The fifth Annual Picture Perfect Park Wine & Food Tasting.

Join us Saturday, April 8th, under the sky at the beautiful Lost Dutchman State Park for its Fifth Annual Picture Perfect Park Wine & Food Tasting.

Hosted by: Friends of Lost Dutchman State Park
Master of Ceremonies: Dr. Sky, Steve Kates
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This is going to be the best ever Annual Picture Perfect Lost Dutchman State Park Wine and Food Tasting. I know, I say that every year, but it’s true!

Read on and get your tickets now, you know they go fast!!!

Chef Bagnasco is sending over his famous ribs and we’ll have a table full of pasta and vegees for ya’ll too.

Picked up the wine yesterday. Ryan, our Action Wine and Spirits expert, says these wines are special blends… with a history. They are guaranteed to please.

Dessert is set and its… (drum roll) CUPCAKES! Yes, you heard right, we’re having a plethora of tasty little cupcakes baked up just for you to enjoy with just the right dessrt wine and or beverage with while you top off the night at the (need I say it again?) BEST EVER PICTURE PERFECT PARK WINE TASTING EVENT.

The raffle items are amazing with collectibles and delectables you’ll love. Our community folks have really kicked in AGAIN! You can see the folks who have donated so far below.

Have you checked out the entertainment —THE NOTES FROM NEPTUNE– yet? You won’t want to miss their show! You can hear their music here. They’re going to blow the roof off! Wait, there is no roof… Ha, they’re going to be awesome, under the stars!

Don’t forget you can stay after the wine tasting and enjoy the Dr. Sky Show, Steve Kates, an internationally known authority on the sky brings his AMAZING WALK THROUGH THE SKIES show back again this year.

Please see below for important information.

  • BRING ID WITH YOU, IT IS REQUIRED FOR WINE SERVICE AT THE EVENT.
  • Park admission is covered with your ticket to the event. With that, please read and follow ALL park rules: www.azstateparks.com/parks/LODU/index.html
  • As always, kids/minors are welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • Dress comfortably and bring a lawn chair if you’d like.
  • Camping spots are available through the park’s website: www.azstateparks.com/parks/LODU/index.html
  • No outside alcohol allowed inside the event and no alcohol served at the event is allowed outside the event perimeter.
  • Partial refunds (upon request) if event is cancelled. The only reason we would cancel is in case of severe weather or natural disaster (such as a zombie apocolypse).

We Proudly THANK our sponsors

A word about the FLDSP: Friends groups are concerned citizens who organize themselves around a need… a worthy cause. In our case, it was to save our park. We are an all volunteer organization formed in 2010 when our park was threatened with closure. In the beginning, the park was in dire need of funds to just keep its gates open. Now we continue to support the park by funding camp upgrades and park programs. Learn more: www.friendsoflostdutchman.org

Location: 6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ
Time: Entrance opens at 5:00pm, Service ends 7:30, Dr. Sky show begins upon last call
For more information and to purchase tickets: pictureperfectpark5.eventbrite.com
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JUNO Spacecraft Arrives At Jupiter

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After a nearly five year journey, JUNO has arrived at the giant planet Jupiter! This is a most amazing mission and one that will reveal an amazing amount of information about

how Jupiter was formed, when it was formed and the mystery of what lies below the clouds of Jupiter.

Launched back in August of 2011, JUNO has been on a steady journey to this giant planet.

JUNO, arrived at Jupiter, on July 5th, after completing a critical 35 minute burn of its

main engine, to slow it down and place the spacecraft in a polar orbit.

JUNO will begin it’s science mission, while in an initial 53day orbit, that places it high

and above the dangerous radiation belts.

Later in October, JUNO will be placed in a shorter, 14 day orbit above Jupiter, so the

spacecraft can peer into the Jovian cloud tops.

Expect a lot of great science from this solar powered spacecraft.

