Blink and you missed it

The conditions held and I did get out to watch Spica disappear behind the moon. I tried a short video clip, unable to tell if it was actually capturing Spica or not but suspecting that it wasn’t – the frame rates for video translate to a pretty short shutter speed and even as bright as it was in comparison, Spica was still pretty dim. Upon returning home, I found that read more


Just now, took a peek out there as the sky was darkening, noticed that it was more than clear enough, and did a couple of test shots. I also noticed another speck in the viewfinder and reframed, but I was still working handheld and sharpness was lacking. As I was setting up the tripod and getting the remote release out and the camera set for mirror lockup*, the last little light read more

Watch Spica vanish before your eyes!

I really haven’t been finding posting material recently, because I’ve had a lot of other things going on, though I have a few unrelated pics that may show up a little later. Right now, I’m providing what little warning I can, having discovered only this morning that the moon will be occulting Spica this evening.

Basic orbital dynamics: the stars move across the read more

Fermi and physics

I’m up to these kinds of things again, by which I mean, thinking exercises that won’t ultimately mean a damn thing – but then again, that’s the story of my life, so why stop now?

Most people that have even the faintest interest in the idea of life on other planets are familiar with the Fermi read more

It’s, like, cosmic, man

On this date a whopping 60 years ago, there came an accidental discovery that helped confirm, and inform, our present view of the universe: the cosmic microwave background (CMB) was first measured.

Here’s the quick run down. Observations of many stars in the observable universe, generally around the early 1900s, showed light spectra that were very similar to our own sun, with gaps in certain read more

One more for Hubble

And so the Hubble Space Telescope was launched 34 years ago today as a joint venture between NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA) and ESA (European Space Agency,) and is still cranking out the classics, as seen here. Having a large telescope read more

Sorting finds n+8

Just two today – or is it three? How does one count these accurately? I don’t want to get in trouble with the IRS…

This one comes from the same session as these, but I didn’t notice this detail until I had brought the image up at full resolution to see if it retained read more

Too cool, part 53: Two comets

For reasons unknown, I never went looking for these after returning from the trip, but I also never had any such images pop up anywhere in my usual haunts, so I suspected that no one got anything worth keeping. Until now, that is.

Astronomy Picture of the Day features someone who actually got comet 12P/Pons-Brooks read more

Exactly/mostly as feared/intended

I don’t know who comes up with these holidays, I really don’t – it’s makes little sense to celebrate something so banal. Why don’t we have National Spaghetti Day or Stay Away From Seattle Day while we’re at it?

[Oh. We do.]

But anyway, today/yesterday is/was Encounter Extraordinary/Rotten Luck Day, and since there read more

You can’t escape

Normally, I avoid the ‘popular’ news items (or, for that matter, nearly all news items) because frankly, there are enough sources for such out there and I certainly don’t need to offer my two pfennigs, much less jump on any bandwagon, and I have established my own typical subject matter herein anyway – stay in your lane, kind of thing. At this point in time, however, the read more

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