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October 2012 full moon

October 28. 2012 Full moon

The Hunter’s moon rises nearly or completely full over three successive nights at nearly the same time each night. On Eastern Daylight Time this year, the nights of the 27th, 28th, and 29th, at 5:21, 5:57, and 6:35, respectively. Full moon is today at 3:50 p.m. EDT, but this shot was taken last night right [...] [...]

The 2012 transit of Venus: astronomical journey

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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 [...] [...]

Next Mars mission set to depart

NASA’s next Mars mission is set for takeoff. The Mars Science Laboratory (nicknamed, for some insane reason, “Curiosity,” as in what killed the cat) has a launch window that opens tomorrow, November 25, and closes a few weeks from now, on December 18. This rover is quite a bit bigger than the last set of [...] [...]

Hunter’s Moon 2011

October 11, 2011 Full moon

October’s full moon this year, the Hunter’s moon, occurred at 10:06 p.m. EDT, about 9 hours before it reached apogee (Oct 12 7:44 a.m. EDT, distance 406 434 km). Local conditions here in south Florida were a bit of a challenge; I had to set up under clouds and hope for a break in the [...] [...]

Full Moon August 2011

August 12, 2011 Full moon

The full moon for August 2011 (Sturgeon Moon, Dog Days’ Moon, etc.) occurred during the afternoon hours of August 13 (2:57 p.m. to be precise) for East Coast observers, so I did my usual day-before-just-in-case-the-day-after-doesn’t-work photo, and I’m glad I did. The “night” of the full moon, the 13th, was much stormier and less conducive [...] [...]

Lunar eclipse on the solstice

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A rare celestial event occurred early this morning, so I thought I’d try my hand at capturing some images. I spent about an hour making sure my telescope mount was as close to polar aligned as I could make it. I balanced the heavy scope on the tube and aligned the spotting scope, the one [...] [...]

Busy day on the solstice this year [updated with APOD link]

The December solstice, shortest day of the year is tomorrow, December 21. At approximately 7:38 p.m. EST (2338 UTC), the Sun’s apparent motion in the sky will come to a standstill (Latin, solstitium).* That’s because it has finished its southward migration for the year, and from here until June old Sol will travel north. And as it [...] [...]

Hunter’s Moon

October 22, 2010 Full moon

Here is a snapshot of the Hunter’s Moon, taken on a breezy night on an old/new tripod. I’m not sure why focus was so hard to achieve; in the camera everything looked fine. I’m thinking there’s some unidentified shake in the tripod or head. Will have to troubleshoot. Anyhoo, here ’tis: And here’s the gallery: [...]

Jupiter and Uranus tonight

Well, tonight I’m definitely dragging out the big telescope. Jupiter, which I only chanced upon the other day while shooting the moon, is only about 2 degrees from Uranus! I overlooked it, as had dozens of observers prior to Herschel’s discovery of the planet in the 17th century. But now that I’m alerted to its [...] [...]

Full moon and equinox

Two images of last night’s full moon appear below. One was taken a few minutes before the equinox; the other was taken a few seconds after it. Can you tell which is which? (Hint: the moment at which the equinox occurs has no bearing on the appearance of the moon.) At the time these pictures [...] [...]