Here are some important links to share on JUNO and Jupiter:

 

www.missionjuno.swri.edu/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft)

 

www.space.com/33074-juno-jupiter-mission-complete-coverage.html

 

LOCATE THE POSITION OF JUPITERS MOONS-

 

www.shallowsky.com/jupiter/

 

in-the-sky.org/jupiter.php

 

 

 

Mars, the red god of war, reached opposition on May 22nd!

Mars-2016-Mikhail-Chubareaaas

Mars will then continue to move closer to Earth and will be the closest to Earth in some 11 years, on May 30th. At that time, Mars will be some 46,777,481 miles from Earth!

This is a close opposition for Mars and those with telescopes, will be able to see select

details on the planet. The planet Mars, will ride low in the S sky for observers in N. America and the northern hemisphere, making for some periods of unsteady air in which

to view the planet. The lower Mars is to the horizon, the less steady the air will be for viewing fine surface details. For those of you that have some experience with telescopes,

you will be treated to a view of Mars that is quite impressive. Mars will have a diameter of 18.6” of arc….larger than you may have seen it in years. Even still, Mars is a tough object to master!

The general rule of thumb of telescope magnification is this…. 50X per inch of telescope

diameter to maintain quality images. So, if you have a 6” telescope, you might not want to push the magnification beyond some 300x magnification.

Even at this magnification, the quality of the atmosphere is also a key component, to a positive observing session.

Mars is best seen by observers that have color filters to see and look deeper into the atmosphere of this unique world.

 

Yellow filters- W12-W15, help to bring out features in the desert regions

 

Orange filters- W21-W23A, help to bring out cloud formations above Mars

 

Red filters- W25-W29, help with with polar cap boundaries

 

Green filters- W57, help to bring out surface fogs on the planet

 

Blue filters- W80A,W38, help to bring out details in clouds and polar hoods

More information on the color of Mars and detecting features:

 

COLORS OF MARS

What color is Mars through a telescope? This question has been asked by astronomers for at least three centuries and is a subject of debate even today. Observers even report certain dark features on Mars grow darker and even change color during seasonal transitions. This has led to some startling conclusions, some of which has brought the wrath of the scientific community down on a few very prominent astronomers.

Confusion over the colors of Mars is nothing new. Reports of green or even blue features on Mars are common from ground-based observers. In the early 20th century, some astronomers saw the apparent greening of Martian maria, during spring and early summer, as proof that vegetation it was the cause. We have since found that the human eye is subject to a variety of illusionary perceptions, one being the inability for us to correctly identify colors in low light conditions. We may have a good idea of what the average human response to a particular color might be on Mars; however, observers often describe the planet’s colors completely different even while using the same telescope.

A layer of volcanic ash and rock covers the surface of Mars, at least in the smooth areas where the United States landed two spacecraft during the 1970’s. Using the robotics arms on each of the two Viking Landers the nearby surface was sampled and the results suggested a surface of ash-like material was saturated by water vapor. When similar materials on Earth are saturated to water vapor it tends to darken and/or change color hues. Also, during the colder Martian seasons its surface has been observed covered with frost or snow like condensates that tend to brighten some areas and make adjacent dark areas appear darker that they really are.

Hoar frost in Earth’s surface tends to clump ash-like and sandy materials into mounds or irregular piles, which will appear darker, especially when accompanied with long shadows. However, when viewed from certain incident angles, these same piles may appear brighter.

Using the proper color filters one can determine colors of Martian features, usually red; however, we have found that certain atmospheric clouds display blue-to-blue white color at times [Beish et al, 1988]. Even without filters there are a few clouds that appear bluish, such as the “Capen Blue Syrtis Cloud.” This cloud shows up often during Martian northern spring (southern autumn) and will appear blue-white visually. In photographs taken with color film and tri-color CCD images this cloud is a vivid blue. To prove this the observer can use a yellow filter on Mars to see this particular blue cloud turn greenish in the filtered image. It is usually brighter in blue color, that is while observing Mars with a blue filter, and darker in red light.

