June 4, 2012

Astronomy Is A Great Life

 Last night I was online from 10pm - 2:42am chatting about deep sky hunting, planet hunting, saw an unbelievable amount of amateur astronomy people's sites and observances it put me in such a deep peace and focus place. This morning in the kitchen filled with deep peace reading Mike Brown the planet hunters memoir of finding planets etc I cannot believe my focus. Great book.. click here

I have a new story on my blog, have more to write up today and I have to get my imac out, let the astronomers work begin. Deep sky observing is on the menu again tonight, and a few Moon craters. My observing life is back !

June 3, 2012

A Satelites And Orange Stars Night

From my observing journal: May 22, 2012
Observed from 10:00-11:40pm  Temp: A great 68*
Wow! All the stars and nice out to boot.  I am sitting on a few blankets with my dogs and just being finally here is so incredible, sitting here on the ground listening to crickets singing and looking up is making my ol' stargazers soul happy.

Very cool to hear the frogs croaking in my pond again, usually they are very vocal during the full Moon nights, I guess frogs like to sing to the Moon.  Tonight I am enjoying how my binoculars are making everything  just pop.

Spica and Arcturus are bright and nice to look at up close. I am finding so many orange stars out here while scanning around  the sky. They are an amazing color in the telescope. So after getting over the overwhelming feeling of finally being out here on a regular basis due to the nice weather  I set my Binocular sites on Leo and his visitor, the planet Mars.  I can also make out some galaxies to the right of the star called Deneb. A very nice cluster of them actually. Holy asteroids Saturn is a beaut in my binoculars. Both Saturn and Mars have been my planetary first light in my binocs this night, the very first night I used them last August  there were np planets in the sky. OOOHH! a huge and VERY LOW  airplane! Wow I whipped my binocs to it and wow I saw the numbers on the bottom of the airplane, 578931.

I also visited Hercules and it's massive, my favourite, star cluster known as  M13. There is one interesting constellation under Bootes that is intriguing, especially a small red star to the left and down of Arcturus.  Also 28 satelites passed through the field of view in my binoculars. That was really interesting. I counted them starting after 3 of them went by, then I found that I was on a path where sattelites pass by.
There is a very mild breeze with a minor amount of chillyness, but it is tolerable, having a blast out here. The breeze feels good as I am looking up as if I am movin through space.

Now in Leo Between the triangle area of Denebola,Chertan and Zosma I  happened to come across an interesting pattern  of stars resembling the constellation Delphinus.  I was scanning very slowly just seeing what is around and I thought wow that looks like Delphinus. It was really unique and just like it so I named it The Dephinus Double. The photo at left is to show you where it basically was, next time I'm going to locate it and get it exact.

After that I went back to where the plane of satelites were and saw one mysterious looking orb, bright orange and sort of Arcturus like. Found out online it is either  mapping the our planets atmosphere or taking night views of Earth!

May 10, 2012

Happy To See My Summer Stargazing Friend Vega

Vega is rising north east tonight! I was so happy to see it I started to kind of cry, I have a deep connection to Lyra. It was the constellation I learned how to line my scope up too, find deep sky objects with my scopes and it was a bewildering experience when I was learning.

 In winter I always feel a piece of me is missing because it is too cold to observe and tonight I feel whole again. Bootes is wonderfully placed and Leo and Mars are roaring out there! So happy summer stargazing /observing is back! Happy tears :)

May 3, 2012


I AM SO INSPIRED! I watched october sky last night and I am so inspired by it. I feel so lucky to be apart of the astronomy and everything that it has to offer for you. My community online (you!) inspires me to live my passion for observing and the night sky to the max, even though it is already my life! I laid in bed last night staring at my ceiling being so overwhelmed with gratitude.

This astronomy world life we live everyday is such an amazing experience and a fabulous (what?)  way to spend each day. When Jake's character was watching sputnik and they showed the little orb traveling across the sky I fell in love with the night sky all over again and I already love it.

Watch the awesome trailer RIGHT HERE, love the Sputnik original broadcast!


One thing I, well two actually, I got a kick out of when they were looking at a 50's magazine figuring out how to build a rocket it said 'Amateur Rocket Making'. I wonder if it is actually an old magazine! Also when Jake's character was looking through the old magazines they actually looked like the originals. I wanted to pause the movie, step in and read and look through all of them! They look like the one's Mike and Frank always find on American Pickers. I would like to find them all on Google and read them! See what year they were published also!

