Articles (Blog)
Posted on April 20, 2018 8:07 AM by Mark Conde
Its another great weekend to look up... The Lyrid meteor shower is in town!
 Look for Hercules and watch for the show!
 
Great information on where to look can be found here: https://www.space.com/40348-lyrid-meteor-shower-2018-what-to-expect.html
 
Mark
Posted on February 6, 2018 8:15 AM by Mark Conde
When it is this cold we tend to want to just stay inside and keep warm, but this is the best time of the year to get out and look up. The stars and planets are amazing when the cold night is clear. My view is to the South/Southwest and it never fails to give me a show. I wanted to share a couple things to look for this month that are really cool.
 
First, have you ever looked up and caught a satellite flying by? Just spend a few minutes about 1/2 hour to 1-hour after dusk just when its just dark out and you can see them all the time. They dont blink and are considerably faster than an airplane. Its around this time of night and early in the morn the sun lights them up and you can see them fly by. One of the favorites is to catch the Space station flying over too. That is very bright and you know it when you see it go over. There is an app/web page to help you know when to look for that over Murphy in the "Fun Stuff" menu on the web site. The direct link to the page is here: http://www.fiveforksnc.com/info.php?pnum=559777ab374eaa
 
There is a "short life" satellite that someone sent up there with the only purpose of having us find it and look up. Its called "The Humanity Star" and you can find when it will fly over here: http://www.thehumanitystar.com It is only designed to be up there for 9 months and is a large, highly reflective ball. It should be as bright as the satellites and slightly brighter than most of the stars. Go hunting for that one in approximately 22 (2/28) days over Murphy. Here is an article on it:  https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/satellites/a15892673/satellites-orbit-naked-eye-humanity-star/
 
Looking for meteors is a favorite past time of my family. You would laugh at seeing us out at 2am looking up for a scheduled meteor storm. However, we see them all the time in our S/SE view.  This time of year I find Orion just off to the left of our view and it crosses in front over night of us to find meteors all the time. A good place to find what is in our view is at the Astronomy.com site. Here is what is going on this and next week: http://www.astronomy.com/observing/sky-this-week/2018/02/the-sky-this-week-for-february-2-to-11 One of the games we always play with people hanging with us at the fire pit or on the deck is to get all the people that night to see the same fireball. We usually manage to get that to happen but it can take all night sometimes :) 
 
Now, the planets we get to see are always a thrill. This month we get to see Jupiter right next to Mars in the early morning sky off to the South.  You cant miss them. The two full moons this last month are always amazing to look up to. If you were to sit on Tere's porch (I would ask her first to do that :) ) and watch that moon come up over the ridge to her left you can easily touch it! There is a picture of one super moon in our photo albums coming over that ridge. I enjoy training my telescope at the planets and sharing the view with neighbors. We have seen the rings and moons of Saturn and the moons and bands on Jupiter together just from our deck. Give a shout if you want the experience one of these evenings and we will plan a gathering when a planet is visible.
 
Finally, we are very luck to actually have a view of the Milky way. I am always amazed at the folks I know living in Atlanta who have never seen this wonderful structure. Its our astronomical neighborhood and should be part of everyone's experience living in the mountains. This is where we are in that huge neighborhood...
 
If you ever wondered what part of our galaxy we can see this is a good video to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdFWbEwsOmA&feature=youtu.be
 
Get out there and look up. We have a view most do not!