Dust clouds often appear bright yellow in the telescope without observing with filters. They are usually brightest in red light, but can be also bright in yellow light. Dust clouds will be blurry or hazy in yellow light. A blue filter will not brighten the dust cloud and often will make the dust cloud appear to vanish. However, we have found that white-yellowish clouds can accompany dust clouds so the observer should watch for these phenomena. Look for a dusty polar cap following any dust clouds they show up in red and green light.

Since Mars is red in color it will be brightest in red or orange filters. While observing Mars using a deep blue or violet filter the surface features will most often disappear and only a dull bluish haze will been seen. Occasionally surface features will appear dark in deep blue light, a phenomenon not well understood.

Here are some tips when viewing Mars in the telescope:

2016 Apr 17

Ls 138.6°  De  5.9°  Ds 16.4°  RA 16:29  Dec -21.3°  A.Dia 14.1’’

Retrogression Begins. Mars begins retrogression, or retrograde motion against the background stars 10 months after conjunction, when it appears

to move backwards toward the west for a brief period before, during and after opposition.  Clouds and frosts prominent in north. Clouds area in south.

Syrtis Major broad. (NPC Width ~13° ±1°).

2016 May 22

Ls 156.3°  De  10.4°  Ds   9.9°  RA 15:58  Dec -21.7°  A.Dia 18.4’’

Mars at Opposition. Are both polar hoods visible? SPH present and edge of NPH visible.  Hellas frost covered?  Are W-clouds present?

Is Morpheos Lacus (228°W, 37°N) prominent? Are topographic clouds prominent in Libya, Aeria, Moab, Edom, and Candor?

2016 May 30

Ls 161.0°  De 11.9°  Ds  8.2°  RA 15:46  Dec -21.5°  A.Dia 18.6’’

Mars at Closest Approach. Is Mare Acidalium broad and dark? Bright spots in Tempe-Arcadia-Tharsis-Amazoins? “Domino effect”

appears around 120° – 125° Ls. Topographic clouds increase.

2016 Jun 29

Ls 176.8°  De 15.4°  Ds  1.3° RA 15:19  Dec -21.0°  A.Dia 16.6’’

Retrogression Ends. Mars begins westward motion against the background stars. South Polar Cap (SPC) maximum width.   Is the North Polar Hood present?

Does SPH or frost cover Hellas? Hellas should begin to clear and darken. Are W-clouds present? South cap emerges from darkness of Winter.

SPH thinning and forms “Life Saver Effect”?

2016 Jul 05

Ls 180°  De  15.4°  Ds  -0.1°  RA 15:20  Dec -21.2°  A.Dia 15.9’’

Equinox – Northern Autumn/Southern Spring. South Polar Cap (SPC) maximum width.   Is the North Polar Hood present?

Does SPH or frost cover Hellas? Hellas should begin to clear and darken. Are W-clouds present? South cap emerges from darkness of Winter.

SPH thinning and forms “Life Saver Effect”?

2016 Aug 12

Ls 202.3°  De 11.1°  Ds -9.3°  RA 16:04  Dec -23.7°  A.Dia 12’

SPC shrinking. Syrtis Major darkens and continues to shrink. W-clouds possible. Surface details increasing in contrast

Hellas the features Zea Locus and Alpheus dark? SPC Novissima Thyle (300°-330°W) projection present?  (SPC width ~52° ±6°).

2016 Sep 08

Ls 218.7°  De  4.7°  Ds -15.4°  RA 17:06  Dec -25.5°  A.Dia 10’’

Bright SPC projection Novissima Thyle  (300°W – 330°W) Areographic longitude. Dark rift Rima Augusta connected from 60° to 270° longitude.

Rima Australis visible in SPC (290°-350°W)? W-clouds possible. SPC bright projection Argenteus Mons (10°W-20°W).