So, 11pm last night Sophy and I went under the stars well, so she can go to the bathroom and I stood there by her and looked up, beautiful wispy clouds and the stars, Moon, Venus and just the exhilarating feeling of it being in the 70's was awesome. I wanted too grab my suitcase full of star-maps etc and my scope and get back into summer stargazing/observing, but, I am finally feeling well from my food stuff, gluten free girl here, and I have been so busy I forgot to keep up with my healthy ways of eating. So after I laid there geeked out from October Sky and the meteor that shot thru while I was standing there with Sophy  I got  a good night's sleep.

I am interested in finding more about clouds for the daytime  so after ordering some cloud books and the original 'Rocket boys by: Homer  Hickham' <--  The book the movie was based on, gotta read it, so fascinating.

I'm ready for launch!

March 8, 2012

My Astronomy And Observing Life

Many have asked how I got started wow that was amazing to work on. Opening up my first books I still have and going through my first ever observations have been an amazing trip. I am lucky to still have the drive and passion for observing, nothing more awe some and thrilling to do is too listen to my old radio shows and oldies under the night sky.

What year did you start out ? When did you get your first telescope?

1999 my mom and I would bring our two labs out to the bathroom and she would say " who wants to see the stars?" and our two dogs would run to the back door and we would look up. After some time I got wondering what the moon looked like in a telescope, then that christmas my mom wanted to buy me a telescope.

My parents  bought me a 5 inch newtonian reflector,Terence Dickinson's Night Watch book and Bob Berman's  Secrets of the Night Sky: Most Amazing Things in the Universe You Can See with the Naked Eye. Then I became so hooked on Messier object hunting. And It was the time my mom decided to buy a computer for the family so I didn't have to trek all the way to the library to see how to observe and it was not very convenient. I remember it was november of 1999 because crappy ol christmas was coming and we had xmas stuff on the desktop.

The telescope was blue and the name on it was Vista  'Omcrom Vista 1811S'. It is not in production today. The telescope store was called Universal Science and the owner named Robin was a guy who actually was an observer so my parents got lucky with a good purchase! My mom still remembers the squirrel in the view when Robin was showing them how it can magnify objects.

I was not very serious about getting a telescope and yet on the morning I opened it up I was stunned at what was in the box. I clearly remember sitting there looking at the star clusters and nebulas in the Night Watch book and thinking "wow this is what I can find out there?", I was so amazed.

How did you get good at observing?

I wanted to see everything and realized it is more tricky too see things in a telescope. Little did I know about how to hunt down deep sky objects and one night I was frustrated and ended up in an astronomy chat room on Yahoo in 2002. That night a guy who is now one of my good friends on the internet took the time to ask me what I was looking for, what scope I had and what I tried. Three hours later I was well informed and wrote out 5 pages of info.

That is what I needed, another observers help. I started chatting with others and well 10 years later I am still in contact and still chat with everyone on saturday nights. I still remember in the fall of 2003 I was researching how to be a sky watcher and got really good at it because I enjoyed it so much. I loved knowing what was going on and was taught how to notice when something seems different.

Is there a special time you treasure that really got you loving observing?

Yes the summer of 2003. It was a time where I was tenaciously scouring the sky, I wanted to find everything in my scope's eyepiece. My soul would get lost through the ionosphere that was carrying the  signals that my shortwave radio waves were carrying. listening to broadcasts from now right into broadcasts of the past, one night I was tuning the dial and broadcasts were being replayed of sputniks launch. it was a new fascinating world to me, the night time. and I was happy to be a part of it. I would sit on my lawn swing for hours after eleven pm  watching the skies and listening to the sounds the ionosphere was emitting through my shortwave. What an amazing box! From all around the world! I will be adding a photo of my old radio here, so check back!

I found a book called "Seeing In The Dark" by Timothy Ferris  and everything I was thinking and feeling,shortwave ionosphere and the night world, everything was in his words, common bonds that are unspoken because conveying them is so soul felt unspeakable with clarity of words. Everything he said I was living, thinking feeling. the night time. It was such an amazing new world to me, I'd step out of my back porch, drop my things..star-maps, notebook, pens, snacks, water and books and accessories. Turn on my radio, listen to the 50's and doo wp music, even earlier singers like Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Cloooney while I was observing. Then when I was ready for my snack after a long time at the scope hunting down deep sky objects I'd get on my lawn swing, grab a blanket and switch my radio to short-wave mode and get lost in the broadcasts and stare at the sky for a while.

I really loved that radio and still have it. Everything became so simple, a car is a cool thing.. cars.. wow. Life became so simple and so amazing to me, the more I spent time at that 8 inch dobsonian at night the more simpler and amazing the world became to me. It was a blissful time. In his book Timothy Ferris explains how he would enjoy the sounds of Earth's music at night while at the scope. He explained how the ionosphere carried the signals and what a difference in how he saw the world in the daytime. Just like how I was experiencing it, Fifties music like I was, as a teenager he would be out all night with his radio and telescope.  Nights are prime for radio listening, add the night sky connection we have and it is an amazing experience at night time.

