The moon in June: Full on the third

June 3, 2012 Full moon

Hello, there! Now that we’re already a couple of days past the new moon, it’s high time once again for the monthly snapshot of the full moon. (I say snapshot because that’s really what it is. If and when I ever get an imaging system that works with my telescope gear, I’ll “upgrade” the name to “image.”)

This was taken way back on June 3, fighting the ever-present low cloud/haze that obscures the moon for nights on end.

Typical summertime complaint of south Florida backyard astronomers.

 

June 2012 solstice

Today the sun is above the horizon longer than on any other day of the year. It’s also the day the sun “stands still” in declination: that is, it stops moving north from one sunrise/sunset to the next, and starts moving south. And, as we Northern Hemisphere types recall, when the sun’s in the south (where it will be in a few months, after the equinox), we start to think “winter.”

Here’s a diagram to refresh your memories (taken from a Google image search returning a page from the Fairfax County Public Schools Planetarium):

 

Remember: the Earth’s axis [...]

Bee good to pollinators: Celebrate National Pollinator Week

Agapostemon splendens. Boca Raton, FL, June 18, 2012.

I’m on the email list for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and every now and then they send around something that I think is worth sharing with everyone. Here’s an instance today:

National Pollinator Week Encourages Everyone to “Bee” Good to Pollinators. Learn what you can do to help the birds and the bees (the bats, butterflies and beetles too!).

“Without pollinators, life on Earth would be scarcely recognizable. We depend on these amazing insects and animals for the clothes we wear, the houses we live in and the food we eat,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan [...]

The 2012 transit of Venus: astronomical journey

venus_second_contact_crop_2012_0605_152238

Last Tuesday the second planet from the sun passed in front of the sun’s disk for the second and last time this young century. Back in 2004, I saw the first event briefly while parked outside a gas station trying to get out from under the clouds that had blocked us at our chosen observing site in Florida.

This time, I was pretty sure I could do a better job: a planned trip to relatively cloudless California coincided nicely with the timing of the event, and I had even planned enough time to land, enjoy the customary In-N-Out lunch at [...]

Everglades Sprites all over the place

nehalennia_wheel_20120603

After my post a couple of weeks ago where I lost track of a pair of damselflies in tandem before I found out whether they actually attained the wheel position I’ve been hoping for another chance. Today, the first sunny day after what seems like a week of rain, I got my wish. In spades! This evening there were more Nehalennia pallidula than I could shake a stick at! Everywhere I looked was a male looking for a mate, a pair that I accidentally separated with my clumsy walking through the tall grass, or a pair actually mating!

I managed [...]