SPC Dust clouds in Serpentis-Hellespontus, in Hellas or Noachis?   (SPC width ~44° ±3°).

2016 Oct 18

Ls 243.8°  De  -7.3°  Ds -22.5°  RA 19:01  Dec -24.8°  A.Dia 8’’

SPC rapid retreat. Novus Mons small, bright, and high-contrast. Rima Australis widens. SPC isolated bright spot at 155° longitude?

Any white patches near -20° latitude may brighten.

Atmosphere of Mars very clear during Ls 240°- 250°.

Occasional morning limb hazes. Dust clouds? Note: Several “planet-encircling dust storms have been reported during this season

at 24° Ls. (SPC width ~28° ±3°).

2016 Oct 29

Ls 251°  De -10.8°  Ds  -23.7°  RA 19:37  Dec -23.6°  A.Dia 7.6’’

Mars at Perihelion. SPC in rapid retreat. Novus Mons smaller. Dust clouds expected over Serpentis-Hellaspontus (Ls 250° – 270°).

Syrtis Major beginning to narrow. Frost in bright deserts? Orographic clouds (W-clouds) possible. Elysium and Arsia Mons bright?

Note: Several “planet-encircling dust storms have been reported during this season.  High probability 255° Ls. (SPC width ~ 24° ±3°).

2016 Nov 29

Ls 270°  De -19.2°  Ds  -25.2°  RA 21:10  Dec -17.8°  A.Dia 6.6’’

Solstice – Northern Winter/Southern Summer. W-clouds present? NPH extends 50° N? Decreased number of White clouds.

“Syrtis Blue Cloud”? White areas in deserts? Dust clouds in south until 270° Ls?  Watch for planetary system clouds bands.

Orographic cloud over Arsia Mons? Syrtis Major is narrow.  (SPC width ~ 17° ±2°).

 

 

 

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Mars Observation Links:

 

www.alpo-astronomy.org/jbeish/2016_MARS.htm

 

earthsky.org/space/mars-opposition-may-22-2016-how-to-see

 

 

 

What side of Mars is visible now!

 

www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/observing-tools/mars_profiler/mars.html

 

 

 

 

Rare Transit Of Mercury Across The Sun/ May 9th 2016

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Get set for a rather rare transit of the planet Mercury on Monday, May 9th 2016!We have not had a Mercury transit for a number of years and now is the time to prepare

for this exciting event!
CAUTION-

Do NOT stare at the Sun without proper eye protection!The best method to view this transit will be by using the projection method, with a small telescope and a pair of binoculars.

You must have the telescope or binocular focus on a sheet of cardboard or paper, at least 12 inches from the light source, to get a decent and safe image of the Sun!

Mercury can transit the Sun, some 13 to 14 time per century!

If you miss this transit, the next Mercury transit will take place on November 11th 2019

Mercury is only 1/158th the size of the disk of the Sun, so it will appear as a small black

disk; taking some 7 hours, to cross the Sun!

Here are some links to help you view the transit, as well as viewing the event LIVE on the internet:

Links:

VIEW THE TRANSIT LIVE!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK0bu-Is4vA&feature=youtu.be

Slooh Telescope Feed:

main.slooh.com/event/transit-of-mercury/

NASA/ SDO Live Coverage-

www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-provide-coverage-of-may-9-mercury-trans

Mercury-

mercury

 

North Korea Rocket/ Satellite Launch/ Track It LIVE

north-korean-rocket-launch

North Korea launches a ballistic type missile and claims that it has launched a satellite into Earth orbit. A rocket launch occurred on Sunday, at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

The Kwangmyonsong rocket, lifted off the pad and is reported to have placed a small Earth observation satellite; the Kwangmyonsong-4 payload, into orbit! Reports from various space agency and tracking facilities, say that the satellite is not in a stable orbit.
The Kwangmyonsong-4 satellite is listed as NORAD # 41332

To learn more and track the rocket body and the satellite; please visit these sites:

Launch facility update:

www.38north.org

Current News:

www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-satellite-missiledefense-idUSKCN0VH034

Track the Satellite- LIVE

www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=39026#MAP

www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=39026

Dr.Sky & Photorecon.net To Cover 2015/ Reno Air Races/ Air Show

It that time of year…get set for the 2015 Reno Air Races/ Air Show!