Egyptian constellations lore was always on around 2am from Egypt  on saturday nights, they were amazing stories to listen too at the scope.  Alexandria, Egypt. FM RADIO. 88.7 was the station actually. In the daytime I would study my star-maps and when I would listen to my 50's music while perusing the maps  and I would go to the awe struck place at night.

As of writing this, in  March 2012,   I am still enjoying sky watching. It is amazing to be connected too all Who love the night sky online. So how did I get the name NiteSkyGirl? My friend Orly gave it too me in 2009 because even though I am in my forties (46  at this moment wow)  My heart belongs to  backyard observing and I am a nite-sky-girl right down into my soul.

 And I am one that still explores space in my backyard with my 12 inch scope and I always will, you'll find me out there, with my oldies and still sky watching and observing the deep sky too my hearts content.

I have another great post about my love of observing called Great Stories Under The stars, click here.

 Exploring the night sky is the most amazing life I have ever lived.

March 6, 2012

Thanks Guys, And Deep Sites For Everyone!

Thanks so much for all the emails of welcome back and those who sent in awesome stuff on what is their favorite things in the night sky since I posted the story below this one your reading right now. I answered everyone this past week and now that spring is coming I will be be out there exploring the night sky again with my scopes and star maps and will post it all here on the blog.

For those who sent messages in the comments in the last post below, I answered all your messages, go check em guys!

Now onto some great sharing! I received 29 emails from backyard explorers asking what are the websites I found as part of my  upcoming deep sky exploring this year and I decided to share them. Get your scopes ready! Lots of deep sky challenges coming your way. Would love to hear from people who are printing out these lists and taking them under the stars, beside their scopes and through the eyepiece.

Top 200 Beautiful Double Stars      Barbara Wilson's Ultimate Challenge

Deep Sky Objects That Are Off The Beaten Path 

Colossal Cool! ->  Downloadable Observing Guides On Faint Fuzzies 

Kembles Cascade & ngc5102 in Camelopardis

Saguaro Astronomy Club's Things To View ( I LOVE This!, Highly recommend checking out the 'Naked Eye 100' on that page also! )

Galaxy cluster in Hercules (mouse over pic and click for closer view)

 The Virgo Mainline    Deep Sky In Summer, Scenic Spots In Summer Sky

36 Interesting Galaxy Clusters  Tackling The Corona Borealis Cluster

This summer I want to have a blast out under the night sky in my backyard finding EVERYTHING I possible can so I decided to throw some fun words into google like challenging deep sky objects, deep sky exploring and I found all the sites above. I'll add more to my blog now and then. If you have any please do share!  For more great links check out this post from Last August, click here to read it .

February 6, 2012

Summer Sky Joy In .. January?

From my observing journal: January 29
This morning at 6:40am I went outside to bring Sophy out  to answer natures call and It was actually mild out, so mild out I felt  amazing. Very happy to feel the mild  air. It felt soooo good on my face I took off my winter hat and hood off my parka and yelled " Wow! it is so mild out wow that feels good".

I got so energized, the night sky was dark and another amazing thing happened, my summer, my beloved summer sky was out. All of my constellations I love to observe was above me and all around. My favorite area was to the east, the summer triangle. The summer triangle is a part of  my heart, I have indescribable joy  for them.

They are the constellations I learned to know the sky with when I first began observing them in 2000. I can still feel the amazing  joy in me from when I first got to learn about Cygnus, Lyra and the star Altair. My deep bond with Vega from those first nights of exploring blue stars in Lyra will always be there. This morning I was so happy too see them all in the sky, including Hercules and Scorpio. I just stopped in my tracks this morning, joy started getting  to me and I said "Sophy it is my summer sky, wow it's here!". Then I got teary eyed and started to cry a little, I have missed them so much this winter, observing in general.

But, I'm ready to attack! I have been studying deep, very very deep sky maps to find challenging things out in space this year, bring em on!  The mild air on my face made me sappy too, the amazing feeling of spring air is so welcomed and refreshing rather than the biting cold. So amazing to feel it on my face I felt renewed. Great feeling to start a new day!

Sophy and I were both enjoying the very refreshing  fresh air and as the sun came up  you could only see Vega and Mars and I sat there feeling connected to my summer sky, in January, how bizarre is that!  Even though it is only january 29th  today, the yearly March Messier Marathon is right around the corner.