Southern California Desert Video Astronomers

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September 2011
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joshua tree, astromomy, scdva, theater
SCDVA WEBSITE HOME PAGE HERALDS
EXCITING MILESTONE!

When the Southern California Desert Video Astronomers were officially organized, it was easy to see that communication would be a major part of our required activities. The need to share news, post announcements, and to document the events that we would be involved with made it obvious that we must have a web site.

Now, we are looking back at our relatively short history as a group, observing the past while reflecting mindfully on what has happened and what we have achieved. For this, our record is found in one place more than any other. It’s our web site.

On our web site we find nearly every single record of SCDVA’s past. It has evolved and grown and manifested into a work that contains the history of our members, our events, and the stories we wrote for the pleasure of our readers. It showcases our announcements, documents our group effort and brings memories to the surface that recalls our past.

Today September 1st, 2011, we are very pleased to announce that we have reached a milestone in recording our 30,000th registered visitor to our site. By some standards this might not sound that impressive, but, in astronomy, and when related to astronomy web sites, this is a recognizable achievement!

We want to thank the world for visiting our web site and to thank those who have made the site become the mainstay of our effort. To Deborah O’Key for managing the Web Master position since the beginning. To Valeree Woodard for the images captured during our events that have preserved our memories, To Leonard J. Holmberg for adding so much depth to the site with inclusive movies and artwork and astronomy. These three individuals deserve special mention as without them, this would not have been possible.

Additional thanks goes to our inner support group known as TEAM X. Gary, Frank, S. Jean, Mary Firth, Walt & Joyce Metcalf, Steve & Myra,  Rick & Carol, Eddie Mendoza, Chapman, and many others continue to contribute their time and energy to making the astronomy work we do meaningful. Sincere thanks go to Ken and Sally, Stuart and Allison, Matt, Joel and everyone at the Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground, as they are the anchors behind the scene and without their support the entire effort would have nothing but air to stand on. The regular groupies we love, include Dick and Shirley, Charles and Honey, Michael and Toy, Nick, Elizabeth Tom & Teresa, Dawn & Dave, Marilee Knudsen, Lynette Wood, Maria Best,and other friends.

To those who have created works and given incredible meaning to the programs we’ve done include Rebecca Unger for her constant support and steady flow of kind words in the press. Clive Wright for the marvelous sounds of the night sky we love. David Jesse McChesney for connecting to the world of nature and enthusiasm for our success. The Joshua Tree Music Fest, Barnett, Travis, Travas, Steve’o, Guy, and the gang, for accepting us into their back yard as colleagues in consortium. Our friends at the Integratron, Nancy, Joanne and Patty Karl. The Hi-Desert Star, everyone from the Mojave Desert Land Trust, Gary Daigneault and staff at KCDZ FM 107.7, Eye on the Desert CBS2 KPSP. All of you have contributed to making our effort better!

Immeasurable gratitude goes to the many people who have helped in ways we never realized would be part of our effort. Utmost among them is the family of Ken Keller for the donation of the art collection of Ken‘s work. Larry and Kathleen Brozee, Mark and Rachael Keller with their children Steven and Rebecca. Thanks for knowing the meaning of your thoughtful gesture! With this kindness, the art collection we are building is going to become a reality!

To those who were important members, and supporters no longer with us we thank Ken, Ric, Orv, Rick, and Robert. To you, we will forever carry cherished memories!

A special thanks goes to Paul Maag as he was a mastermind in forming our group and valued partner. Thanks to his wife, Sue Fosseen for her support and good cheer!

With this announcement goes a warm and sincere thanks to these friends of SCDVA.ORG This includes the Community at large. The Joshua Tree National Park, Hi Desert Nature Museum, Sky’s the Limit Observatory & Nature Center, Town of Yucca Valley, Community of Joshua Tree, Morongo Basin and San Bernardino County. The 29 Palms Marine Corp Ground Combat Station, town of 29 Palms, and all who has been involved with us in any way.