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Dr.Sky and Photorecon.net will be there to cover ALL the action. Get set for some great

interviews with many of the performers, celebrity guests and people that make this one of

the greatest aviation events in the world!

 

Here is how to learn more:

 

airrace.org/event/2015-event-schedule/

airrace.org/news/

airrace.org/event/get-tickets/

 

 

Tune in to LIVE TV:

Live Face Book updates daily on www.facebook.com/Photorecon.net

www.photorecon.net

www.classicwarbirds.net

Your 2015 Dr.Sky Perseid Meteor Shower Update

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2015, offers up what might be, one of the best meteor showers of the entire year!

The mid August arrival of the Perseids, offer up some amazing things for you the sky watcher.

With forecasts of up to as many as 100 meteors per hour, this year, 2015, may live up to these reports.

The best news in years, is that there will be NO moon to interfere with this shower of cometary debris.

The peak of the shower is set for the night of August 12th into the morning of the 13th.

Tips:

Find a dark location, with a good view of the NE sky.

Begin your observations around 11PM local time.

Stay up ALL night, as the radiant rises in the NE and the shower

gets better in the early morning hours.

Get comfortable in a lawn chair or recliner and have a pair of binoculars with you too!

Here is a star chart to show the area of the radiant:

Perseid-Meteor-Shower-Aug-2015-iii-702x336

The Perseids are meteors from the comet known as Swif/Tuttle, which orbits the Sun in a period of some 133 years. The comet was close to the Earth in 1992 and we get years that have the Perseids roar and others that are quite calm.

You can expect at least 25 or more bright meteors per hour in dark skies, but

higher numbers in some areas of the Earth, as we pass through some heavier

ribbons of comet dust. Simply, No one knows for sure, what to expect, but the fun of it all, is being there to experience this unusual event!

Here are links to some important information on the Perseids and a link to our special “Meteor Madness” event for our Arizona fans!:

“Meteor Madness With Dr.Sky”:

www.meteormadness.eventbrite.com

History Of The Perseids:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids

meteorshowersonline.com/perseids.html

How To Watch:

www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/plan-for-the-perseids/

How To Take Perseid Pictures:

www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/astrophotography-tips/photograph-meteor-shower/

www.realclearwx.com/m1.htm

 

 

 

Noctilucent Clouds Appear In The Northern Hemisphere

pekka1_strip

With the advent of the Summer Solstice, just a few weeks away,

observers in the northern hemisphere are once again seeing the

elusive clouds, know as noctilucent clouds. Noctilucent, comes

from the latin, meaning “Light Shining”.

These are the highest clouds known and are some 50 miles above

the surface of the Earth.

May 19th marked the first time this year that observers reported the

Clouds and many believe that noctilucent clouds are formed by water

vapor and micro meteor particles, high up in near space.

Some say that the appearance of these clouds in mid latitude locations,

may be a sign of climate change, but others are not so fast to agree!

So, if you have a clear night…some 30 minutes after sunset in the

northern hemisphere, you may get to see and record this most amazing

sight!

These clouds were first seen in 1885 and thought to be sparked by the great

Krakatoa explosion of 1883.

Links:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noctilucent_cloud

 

www.atoptics.co.uk/highsky/nlc2.htm

New Horizons Mission Nears Pluto

Get set for an amazing encounter with Pluto, as the New Horizons spacecraft

is set for a close pass with Pluto, on or about July 15th!

