Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mars and Saturn Lunar Conjunctions


We had a couple of Lunar conjunctions, on April 11th. there was the Mars/ Moon conjunction, the image above, I had clear skies for that one and with the earthshine made for a pretty picture. The image below was the Saturn /Lunar conjunction of April 14th. Had lots of fast moving clouds with little earthshine, image below, still made for a pretty image, note the fast moving clouds, at least they broke to give me a view of Saturn the Moon and Regulus, or the technical official name Alpha Leonis, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

Another friendly reminder about the upcoming Lyrid meteor shower Monday the 21st. through to the morning of the 22nd. This is the peak time for the shower, it actually starts April the 16th. through to the morning of the 25th. They are calling for snow the 21 and 22 here in Saskatoon so I was out to see what I could see last Thursday night, the last clear sky to be had for a week or so, I saw around 6 an hour average over the 3 hours I was out, not bad for a non peak night, and a huge one right over my head, where the camera wasn't pointing. I got a shot of a couple meteors I will post after the event in case I get a break in the clouds on the 21st. Look to the NE around 11 pm EDT for the show to begin. The radiant or the place where the meteors appear to emanate from is the Lyra constellation. Expect 10- 15 an hour, by the way they are short and very fast, at least the ones I saw. The Moon will be full so will take a little away from the contrast but hey it's a meteor shower, nothing better then wishing on a falling star.

One of the things I try to do here at Black holes is make the sky a little more user friendly, more enjoyable so that when you go out for a walk at night you know a little bit more, like what is that bright star next to the Moon, or where to look for a conjunction or when the next meteor shower is. Our Royal Astronomical Society of Canada President Scott Young came up with a TOP TEN list of ways to turn young people off astronomy, it was of course written for other amateur astronomers but you can still get a laugh or two out of it.

10: Show them a deep sky object in a small or medium sized scope as their first look.

9: Bash the Tasco scope they already own as not worth using.

8: Lapse into jargon and spew technical details and costs of your gear, and how you need to have perfect gear and perfect conditions or it's not worth observing.

7: Rant about light pollution without a good idea of what to say.(This can make astronomers sound like fringe environmentalists.)

6: Spend time talking with the inner circle at a Centre meeting and ignore the newbies.

5: Explain how using a computer-aided telescope isn't real astronomy.

4: Assume the newbie at the public star night will see the same level of detail that your 35-years-of-experience-eyes can see.

3: Show them Venus, Mercury, an asteroid, an outer planet or dwarf planet, a double star, a variable star, a planetary nebula, a galaxy, a star cluster, or about any northern-hemisphere deep-sky object other than the Orion Nebula.

2: Show them Mars, EXCEPT at a favourable opposition in a big scope with good seeing and a red filter.

1: Mock their misconceptions or beliefs about the universe the first time you meet them(and they meet you).

I'd like to leave you with one of the cloudy Moon images I took a few nights ago as an animated Gif

33 comments:

The Supplicant said...

Well Bob, hopefully on the 21 I'll have some clear skies and be able to see those meteorites falling. I'm hoping to sneak a few wishes in there (like a new camera soon).
Beautiful shots. Especially like the one with the fast moving clouds and the moon. Almost ethereal.
Thanks for another really informative post and again thanks for the great post at the MW Society page.
Take care.
~JD

Julie said...

Good post, and I'm still grinning at tip no 3. Just shows how tricky an area it is for the uninitiated to get a foothold in....

Will said...

Hi Bob - Nice shot of the cloudy moon.

Number 6 on your list can apply to a lot of groups. You wouldn't believe how often this happens. A new person or two shows up for a meeting and the regulars just stick together, ignoring the new folk. What ever happened to make the new people feel welcome?

Sherer said...

Hey great post Bob as always! I really like the part about showing people what not to do to interest them in astronomy. I have only been interest in astronomy for 3 years.... It began when I started taking walks at night for exercise - and started thinking... hey there are some pretty interesting things up there... and also a trip to the observatory in Hawaii....

How did you get started Bob?

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Number One was what did me in until I found your blog, Bob. :D

I love the clouded moon photo and love it when you say *earthshine*.

Thanks for the heads up on the Lyrid shower. I'm marking it on my calendar.

Hugs, JJ

Swubird said...

Bob:

Bummer! I left you a comment, but it got lost in cyberspace.

Great shot of the Mars conjunction. That certainly answers my question about the planet I thought was so close to the moon. It was a planet! The Queen always challenges me on these things. If I say I see a planet, she'll say it's a star. This time I got her. Thanks Bob!

I know what you mean about the Tasco. I had one a long time ago. Bought it at a garage sale. Should have known better. It was total junk.

Have a nice day.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JD, It's looking bad so far for me, but the weather network has been real bad on predicting the correct climate of late,lol.