Kind words have been said about us by Griffith Park Observatory, Yerkes Observatory, Copper Mountain College, LACC’s Dean Arvidson, Paul McCudden, Jignesh and team, IDA’s Teri Jackson, MBDSA dark sky group - Alan, Victoria, Seth, Claudia, Stephanie, Samantha, Marlana, D‘Anne, Laraine, Cynthia, Luke, Ray, Mickey and committee. Astronomy Magazine, RAS with special thanks to Alex McConahay, Chris Hendron, Daniel Mounsey, Fara Payan, Astronomers Without Borders - Mike Simmons, Mount Wilson Observatory - Dave Jurasevich, Tele Vue Optics - Al Nagler, Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers - Donna Smith, John Dobson, Mount Palomar Observatory’s Scott Kardel, Jean Muller, and group, Tortoise Rescue of the Mojave Desert’s Rae and Steve Packard, Jim Turner at Night Skies Network, Rock Mallin at Mallincam, Everyone from the Andromeda Astronomical Society including Sam Davidson, Friends of the arts in the Hi Desert including the Hi Desert Cultural Center’s Kathleen Radnich, Jarrod Radnich, and company, Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, Special Thanks for the support given by Wally Pacholka for his continued support and friendship, To Huell Howser for his sincere wishes for our success, Jerry Mattos for his friendship and support & Tom Hayworth. Our friends at the OTLS group including Richard Ball, Guy and Kathleen Nishida, Judith Sanders, and fellows. To our families and friends from our past who continue to praise our effort and to the many visiting astronomers who have come and enjoyed our beautiful night skies of Joshua Tree with us!

The world of astronomy knows you care! And so do we! Please accept our sincere THANKS to you, all!

June Skies

The month of June 2011 will begin with a partial solar eclipse on Wednesday, June 1 and if you are in the arctic regions, your in luck for the best view.  The greatest magnitude for the partial solar eclipse is expected to occur at 21:16 UT for north polar regions. The northern fringes of North America, Europe, and Asia will be able to view the moon partially obscure the sun. 

Whats really strange is, during the eclipse, the outer shadow of the moon (called the penumbra) will first fall on northeast Asia as the eclipse begins, and then work its way east across the International Date Line. Because of that timing, this eclipse will have the quirky circumstance of beginning on the morning of Thursday (June 2) and ending on the evening of Wednesday (June 1).

June 2, 2011
Look toward the east and northeast late this evening for the Summer Triangle. Its brightest point, Vega, rises first.
Look to its lower left for Deneb, the "tail" of Cygnus, the swan. And to its lower right is Altair, in Aquila, the eagle.

June 6, 2011
Being in the desert of Joshua Tree,  the summer evening sky just happens to come alive with the creatures of the desert:
Snakes, a dragon, a lizard, and a scorpion.  The most ancient is Draco, the dragon, which winds between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.  Almost 5,000 years ago its brightest star, Thuban, served as the Pole Star.

With my personal favorite, Scorpio rising in the Southern sky in the early evening after dark. 

The bright red star is the scorpions heart, known as Antares.   Antares is a red super giant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the sixteenth brightest star in the night sky (sometimes listed as 15th brightest, if the two brighter components of the Capella quadruple star system are counted as one star).


                       Photo courtesy of NASA  

 

On June 15th, A total lunar eclipse will occur and will be visible to people in eastern Africa and the Middle East.
 
Partial stages of the eclipse will be visible in much of the rest of the world; sad to say, none of the eclipse is visible in North America. We will see June's full moon which occurs at 4:14 p.m. EDT.  Known as the Strawberry Moon.
Unfortunately, this full moon will also put a damper on the Lyrid Meteor Shower, which is expected to peak on the same date.
 
Saturn In June 

The Universe must have liked it because they put a ring on it!
Saturn is still visible in the night sky and will be throughout the month.  Situated in the constellation Virgo,
Saturn will be quite close to a star named Porrima.  Saturn's rings are 7.29 degrees from edgewise on June 7,
their minimum appearance for the year.