The New Horizons spacecraft is unusual, in the fact that it has covered the distance between Earth and Pluto, in record time! Launched back on January 19th 2006, it has crossed this vast distance, in less than a decade.

Pluto has been described as a “Dwarf” planet since 2006, causing many to

rethink this decision, as Pluto has 5 moons of its own and may still be larger

than some of the other objects discovered in the Kuiper Belt!

Pluto, used the gravity assist of Jupiter in 2007, to help propel it to Pluto, in

record time!

Clyde Tombaugh, discovered Pluto in Arizona, back on February 18th, 1930.

I was very close with Dr.Tombaugh in the late 1970’s and had recorded many interviews with him.

Our dedicated website to his memory, is, www.keepplutoalive.com

Follow the latest with the New Horizons mission here:

 

Links:

 

www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Horizons

 

Here is a direct link to an interview that I did with Patsy Tombaugh, the

Wife of Clyde Tombaugh…..done many years ago!

 

drsky.com/audio/steve173.wma

20150105030111

 

Saturn Returns To Opposition May 22nd 2015

 

Saturn_Feb2012_BobEnglish

The planet Saturn returns to opposition on the night of May 22nd.

Saturn is the 6th planet from the Sun and at this years opposition,

Saturn will be some 830,000,000 miles from Earth. At this distance,

It takes light some 74 minutes to get to the ringed planet. The best

views of Saturn, will occur in a small telescope, with a magnification

of at least 200X.

This year, in 2015, Saturn will be easy to locate, as it appears just

above the bright stars of the “claws” of Scorpio. Saturn will rise at

sunset on May 22nd and appear in our sky ALL night. The planet will

still put on a good showing, even if it lies low in the SE and the S sky

during the night.

Saturn will move slowly to the west in early May and move into Libra.

For those of you with larger telescopes, Saturn will appear at best some 18.5

seconds of arc in diameter and the rings will appear to be some 42 seconds of arc in diameter. All this, as the planet’s rings are tilted some 24 degrees to

our line of sight.

A small star like object next to or above the rings, is the largest of the moons; Titan. You may also get to see Tethys, Dione and Rhea, in a small

telescope.

Here is how to locate Saturn in the sky:

saturn -1

Tips On Viewing Saturn:

 

www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/viewing-saturn-the-planet-rings-and-moons/

 

lunaf.com/english/live-data/saturn-moons-position/

DAWN Spacecraft Reaches Dwarf Planet/Asteroid/ Ceres

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The DAWN spacecraft has now reached the largest asteroid, Ceres!

There are amazing pictures coming from DAWN, revealing a most

world!

There appears to be a few “bright” regions on the surface of Ceres,

which have no easy explanation.

Ceres, is an object that is about 590 miles in diameter, about the size

of the state of Texas. Ceres, was discovered, back in 1801 and is the

first asteroid ever discovered.

Get set, for some amazing science, as DAWN moves into a stable orbit

around Ceres, with better images coming in the next few months! What

do you make of the bright spots?; some say that this may be evidence of

active ice volcanoes on the surface, or a peek into the metallic surface,

below the rocks of Ceres!

Here is a size comparison of Ceres and some other objects in the Solar

System:

sdgsdg

 

Links:

 

dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/

 

 

www.nasa.gov/press/2015/march/nasa-spacecraft-becomes-first-to-orbit-a-dwarf-planet/

 

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_%28spacecraft%29

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_%28dwarf_planet%29

 

www.cnet.com/news/8-possible-explanations-for-those-bright-spots-on-dwarf-planet-ceres/

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Mystery Martian Cloud Appears Over The Planet

102417-mars-cloud

Observers have been reporting a strange sight along the limb of the planet Mars.

The plume or “cloud” appears to be well over 100 miles high.

This type of cloud has been seen before on Mars, but no one is quite certain

what it is and where it came from. Observers from all over the world have

imaged this and a similar type cloud has been seen, years before.