That's exactly what I thought about the Saturn conjunction, glad you liked the MW Society post, and good luck with your wishing on a falling star , my camera has opened up a whole new area for me in astrophotography. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Julie, 3 was one of my favs too, at least for a first time, gotta get Saturn in there or the Moon, I have never heard so many wows from people who look at these two items for the first time through a scope.\m/ :greenalien::D :-D

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Will, you are so right, I was made very welcome my first visit to one of the RASC meetings, makes a big difference whether or not you go back.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Sherer thanks for sharing how you got into the hobby, or should I say lifestyle,lol. Cool you were able to look through a big telescope.

I have always been into the night sky from birth,lol really got into it in 2002, took the plunge the time was right, bought a scope, took a look at the Moon then later that night Saturn, awesome, never looked back.\m/ \m/

shirley said...

I'm hoping to see the meteor showers. Thanks for the heads up! Your newest animated gif is your best one yet! Awesome!

Bob Johnson said...

Lol JJ.
Earthshine,earthshine,earthshine, it is such a cool name and happening, my fav moon thing of all time. I hope you have clear skies for the Lyrid shower,meteor showers are always a big event for me. :D :-D \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol swubird glad you got it right. I know what you mean, I've been having problems posting comments everywhere, I wonder if it isn't blogger having some kind of hiccup,lol.

The funny thing about the more inexpensive scopes is the optics aren't the problem it is the mount, the slightest wind or touch makes them shake forever.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Shirley, thanks glad you like the Gif, again I love the Moon in clouds, good luck for clear skies on Monday for the shower \m/:->

Ruth said...

I'm a person of words who knows little of astronomy, but learning more thanks to you and your not following that list. So I like the word earthshine almost as much as your images of it. Sooo pretty. Thanks for the heads up about the meteor showers. I hope you get a clear sky, and I look forward to your pics!

self taught artist said...

stellar photo animation bob j, perhaps my favorite to date....love the pictures (dont always get all those words)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ruth, I have never been one much for lists,lol, for sure there is just something about earthshine.

Hope you have clear skies for the shower too. \m/\m/\m/ :D :-D

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Paula, that gif is one of my favs as well, my fav is the Moon and Pleiades Meet, I passed the width issue on to my

"Website Designer" lol, see what happens, took the Moon background off, the load times seem to have gotten better.and my wife says it was too distracting.

\m/\m/:->

Roger said...

:rasta: hahaha good list Bob! Thanks for sharing!

Drowsey Monkey said...

My goodness Bob, your blog looks FANTASTIC! It's really great to see how it's grown over the past few months.

That last photo is just wonderful...very dreamy :)

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Roger, your welcome. \m/\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks drowsey monkey, glad you like the new look, and my most current Moon in cloud image.

:D :-D \m/\m/:blacksmile:

AngelBaby said...

Wow, as usual you leave me in awe of these beautiful pictures. Thank you so much for sharing them.

I have something for you at my site.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, thanks again AngelBaby for the great award, :D :-D

glad you like my pics. :D :-D

\m/\m/

Sherer said...

Thats awesome, they didnt let us look through the huge ones, but they let us look through some smaller one that still were amazing.... You couln't see any color in the ones that I looked through for the nebulas other deep sky objects, but still pretty spectular. (I am not sure if you could ever see color with our own eyes from an earth based telescope?)

Oswegan said...

Nice captures Bob, love the clouds. Your site really came up fast today :-)

Love & Money said...

Wow from day to day your information and your picture is incredible. Great Bob :)

Bob Johnson said...

Still cool Sherer, you can actually start to see color in deep sky objects in telescopes with mirrors and lenses around 20 inches and larger in diameter, the average diameter of amateur astronomers scopes is 6-10". The problem of course is cost and transportation with that size scope. If you frequent star parties, someone will have that size scope. I have an 8" and a 12" scope, no color for me:-( :(

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks! Hey oswegan glad it loaded better for you, when you mentioned about the load time I thought it might hve something to do with my Moon background, took it off and it seems to have fixed the problem.
\m/\m/:blacksmile:

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Franx! :stars: \m/\m/

Livingsword said...

Hello Bob;

Ah just hearing of a similar sounding place like Regulus reminds me of the old days on Rigel….

LOL

I love the top ten list… light pollution is a real problem it is proven to interfere with migrations and nesting…

Number one can be a sensitive one for many people, what I find amusing is having my beliefs mocked by people that think they are mocking them but are not, since they have false assumptions, of course this technically means my belies were not mocked….sure you say easy for me to say… LOL, (this message brought to you by twisted tongue and twisted thinking…. LOL)

Another very cool gif Bob….

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, ah yes Rigel, interesting about nesting and migrations, did not know that.

You are right about the mockers, they are usually ignorant of where you are coming from, so do have the wrong assumptions of you and your believes.

Anna said...

Lol, Bob on TOP TEN list of ways to turn young people off astronomy. I really like your animated sky gif. Anna :)