Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fish Tank Theory- Gravitational Lens Deflections

So I was looking at the Astronomy Picture of the Day for today, Galaxy Cluster Abell 1689, (August 24, 2010) and I started to think about how much we still don't understand about the universe.

The photo dealt with gravitational lens deflections and how it is helping us humans theorize about the universe. 

Then it hit me! We are like mere fish in a fish tank. 

Think about it: When you look into a fish tank the water acts like a lens and can distort the image we see. Sometimes it doesn't distort at all perhaps dark matter is the same way.

 I wondered if fish in the tank in my living room have been developing theroies about the things they see from their fish tank. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

First light for a friend

Saturday evening a few friends gathered at Falcone Park to do some observing. Eric posted on the yahoo group that he'd be out and "company would be nice". Anne, Tina, Stephanie, Randy and Randy's dog Max enjoyed the night sky. It was nice but a little windy at times.

Anne was busy taking photos with her Canon G7. Tina sat and chatted with Randy's girlfriend Stephanie while watching the stars. Eric used his 10" SCT and video setup to show everyone various objects. Max laid on the grass while I helped Randy use his 10" dobsonian. this was Randy's first light with the Orion Dobsonian. I sat up my 20x80 binoculars and looked at the moon.

Randy toured the heavens and hit the following targets: Moon, Saturn, Mars, Venus, M7, Butterfly Cluster, m57 "the ring", Jupiter, and M31.

I think Randy had a great first light! Congrats!

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 Perseid Meteor Shower Report

2010 has not been good for astronomy around my area it's just been to cloudy and wet. Things might be changing:

Aug. 13- Unfortunately, I had my jeep at the dealer all day for a computer reprogram as part of a software update...cars now days!

Anyways, I didn't get it back until 6:30 so Tina and I couldn't make it to the viewing party that the Sky Observers group was holding at a private viewing area.

Not all was lost Tina and I did head out highway 16 to the Bandera/Medina county line and watched for about an hour 11:50pm-12:50am. We saw only five meteors. Two of them were an estimated magnitude -3 or bighter (using Jupiter as a reference). Each was slow with a nice green hue and trail.

From our spot we could see magnitude 5.6 stars the Milkly Way was clearly seen.

It is a great spot. I have gone there before I usually drive the Jeep way off the highway or up a hill and it gets us away from passing headlights and we just sit with the top off the Jeep watching... works out really well; astronomy without getting out of the Jeep!

I guess it's the next level of astronomy we have had arm-chair astronomy; Now we have drive through astronomy! Haha

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perseids Meteor Shower - August 12-13, 2010

Amateur Astronomers of Rhode Island Reports: "This shower produces about 60 meteors per hour, and its performance is farily consistant from year to year."

Parent Comet: 109P/Swift-Tuttle

To prepare you for this I found this wonderful resource that has been posted numerous times on my blog:

For more information:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This Months Light Pollution Video: A Documentary Trailer

Trailer of "Blackout" a documentary on light pollution by María Ángeles Vivanco.

To find out more please visit http://blackoutdocumentary.blogspot.com or http://apagondocumental.blogspot.com