Some feel that this may be material from the passage of a comet in late

October, or some type of Martian aurora…..

 

Read more:

 

www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31491805

 

 

 

www.independent.co.uk/news/science/mysterious-martian-haze-raises-questions-than-answers-say-scientists-and-could-change-understanding-of-mars-atmosphere-10050709.html

 

 

news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150216-mars-martian-plumes-astronomy-clouds-maven-mystery/

Amazing Solar Filament On The Disk Of The Sun

 

Ted-Adachi-february-10-2015_1423596265_lg

An amazing solar filament is now moving across the disk of the Sun.

A solar filament is plasma gas that is higher in the solar atmosphere and

appears as a dark signature, against the brighter photosphere. This filament

is at least 1,000,000 kilometers in length. If the filament were to smash into

the photosphere of the Sun, a large Hyder Flare may be produced. This is a

very long filament and it will move towards the limb of the Sun, in just a

few days. This creates a great opportunity for those with solar telescopes,

to monitor this massive object.

Here are some links to understand this better:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_prominence

scied.ucar.edu/solar-filament

 

How to use a solar telescope:

 

www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/how-to-look-at-the-sun/

 

www.meade.com/products/coronado.html

 

solar-center.stanford.edu/observe/

 

 

Solar Filament In The News-

 

www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/12/sun-filament-half-million-miles-photo_n_6670030.html

Asteroid 2004 BL86 Visible In Small Telescopes

2004_BL86_orbit_diagram_620x349

There will be another small asteroid , known as 2004 BL86, which will pass some 740,000 miles from Earth, on January 26th. The object that was

discovered on January 30th 2004, is estimated to be nearly 1,800 ft in diameter at best and should be visible in telescopes and large binoculars. The asteroid will reach nearly +9.0 magnitude

at best and should be gliding into and past the famous star cluster M44 (Beehive Cluster) on the evening of the 27th (for

US observers)……See the links and finder charts below, to view the asteroid! Its motion should be apparent in real time as it moves the diameter

of the Moon in some 11 minutes…..but a telescope will be needed to see this event! Don’t miss it, if you have clear skies…….

Maps For Finding Asteroid 2004- BL86-

astronomynow.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2004_BL86_finder_chart_to_magnitude_10_520x1364_greyscale.gif

d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2004BL86-Color-FF-498×580.jpg

d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2004BL86-DETAIL-mapFinal-514×580.jpg

Links:

earthsky.org/space/asteroid-2004-bl86-to-sweep-close-on-january-26

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 Continues To Impress

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Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 continues to brighten as it makes its way north in our January skies. The comet is quite east to view in binoculars and as the month of January continues, the comet will race into Taurus, Aries and into the star fields of the Milky Way, in Perseus.

Now is a great time to view the comet, as moonlight will not hamper your observations. The comet is around +3.8 in magnitude…making it quite easy to see in a pair or binoculars. Some naked eye reports are coming in, as well!

Digital camera images reveal a vast tail, some 8 to 10 degrees in length behind the comet. The image above shows a lot of detail that the eye can

not see.

Showing the comet to friends, is a great exercise, as this comet will not return to the vicinity of the Earth for some 8,000 years. It is a true Oort

Cloud comet, as it has a really high inclination to the orbit of the Earth

and is slicing it, as it heads northward in the sky.

Here are the latest links to help find and enjoy the comet.

Links:

earthsky.org/space/watch-for-comet-lovejoy

 

Ephemeris To Find The Comet:

 

in-the-sky.org/cometephem.php

 

 

 

Major Jupiter Event / January 23rd/24th 2015

triple-transit-jupiter

A rare transit/of some of the main moons of Jupiter, will take place for

observers with telescopes on the night of January 23rd/January 24th 2015.

