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Personal Astronomy Blogs

Astronomy Outreach, Twitter and the RASC

KInce-Lum's picture

How do you share your love of the night sky and astronomy adventures?  Thanks to the RASC, I have found myself with a Twitter addiction!  Unfortunately, I have many people in the club enabling  my minor infatuation, and a constant stream of  data to feed my habit.

My dependence is fed by a large community of like minded folks online, and by sometimes traveling large distances to get my fix, spending a lot of money in the meantime.  I cannot help it – the lure is too great.

I blame NASA.

My Top Astronomical Experience of 2011: Exploring the Far-Southern Skies

DChapman's picture

Southern SkiesChoosing my top astronomical experience for 2011 is easy for me, as my wife and I spent 5 weeks in New Zealand, travelling all over, often staying in places away from large cities. The view we had of the far-southern skies almost defies description.

My Top Astronomical Experience of 2011 - Completed Life List

MMcBride's picture

Asking an amateur astronomer to express in words their top astronomical event is akin to pointing out the astronomical singularity of the big bang, where and precisely when did it occur across this immensely beautiful universe? Really does it matter – isn’t it just important to know that it did? I had a year full of top astronomical events, firsts and bests moments ever; is that not the beauty of our hobby, one that is full of challenges, opportunities, personal discoveries and triumphs? The awesomeness of our universe begs us not to expect anything less from this living, breathing and ever changing soup of creation than the awe and wonder we find just simply being out amongst the stars. Still, I must choose between the moments but how, but, what? Glad the year was already picked for us, as I would be stuck in an endless loop of emotional wonder and amazement with no escape.

Venus visits the evening sky.

MScrimger's picture

Venus is the focus in the Western sky in the coming months and shines brightly.  It is very close in size to our own planet but the atmosphere of Venus would not be kind to life of any kind.

My Top Astronomical Experience of 2011 - Epsilon Aurigae

dgrey's picture

During the first part of 2011 I was traveling in Central America with my family. I had almost no equipment with me and I was unable to import very much into Guatemala without a lot of red tape. I did manage to get an Astrotrac tracking mount for my birthday however and I stumbled upon the Citizen Sky project to observe the eclipse of Epsilon Aurigae.

New Year's Resolution - Use Occult Watcher in your Backyard!

dgrey's picture

Many RASC members are involved in the sport of occultation chasing. This activity involves monitoring a star when an asteriod is predicted to cross in front of it. By observing the dip in brightness and accurately timing it the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) can put together accurate estimates of the size and shape of the occulting body. This, combined with measurements of the asteroid's brightness helps to refine our knowledge of the members of the asteroid belt.

ISS Transit Seen from Toronto

dgrey's picture

A group of 10 Toronto Centre members came out dark and early this morning to catch a transit by the ISS in front of the Full Moon this morning. The distinctive "H" shape of the ISS was clearly visible in binoculars as it zipped past the Moon at 3:52:16 a.m. Eastern time.

Very Rare Superoutburst of PR Herculis

WMacDonald's picture

Winchester Observatory has monitored hundreds of variable stars with an automated imaging system over the last nine years. Most are run of the mill long period variables (mainly Mira-type stars) that vary slowly and somewhat predictably; the rest are the much more exciting cataclysmic variables (CVs)--stars that undergo sudden and dramatic increases in brightness.

Fun Science with Asteroid 2005YU55

DLane's picture

Blair MacDonald and I observed the Near-Earth asteroid 2005UY55 the other night simultaneously at "2011-11-09T01:55:00 UT" from two sites in Nova Scotia just 11.2 km apart. The goal was to try to detect parallax and detemine a distance to the asteroid.

Big Glass

Anonymous's picture

EVERYONE SAYS that the great 40" refractor at Yerkes Observatory is the world’s largest, but did you know that there was actually a larger refractor built in France? It was on display at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900 and had an objective of 49.2 inches. The optical tube was mounted horizontally and fed by a 79-inch flat mirror which tracked the sky. A handful of scientific observations were made with the telescope during the Exhibition, but no buyer was ever found for it. Ultimately the instrument was scrapped.

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