It is an excellent target for telescopes, showing its ring and the shadow the ring creates across the front of the planet
also, the shadow on the rings caused by the planet where the rings begin to circle behind Saturn. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is also visible through telescopes.

A storm is currently raging on Saturn; it may be visible to those with large telescopes as a streak across the planet's northern hemisphere.

Towards the middle of June, Mercury joins the evening sky shining brightly at magnitude -1.5 low in the west in the sunset's glow.

By the end of the month, Mercury will have climbed higher from the horizon but dimmed a bit, to -0.5.  Mercury will create a straight line when it aligns with the stars Pollux and Castor on June 29, 2011.

The June Solstice and the First Day of Summer

For those in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice (the longest day) occurs at 17:16 GMT on June 21st and our days will start to get shorter once again.  But on this date the sun will look as if it's standing still.  Very slowly, over the coming weeks, the sun will begin to inch back toward the north for the autumnal equinox.

In honor of the extended daylight hours,  I thought we would focus some attention on what's been happening with the sun lately.  It has been a very active year and in the last week of May it's been action packed! 

Over the Memorial weekend the sun was very active with several C class flares and a C9 on Sunday. 

What this means:

The Classification of X-ray Solar Flares

A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields (usually above sunspots) is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays.

                                                                    Photo  by LJH

Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms.

There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare.   Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.

According to NASA Science News , on July 14, 2000 NOAA satellites and the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded one of the most powerful solar flares of the current solar cycle.

Space weather forecasters had been predicting for days that an intense flare might erupt from the large sunspot group 9077, and one did.

"Energetic protons from the flare arrived at Earth about 15 minutes after the eruption," says Gary Heckman, a space weather forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center. "This triggered a category S3 radiation storm."

This SOHO animation of the July 14th X-class solar flare was recorded by the spacecraft's Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope at 195 angstroms. A 350 kb GIF movie nicely shows the flare, followed by a torrent of energetic particles that arrived about 15 minutes later, creating snow on the images as the particles bombarded the camera's electronic detectors.

According to NOAA space weather prediction scales, an S3 storm can cause the following effects on satellites: single-event upsets, noise in imaging systems, permanent damage to exposed components/detectors, and decrease of solar panel currents.  It can also expose air travelers at high latitudes to low levels of radiation, the equivalent of a brief chest x-ray.

The wave of solar particles,  known as a solar proton event, is already four times more intense than any other event detected since the launches of SOHO in 1995 and ACE in 1997. At mid-afternoon (UT) on July 14th, the storm of particles from the Sun was still intensifying.

"The energetic particles from this flare arrived very quickly," continued Heckman. "Protons have been observed in the past to arrive between 15 minutes and several hours after a flare. This event was definitely one of the fastest, but we don't yet have all the numbers to say exactly how it ranks in this category."

"Given the information I have now, if I was advising my own daughter I would tell her it's safe to fly. In fact, if she were going to come visit me today (she lives in Florida and I'm in Oklahoma), I would tell her to take a plane rather than drive because even during this solar radiation event flying would be safer." -- Dr. Wallace Friedberg of the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, July 14, 2000.

Soon after the solar flare, which occurred at 1024 UT (6:24 a.m EDT), coronagraphs on board the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded a "full-halo" coronal mass ejection (CME). CMEs are gigantic bubbles of electrified gas carrying away as much as 10 billion tons of solar material. This one appears to be heading toward our planet at 1300 to 1800 km/s.

A full halo coronal mass ejection recorded on July 14, 2000, by SOHO's C2 coronagraph. "Halo events" are CMEs aimed toward the Earth. As they loom larger and larger they appear to envelop the Sun, forming a halo around our star. The many speckles in the latter half of this animation are energetic particles from a related solar flare bombarding SOHO's electronic detectors. "The SOHO instruments look like someone aimed a Gatling gun at them," commented NOAA's Gary Heckman.
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On February 14th 2011 there was a X 2.2 Flare.  The largest since 2000.

