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Showing posts from August, 2014

Cometary Considerations

Comets don't like behaving like the other objects in the night sky. They don't necessarily move from east to west and appear a little further west each night like the stars do. Even the planets, and their sometimes "wandering" retrograde paths, are well-behaved compared to comets.

Here's a newly discovered comet (more info) with a catchy name of C/2014 E2 Jacques. Shown here are 2 different views of the same comet.

In the first image, the telescope tracked the background stars. This makes it apparent that the comet isn't moving like the stars are. On this night (August 22, 2014) the comet was approximately 50 million miles from Earth and speeding through the solar system at about 85,000 miles per hour. So it's motion is obvious when compared to the stars which are all much, much, much further away from us.

The second image also makes the comet's motion apparent but this time by tracking the comet itself, the stars become streaked.

The Star Parties Are Coming!

'Tis the season for star parties in southern California! In California, we're lucky in that star party season generally kicks off in late May with the RTMC Astronomy Expo (and recently added Starlight Festival) and continues through late October with Nightfall. In between, California sees the Golden State Star Party, OPT's SCAE, the Julian StarFest, and CalStars, among other events.

Being August, we still have 3 great star parties coming up!

The Julian StarFest is held on the grounds of the Menghini Winery just a couple miles from downtown Julian. The skies are dark and amenities are nearby.

CalStars is a very casual star party in that no on-site presentations are planned, no registration is required, there's not even a logo! Just show up, set up, and have fun!

CalStarCalStar at Lake San Antonio September 25th through 28th (Thursday through Sunday) Go to the website
Nightfall truly is the premiere southern California star party. Held at a resort with hotel rooms, RV spaces…

Overnight in the Mojave National Preserve

On August 1, I decided to take a quick trip to a remote location in the Mojave National Preserve to capture the Milky with minimal interference from light pollution. The clouds, rain, lightning and thunder decided to interfere instead. But they put on a good show.

Overnight in the Mojave National Preserve from Daniel Perry on Vimeo.

July Milky Way from GMARS

Here's a view of the Milky Way on the last day of July, taken from GMARS.