Viewing Venus Transit in Seattle Area

Well, bad news. Weather isn’t looking good for tomorrow’s historic event. It’s like 80% chance of showers almost entire Pacific Northwest extending even in to Eastern Washington. Even LIGO Observatory is not going to have sun shine. But if you believe that a hole in the sky might appear just to take pick then there are [several events lined up for public viewing]3 with free entry and no registration. Public events are much safer way to view Venus Transit

The Four Planet Dance Of 2008

The Observing Blog at S&T have posted this wonderful movie about celestial dance of some of the brightest objects in sky in August and September 2008, just after sunset. Unfortunately, for us in mid-northern latitudes (and especially Seattle weather), things won’t be as bright and high but having these objects “collide” with each other and that too with crescent moon around looks beautiful!

Cloudscapes Stamps

Cloudscapes, scheduled to be released in Oct, 2004, is definitely some of the coolest stamp set. [via Enchanted Ceiling]

Venus Transit Tomorrow

This one is not a spectacular but its interesting because it’s rare and because of history. Specifically, in old times (pre 1900s), people used this rare event to measure distance between Earth and Sun. Infect astronomers didn’t knew this distance from a long time, so they invented so-called “1 Astronomical Unit (AU)” when they want to refer to this distance. In old times, everything was measured relative to AU, for example Venus is 0.

Venus with Crescent Moon

If you live on East Coast and if you looked in to West in last few hours you might have seen a real bright blob of light. It’s so bright and has “burning aura” (literally looks like flames) around it that I thought it will soon fall down as huge shooting star. So I just fired up my copy of TheSky software to see what’s going on and came out with some neat surprise.

Leonid Meteor Shower This Tuesday

This event is slowing down every year and so for some people it would be a reason not to care and for others it would be a reason to care even more, because next year it will be more slower :). But it’s still nice to see shooting stars with some predictability. This year, the peak time on East coast would be on 19th November between 12:00 to 2:30AM which is little earlier then past years.

Sunset And Moonrise

On Tuesday, Sep 9, Sunset is at 7:16 PM and moonrise is also at 7:16 PM. Cool right? Good way to see this would be at High Point State Park or a special hike from Sierra Club. My preference is former, undoubtably the best place in NJ to see this!

Mars Viewing

Just saw the red planet through my 4.5” telescope and 10mm eye piece. Unlike it was advertised on several web sites, no, it doesn’t get as big as moon when looking through modest telescope. Infect there’s barely any difference when I’d looked at it through same scope in last couple of years. So I just went in to some number crunching using fact sheet at Nasa’s web site, and it seems that Mars should look (at best) 30% more brighter and around 40% bigger then I’d seen couple of years ago.

Astronomy Events This Month

Mars is going to be the closest to Earth in recorded human history so far. You can go out at midnight and look in the South and the big blob of orangish yellow light (which you might mistake as air plane) is Mars. Even on the rainy nights you can see it lurking behind the cloud - it’s that bright. Infect it’s brighter then anything after Sun and Moon! Even in a modest telescope you can see it’s big bright surface magnified as large as Moon.

Jersey Starquest and other star parties

Star parties are event with all night deep sky observations and chance to meet other fellow amateur astronomers. The first one of the year at East Coast is happening this weekend at Hope, NJ. There’s usually crowd of 20-30 people with all level of skills. You can try all sorts of telescopes (some as large as 17”) and instruments for deep sky CCD observations and so on. There are going to be day time events, talks and presentations and sun spot watching!

Total Lunar Eclipse (May 15, 2003)

Total lunar eclipse coming on 5/15/2003. Most of US can see it. 10:03 PM ET. Awesome sight! Check out press release from NASA for more info on why this happens and local times in other countries. Courtesy: hubble_this text alert list on Verizon mobile

Mercury On West

Elusive, offen hiddden planet Mercury is visible this week. In USA, look low and west after sunset. Courtesy: hubble_this text alert list on Verizon mobile

Shooting Stars Getting Ready To Fall

Leonid meteor shower is slowing down every year but it’s still a magnificent event. I was fortunate to witness this heavenly fireworks last year at a mountain lake some 20 minutes away from my home and there was shooting stars falling down at the rate of one per second for the entire period of more then 15 minutes. Now that’s more shooting stars a person would otherwise see in his or her entire life time!