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May 11, 2012 May 11, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Uncategorized.
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Venus and Alnath (Beta Tauri) were in a beautiful pairing tonight as I was walking home.  It’s always interesting to have a planet paired brilliantly with a star.  Oftentimes in astronomy when several planets are in close proximity they get the most attention, but tonight Alnath was close enough to complement Venus quite well. The supermoon a few days ago was also quite spectacular, it was indeed very bright and full and the sky was clear.  No screenshot tonight unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the Stellarium on my Linux system to behave properly lately.  Hopefully the next time I make a posting I’ll have pretty pictures. The sky was very clear tonight.

Beta Tauri is so named because it’s the second brightest star in the constellation Taurus.  The brightest star in a constellation will often be assigned the alpha designation; for example, alpha centauri is the brightest star in the constellation Centaurus.  If you quickly search up a star map of Beta Tauri’s surrounding stars on Google or your favorite planetarium program, you’ll quickly notice that Beta Tauri is very close to the constellation Auriga, and may be connected to Auriga’s stars.  Lying on the boundary of both constellations, the star can be referred in older texts as part of Auriga instead of Taurus [http://bit.ly/KvLt7u]. Interestingly, Alnath is one of the closest major stars to the Galactic Anticenter, a region in space opposite to the Galactic Center (the center of the Milky Way Galaxy) [http://bit.ly/Jv7DUE].

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March 14, 2012 March 14, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Venus and Jupiter in the Western Sky at Dusk

Venus and Jupiter were in this beautiful pairing tonight. These two planets are not actually close to one another, it is due to their location in space and our vantage point from Earth that they seem to be so close. Jupiter has an apparent brightness of -1.96, and Venus -4.18; apart from the Sun and the Moon, these are some of the brightest celestial objects visible in the night sky.  The weather was amazing tonight.

One Year Later February 23, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Notices.
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Dear Readers,

It’s been a year since I last posted on this blog.  Lots of things have changed, but I plan to start observing again and posting my experiences here.  I deeply miss the moments spent under the night sky.

Thanks, and a fresh start is in order.

Windsor

February 23, 2011 February 23, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Hydra the Serpent's Head and Neck

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 3

Transparency: Good

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Hydra

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 7:45 – 7:55 pm

Notes: Some after-dinner observing.  Tonight I decided to find something new and eventually settled on Hydra, the Serpent.  After charting my path in Stellarium, I first located Sirius by projecting from Orion’s Belt, then moved West ~35 degrees until the sight in the image above was in my binoculars.  Shown above is the head of Hydra, made up of a rough pentagon of relatively faint stars.   Xi, Sigma, and Epsilon HYA appeared brighter and had a greenish tinge through my binoculars.  In Greek mythology, Hydra was a ferocious sea serpent with many heads, who was the terror of any man or village in close proximity to it; Hercules later defeated it with the help of his nephew Iolaus [http://bit.ly/eODV62]. Overall was an interesting find, but if I hadn’t been looking for it directly, this constellation would have been easy to miss due to its relatively dim stars.

TT&T Page Under Construction February 18, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Notices.
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Dear Readers,

You may have noticed that the Tips, Tricks and Tools Page has been removed. The reason for this is that I’m looking to add more material to the page, and I will render the page visible after further construction has completed.

Thanks in advance for your patience.

As always, Thanks for reading and Clear Skies!

Sincerely,

Windsor

February 12, 2011 February 12, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Two Arrowhead Formations in Taurus

NB: The magnification of this image is different from custom this time, covering a FOV of ~7 Degrees, to capture both arrowheads at the same time.

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Good

Transparency: Great

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Taurus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 9:40-9:55 pm

Notes: With clouds bordering the horizon, it was slightly warmer tonight, so I decided to observe the northern areas of the Orion/Taurus constellation border.  Found a fascinating set of two ‘arrows’ of moderately faint stars, one about 1.5 times bigger than the other.  They coincidentally both point in the same direction, towards the waxing gibbous moon about 8 degrees to the right. A magnificent sight, a “fast forward” sign in the skies.  To be honest, my first impression was two flocks of geese migrating north/south as the seasons change.  A subtle reminder that spring (and warmer weather) is near!  What about your first impressions? Let’s hear about it in the comments!

First Tweet! February 4, 2011

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Thanks to the individual who tweeted one of my posts (Jan.21) for the first time.  I really appreciate it!

Windsor

January 21, 2011 January 22, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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T-Shaped Formation of Stars in Taurus the Bull

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Bad

Transparency: Good

Type: Deep Sky

Constellation: Taurus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 11.13 – 11:20pm

Notes: A cosmic T-shape formation a few degrees to the East of Taurus the Bull.  Made up primarily of six relatively bright stars, all were white.  Also had a chance to observe the Pleiades.  Compared to last year when I observed it, they seem to have lost their cloudy complexion, which was out of the ordinary and felt strange at first glance.  It might be effects of the atmosphere, or my binoculars being slightly out of focus– nevertheless they looked purely like a small clump of stars.  Very interesting.

UPDATE: Never mind, I never observed any nebulosity last year… click the link below to go back to my observing record last year, when I observed the Pleiades.

https://orionrising.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/january-22-2010-2/

January 8, 2011 January 9, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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'Question Mark' in NW Orion

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 2

Transparency: Poor

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Orion

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 10:45pm – 11:00pm

Notes: Happy New Year!  Here’s to another great year of observing.  Shown above: An interesting “question-mark” arrangement of seven relatively bright stars, ~8 Degrees NW of Betelgeuse. v ORI and E ORI are magnitude 4.40 and 4.45 respectively, and make up Orion’s right elbow.  NGC 2169, which is an open cluster is nearby, but it was not readily visible through binoculars.  William Herschel discovered it in 1784 [http://bit.ly/gU6xwb].

December 26, 2010 December 26, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Orion's Shield, Projecting from Bellatrix

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 3

Transparency: Average

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Orion

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 10:52pm – 11:00pm

Notes: I haven’t been formally stargazing since Sep 20, a full three months…a  whole season’s worth of stargazing gone.  Sadly school and life has gotten beyond busy, and there is no sign of reprieve yet. Also passed the 1st Anniversary of the founding of this web log.  To celebrate, I observed Orion tonight, one of the most majestic constellations offered in the night sky, and my favourite.  Back after a year of travels, Orion is unchanged. Taking perspective, it’s stunning how human endeavours and concerns seem so long and drawn out sometimes, peppered heavily with daily frustrations and stressors– all contributing to a mad rush of constant change; while the heavens above stay perceptually constant.   Shown above are four bright stars in Orion’s Shield, projecting out from Bellatrix; pi 1-4 ORI, and a distinct pair of stars, HIP 22834 and HIP 22938 slightly to the left of the Shield.

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