As Jupiter nears opposition in February, lucky observers with small to

large telescopes, will witness a rare sight. Io, Europa and Callisto will

have their shadows cast upon the disk of Jupiter at the SAME time……

This is quite rare and this event provides observers an opportunity to see

all this, in a small telescope.

Begin your observations, at least 30 minutes before the time listed on the

picture above…..Best at 12:27 AM CST….Convert to your time zone……..

You may want to start your observation session 30 minutes BEFORE the

times listed above…..

 

 

 

Links:

 

www.cnet.com/news/rare-triple-moon-shadow-transit-to-dance-across-jupiter

 

www.universetoday.com/112040/seeing-in-triplicate-catching-a-rare-triple-shadow-transit-of-jupiters-moons/

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 Brightens In the Sky

thCAXX2S0U

Observers have another reason to be happy as the new year approaches!

Comet Lovejoy- C/2014 Q2 is now a near naked eye object, for some lucky

observers with dark skies.

The comet is reported to be near naked eye visibility and is easy to spot, with

a pair of binoculars. If your sky is clear on the nights of Dec. 30 the comet

is located in the constellation of Lepus, the Hare, just below Orion!

The comet will them move higher each night and be a great sight, during the first

week of January 2015.

I observed Comet Lovejoy from my Arizona skies, on the night of December 29th

with a pair of 10X42 binoculars. The comet looked very much like a small globular

cluster, greenish in color. No tail was seen, but there is a distinct tail, for those with

dark skies and cameras.

The comet appeared to be around +4.5 in magnitude.

Observers with medium to large sized telescopes are in for a real treat!

Here are a few links, with finder charts for locating Comet Lovejoy.

Happy New Year to all!

Comet Lovejoy Map

 

Links:

www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/spot-comet-lovejoy-tonight-122920141/

www.space.com/28116-comet-lovejoy-january-2015-skywatching.html

Ephemeris For Telescope Viewers-

in-the-sky.org/cometephem.php

LIVE  Locator-

theskylive.com/

LIVE Locator / Comet Lovejoy / C 2014 Q2-

theskylive.com/c2014q2-tracker

www.photorecon.net

Geminid Meteor Shower To Peak-

Geminid-Meteor-Shower-300x226

One of the best meteor showers of the entire  year is about to peak!

The Geminid meteor shower will reach a dramatic peak on the night of

December 13th into the early morning hours of the 14th!

The Geminid meteor shower is a powerful stream that is thought to come

from a dormant comet/asteroid. The better term would be a rubble pile!

The exact source is thought to be asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Every 1.43 years,

the source object gets close to the Sun and sheds a lot of material. This material

is seen in our sky, as small meteors, or the occasional ‘fireball”.

Look low in the NE sky around 9PM local time, for any potential earth grazing

fireballs, from the Gemininds…. After that, you may get to see upwards of 50

meteors per hour….

 

Links:

earthsky.org/space/everything-you-need-to-know-geminid-meteor-shower

 

www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/

 

Listen To Meteors:

 

spaceweatherradio.com/

NASA Launches The Orion Spacecraft-

nasa_vehicles

NASA recently launched the first in a series of Orion Spacecraft by using the

Delta IV Heavy, the largest and most powerful rocket in the US inventory. The

launch of this test flight, is the start of a long series of tests, to eventually get

humans back into space!

This mission, was only a test mission, with a “dummy” spacecraft atop the Delta

IV Heavy rocket.

The craft circles the Earth a few time and reached out some 3,600 miles above the

Earth, the farthest that a US future manned mission has gone, since the days of the

Apollo spacecraft.

This mission was a great success and here are some links to share with you, on the

Orion program:

 

Links:

 

www.nasa.gov/orion/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28spacecraft%29

 

www.space.com/27940-nasa-orion-spacecraft-future.html

 

 

 

Critics Of The Orion Program:

 

nasawatch.com/archives/cev-calv-lsam-eds/

 

 

Alternative Ways To Space:

 

www.spacex.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies