience when in my eyepiece I still see darkness of the night sky and yet dawn was very present.

So for that month of September I would go out three times a week at least to explore the winter, not in winter clothes, mitts and hat, but in short, socks and a t-shirt.  This year now that I am once again deep into my observing I look forward too my yearly four am trek. To this day I still feel the awe of the winter stars, no matter how many times I do my trek, the star are so renewed  looking and takes my breath away leaving my neighborhood  hearing a loud "Wow! amazing. Look at the stars!" from my backyard.

How about you, ready to give it a try?

September 5, 2011

The Two Am Planetary Wake up Call

So last night just after two am Sophy woke me up to use the great outdoors outhouse and I had to force myself out  of my nice toasty warm bed. I dragged myself to my closet and threw on a pair of sweat pants and my George Mason University sweat shirt and walked down my hall, out the kitchen door and out through the back porch doors to my patio. As I threw on the hood and watched Sophy hippity- hop through the grass searching for the right spot I looked up.

WOAAAH! HELLO JUPITER!  Right  now it is looking spectacular out there right now, it's poppin!  I yelled "Jupiter! wow Pleiades too!". Then I looked northeast and mister Perseus is up. Along with Cassiopeia in full view. It was a nice sky folks! It will be looking like that for a few weeks to come so if your doggie wakes you up to answer his/her nature's call bring your love of the night sky, it is a great sight. I wanted to pull out my observing equipment and telescope but, I have an astronomer's meeting online tonight and I like to get a full night's sleep the night before.

But you know me,  I will certainly  be out there after the meeting soaking up the spectacular view and starry protons in my barlow lens. Along with my star-maps and notebook to write everything down, I am a huge believer in observing journals, diaries or whatever you like to call them. Jupiter is very huge in our night sky right now, go catch yourself a planetary delight tonight!

(after note* Some cool links are happening in comments)

September 3, 2011

For those of you who used to read my old blog called NightSkyGirl,  it is back online! I will be continuing this one of course, I am enjoying sharing the observing world.  My old blog is being updated with all the original posts.  Click here to visit.

A Meteor Shower I Will Never Forget - Perseids 2011

This year I was invited to what turned out to be the biggest meteor shower event I have ever experienced, it was on a global scale. Global meaning WORLD WIDE.

Click here to watch it ( I tried to add it here, but, something went wonky).

My friend GianLuca Masi hosts the most amazing Virtual Telescope events online, free, at least 200 or less people attend and you can chat with everyone as the show is happening.  You can connect to him on Facebook and he will send you an event message when they happen. Amazing astronomy chat happens every  time. Astronomy buffs from all around the world attend.  The images in the video is EXACTLY what I see through GianLuca's scope. Here are some photo's to show you what you will see, actually, more like EXPERIENCE!

Follow this link to find where to be a part of it, as always, GianLuca you did a phenomenal job!

August 28, 2011

A Galactic Full Moon-Lite Surprise

 From my observing journal: August 11, 2011  11pm-1:24am
Temp:  70* Moon phase: "Waxing Gibbous" 95 % full.

So I went to enjoy the light of the full moon and I received a galactic surprise. I had a complete blast photographing the moon's light that was splashed around my backyard and my house. I am more a goof off rather than a serious one with my digital camera,but, tonight I shot some exciting shots around my backyard of the moon light bouncing onto my house. You can check them out by scrolling down too my story called ' A Night Enjoying Some Moon-Shine'.

Later I decided to pick up my new binocs and explore the new constellations  popping up around the northeast area of the sky. First thing I did was breeze my binocs around Cassiopeia, what a fun area to explore. If you like to see lots of cool stars this is an area you'll like. I spent about 20 minutes just moving my binocs any which way above and below Cassiopeia A star. Then I saw the star Andromeda galaxy is above was out so I popped it to the star and wow what a great orange star!

I am so impressed with my new binoculars it was worth every penny. As I got wandering around my binocs were living up to it's name 'Messiers Comet' they were gliding to precision. All of a sudden there was a huge fuzzy, oblong in roundness and unmistakably there. Wow once I had that in my view they were locked in, these binocs were not moving any time soon. Now remember, I am a telescope girl so you'd see me with my scope out more than binoculars out there but  now it's a competition. My old 10x50 binocs I used many times but Messiers Comet is packed for a punch so I'll be cruising the skies with them every chance I get. When Andromeda galaxy was in view it was a very well seen smudge and reminded me of when Comet Holmes was out October 2007. Wasn't that Comet a blast?

Let's get  back to that orange star, it was so spectacular, I enjoyed looking at it. The star is Mirach in constellation Andromeda. Then as I moved my binocs upward to the galaxy I was scouting out there is a smaller group of stars hanging out together  and I'd say there were maybe 6 or 7 of them, dim but well seen. It surprised me how it came into my view so easy, and wide. I got hungry for more galaxies to find in my  binocs but I left my observing books inside, decided to just poke aimlessly around the sky tonight.  So around 12:30am the old unwanted yawning started and I did have a busy day so I started to pack it in and as I went to grab the blankets I saw it, a blob of light north-east. I thought it was a close airplane, there is an airport across the river. As I walked across my lawn I remembered airplanes do not come from that direction and realized it was Jupiter.

So I grabbed my binocs and saw Jupiter and saw the spectacular disk and three moons  and was glad to see Jupiter. Looking forward to this years adventures with Jupiter.  Always nice to have a planet gracing our skies at night. Too the right and up  to the East more Uranus is out, looks like I'll have a challange up my sleeve with my 12 inch dobsonian. A double planetary hunt!

(Here is the trail I describe above, click for bigger photo)

August 24, 2011

Our Night Sky Connection - An Aspiring Way

VERY glad I have a blog again, loving it how it is just about my observing , no deep astronomy writing. Observing is my focus in my life now, my life renewal, my new  observing toys and observing with them is my total focus.

When I wake up I'm already thinking of it and what I can find to observe out there and it fuels my day. Sophy too but glad to be happy and focused again on my passion for observing. I always have a star map notebook and observing book when eating etc. I have lists of plans and lists of what's out there on my scope. When I go to bed at night I am elated about being out there once again and think of how amazing it all really is or listening to At The Eyepiece podcast. Either way it is on my mind as I fall asleep. I am a happy soul.

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.