Twice in May, NASA captured an image of a comet plunging into the sun. 

On May 13th just as a huge eruption exploded from the star's surface, but the two events are likely not related, NASA scientists say.

NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spotted the ill-fated comet diving toward the sun between Tuesday and Wednesday (May 10 and 11), never to be seen again.

The comet, probably part of the Kreutz family of comets, was discovered by amateur astronomer Sergey Shurpakov.


                                   NASA Photo

By coincidence, a massive explosion on the sun called a coronal mass ejection also erupted at about the same time. Coronal mass ejections are immense bursts of plasma that hurl solar particles away from the sun at incredible speeds.



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Soon after a huge solar storm erupted on May 20-21, 2011, a comet (bright streak at lower right) plunged into the sun. This shot is a still from a video taken by one of NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft.
 

A sun-watching spacecraft has recorded views of an ill-fated comet plunging into the sun just after a huge solar eruption, the second time in 10 days that a comet dive-bombed Earth's star during a solar storm.Over May 20 and 21, the sun unleashed a big coronal mass ejection (CME), an immense burst of plasma that sent solar particles streaking into space at fantastic speeds. Shortly thereafter, a kamikaze comet barreled into the sun. And one of NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft caught it all on video, agency officials announced last week.

"Soon after the eruption, as a bonus visual, a sun-grazing comet came streaking in (from the right) heading for the sun," NASA officials said in a May 27 statement.  "Its tail could be seen elongating substantially as it approached the sun and apparently disintegrated."

for more info check out these links : 

Spaceweather.com 

SOHO Solar Observatory

Space.com 



More Fun in the Sun



In effort to support Sky's The Limit Observatory and Nature Center in 29 Palms at a recent benefit, pictured above is the eager crowd waiting to feast their eyes on the slowly setting sun. The solar image above is what they saw.

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SCDVA ON THE SUN!

Our continuing journey into the universe is always guided by our ability to produce something that is interesting and fun to share with everyone. What we can find that is outside of the normal range of what people expect, or can be achieved, is always a motivating feature that drives us forward into new horizons.

As a first time entry, we are pleased to introduce, the newly acquired instruments and tools we have at our disposal, and offer the following glimpse into the world of our nearest star.

Featuring some of the best views being captured by earth based equipment, the surface of the sun is clearly visible to us. The activity that is presented to us are real time images of solar flares and surface turbulence that define the nature of the sun and our ability to examine it. Besides incredible images that are wonderful to see, there is a foundation into a complete scientific rendering of solar activity and a way to understand the power of our Sun.
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May Skies

The Moon in May:

The New moon will be on the third this month. On May 10 and 11, the moon is not far from Regulus in Leo. On May 13 and 14, the moon will pass Saturn and then Spica.

The Full Moon falls on the 17th. It is sometimes called the Flower Moon because in most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon. The reddish point of light nearby is the star Antares.


Other Highlights:
Orion is slowly disappearing from the night sky as summer approaches. Saturn and it's moons still make for good viewing starting in the early evening this month.


Saturn also has many moons. So far, astronomers have discovered 62, 53 of which have been named. The most famous moon of Saturn is Titan, which is the only known moon with an actual atmosphere. Titan also has hydrocarbon lakes.

Good news for early morning risers as there is some great viewing to be done in the pre dawn hours this month.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter hover close together in the morning sky and spend most of the month of May within a few of degrees of each other in the east just before sunrise.
 

 

May 1st, Jupiter and Mars have their closest approach when they lie less than a half degree apart, with Mars on the left and Jupiter on the right. Just above the dynamic duo is Mercury, with Venus just a bit higher yet.

