Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apollo 11 UFO? Happy Halloween

Do you believe this??? Leave your comments.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eldorado Star Party - Video

Another Video from Rick. This time from the Eldorado Star Party!

Thanks Rick, I'll be looking forward to more videos from your iphone.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roof Top Astronomy Video

Rick posted this video to YouTube.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


M31 and   M32 - My Sketch

One of the most important things that I believe each amateur astronomer should at least try is sketching. Sketching helps you train your eye. You have to sit and observe for a while. Often time we seem to get in a hurry just star hopping our way around only looking at an object for only a few moments. When was the last time you looked intently at an object for 10 minutes or more?? I'm guessing that most astronomers will honestly say that have never spend 10 whole minutes observing a single object.

Sketching forces you to spend time one objects. Once you begin to do it you will begin to notice more details, ones that you haven't seen before. It really is like adding inches of aperture to your telescope.

Astronomers long ago, before the age of cameras, used to study a single object all night and maybe many nights. Image what you could do if you did the same. Image how much greater our telescopes are compared to those used by the early astronomers.

I challenge you to go out and be an old school astronomer in today's world. Even when I'm not sketching I try to make it a point to always take a second look at what I'm observing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Roof Top Astronomy

This past Friday evening the weather was prefect a few members of the San Antonio Astronomical Assoc. set up at a local high rise apartment building for their open house. It was really neat doing astronomy 22 stories above the city. Here are some photos:

Snapshot: Star Party 22 stories up!

Snapshot: Star Party 22 stories up!

Snapshot: Star Party 22 stories up!

Snapshot: Star Party 22 stories up!

Snapshot: Star Party 22 stories up!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Solar Activity

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eldorado Star Memories

I spent Wednesday-Saturday last week at the 2009 Eldorado Star Party. This was event fun. I have blogged about it for already so I will not go into too many details. I slept in my Honda Element each night and observed with my 16" Lightbridge. On Saturday morning I packed up and met up with my San Antonio group at Garner State Park for an outreach star party. I spent 4 nights observing 3 at ESP with Rick A. and other members of ESP and one night with my San Antonio Astronomical Association friends and camped one night at Garner State park.

Here are some photos from ESP 2009:
Cheezy Self Portait

Camp Matthew

Celestron First Scope at Eldorado Star Party 2009

Eldorado Star Party


East Telescope Field- Eldorado Star Party 2009

Rick Allnut and Robert Reeves

VW Camper at ESP2009

10" Lightbridge at Eldorado Star Party 2009

Eldorado Star Party 09- Laptop Housing

Nice Dobsonian at Eldorado Star Party

A Dobsonian Tracking Mount

Binocular Chair

Anne and Mike

4" Solar Telescope

Meade Light Switch Telescope

LX200 16" at Meade Booth- Eldorado Star Party 2009

Blackie at ESP2009

Office Lamp with Red Light

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Orionids Meteor Shower (Oct. 21, 2009)

The morning of October 21, 2009 you will be able to see the Orionids meteor shower under a near New Moon sky.

To prepare you for this I found this wonderful resource that I've previously posted on my blog:

Orionids - October 21, 2009 in morning moon will be near new Moon.
Leonids - November 17/18, 2009 at night and in morning; moon will be new Moon.
Geminids - December 13/14, 2009 at night; moon will be near new Moon

For more information:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Texas Hash

Latest Report from Eldorado Star Party 2009
So far there have been two great nights. Last night's viewing ended around midnight because of dew :(. Rick and I worked on the ESP observing list (a.k.a. Texas Hash) and snagged 16 out of the 26 items on the list. Some of the favorites of last night were the Blinking Nebula, Saturn Nebula, and some 10-11th magnitude edge on Galaxies. It wasn't easy but not that hard either. ESP allows Go-To and Setting Circles but Rick and I don't any of that on our dob so we do good old fashion star hopping ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ESP Report- Oct. 14/15

Eldorado Star Party Report:

Rick and I arrived a few minutes apart late yesterday afternoon. We are both set
up our 16" Lightbridge telescopes next to each other. Last night the sky was
beautiful. Rick did some Hershel stuff for the Astronomy League and I worked on
getting some Messier Objects done for my Astronomy League award. I bagged about
25 Messier Objects last night detailing what I was seeing using a voice

There are around 100+ telescopes here. We talked to people from all over Texas.
Rick and I are set up next to a guy from San Angelo and a woman from Houston.
Meade Telescopes is here with a tractor trailer full of stuff, ETX-LS, 16"
Lightbridge, PSTs and LX200 16". One of the Meade guys said he was from New Orleans.
I have chatted with many of the people here online and it is nice to now put a
face on a name.

Some other SAAA members are set up across the field in what I have dubbed "Camp
San Antonio". Mike F., Anne, and Yogie. Were there when I went by before sunset.

The first night was good and hopefully the rest will be the same!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eldorado Star Party- Here I come

Today after work I'm heading to the Eldorado Star Party near Eldorado, Texas which is south of my hometown. I'll be there until Sunday morning. I'm hoping that the sky is nice. While I'm there I might drive up to Ft. McKavett to meet with some old astronomy friends doing a star party at the historical site there.

Here is a video I found from the 2008 ESP:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nice Morning Sight on Oct. 13, 2009

Plan to get up early on the morning of October 13, 2009 for a great view in the eastern horizon. About 6:30am CST in the Central United States if you look to the east you should see Venus and Saturn only a half-degree apart in the morning sky. Below them Mercury will be rising above the horizon. Plan to get up and get to your favorite spot from which you have a clear view of the Eastern horizon and enjoy this dance of the planets.

Post your comments if you got to observe this.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stolen Telescope!

I friend and fellow San Antonio Astronomer had some equipment stolen from his house last night:

He said both his Ford F-150 (EARLY-1990s) truck with telescope trailer, and Chevrolet Suburban (also early 1990s) were stolen from his house over the night.

His 30" Obsession and Meade 8" LX200GPS were in the trailer along with most of his eyepieces and myriad of other astro gear.

The F-150 is a two tone Beige/White combination with a Beige camper shell. The Suburban is all white. The trailer is all white with a rear loading ramp.

If by chance you see something that may resemble these vehicles, I would greatly appreciate a contact. This was taken from San Antonio area so if someone shows up with a new LX200 or Obsession at a star party call police.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Toys on Mars??

I've been thinking about Mars lately. I've learn lots about the Mars explorations over the past years. In 2008 I was selected to be part of a team of educators from NASA Explorer Schools to go to Yellowstone National Park to study the water cycle and extreme-o-files. While there we did many video conferences with Mars exploration scientists to learn about how studying the water-cycle on Earth and extreme-o-files helps with the exploration on Mars. (more on that later)

Mars truly seems to be the next great frontier. We have been to the moon... hopefully we will go back but that depends on the economic and political conditions of our planet. *yes the entire planet*

I look forward to the LCROSS lunar project coming up this Friday and further exploration of Mars and the Moon. I look forward to the day when there is great enthusiasm by the general public. We saw and example of this when Hot Wheels produced an action set of the Mars Rovers. My readers might not know that I'm a past Hot Wheel collector and I have about 4 of these Rover sets still in the package. My Hotwheel days are behind me but it is good to see that I even had an interest in astronomy back then.