May 6th, Included in the early morning show is the Eta Aquarids meteor showers, which come from the remnants of Halley's Comet when it passed Earth and left behind its dusty debris that burns up as it enters our atmosphere.



Image courtesy of Meteorshowersonline.com

This represents the view from mid-northern latitudes at about 4:00 a.m. local time around May 6. The graphic does not represent the view at the time of maximum, but is simply meant to help prospective observers to find the radiant location. The red line across the bottom of the image represents the horizon.
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Active from May 1st to 8th, with the peak of activity on May 6 before sunrise. They appear to emanate from the constellation Aquarius near its star Eta (not far from the circlet of Pisces). Up to 45 very fast & bright meteors an hour. Definitely worth getting up early for.

May 7th is Astronomy Day. Check local planetariums,
observatories, and astronomy clubs for activities near you.

Mercury and Venus are at their closest on May 8 when they lie 1.4 degrees apart. Venus will be the bright one on top and Mercury is just below it. Jupiter is the planet close by on the left, with Mars just a bit further to Jupiter's left. On May 11, Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus will be only 2.1 degrees apart.
 

 

 

On the 23rd, Venus and Mars have their closest pairing when they are only 1 degree apart. Two days before, on May 21, Venus, Mars, and Mercury will be separated by only 2.1 degrees. Venus will be the brightest with Mars to the upper right and Mercury below. Jupiter is now to the upper right.

By the end of the month, the four planets will begin to distance themselves from each other and stretch out into a neat line, with the crescent moon again joining in by May 31.


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April Skies

With the New moon on the third, this month, the Original Lord of the Rings, Saturn will make for perfect viewing to anyone observing with or without a telescope.  Even with binoculars you should be able to observe the rings.

Saturn will be it's brightest for the year on April 3rd when it will reach official opposition  at magnitude 0.4. Opposition is when a planet is on the opposite side of the sky from the sun as seen from Earth. The even better news is, planets are visible all night when in opposition!


                                                                        Image courtsy of NASA/JPL

 
Following the constellation Leo in the sky, Saturn can be found in the constellation Virgo, a bit above its brightest star Spica as they rise in the east.  A nearby star, to the upper left of Saturn and Spica, shines brighter than both. This is Arcturus which I will talk about later.


                       Image courtsy of Starry Night Software


Be sure to check out the color of the three. Saturn should look a bit yellow compared to the bluish tone of Spica, and Arcturus should appear slightly more orange compared to Saturn.

Saturn is now tilted so that a minimum of the rings' surface can be seen. The rings cast a shadow on the planet, and likewise, near the rear of the planet, the orb of Saturn casts a shadow on the rings as well.

But this week, be sure to look for the brightening of Saturn's rings due to the Seeliger effect.  What is the Seeliger effect you ask?  The Seeliger effect is whereby the rings brighten for a few days around opposition due to back-scattering of sunlight back toward the Sun and Earth.  The solid icy ring particles back-scatter, but Saturn's cloud tops do not (or not as much).
 

 

 

 

 

 

One moon of Saturn, Titan, should be visible through small telescopes, Titan is most unusual because out of all the moons in the solar system, it is the only one with substantial atmosphere.

On the 8th.....
Arcturus, the "Spring Star," is the brightest point high in the east these evenings. Look up after about 10 or 10:30 and you can get an early sighting of Vega, the equally bright "Summer Star," rising low in the northeast.
  

 

 

April's Moon......
In March the moon was closest of the year, and on April 1 it had it's farthest apogee of the year and will swing as far as
252,684 miles away from Earth to appear as a thin crescent on the morning of April 1.

April's full moon occurs at 07:44 pm PDT on April 17.  Look for the star Spica just above it, and Saturn above that.  This month's full moon is sometimes called the Egg Moon.  Some sources say it's because of Easter or because birds start laying there eggs in April.

Another small but notable night sky attraction is the Lyrid Meteor Shower.  Up to 12 meteors an hour is possible during the shower's peak. Look east beginning in the late evening as Lyra is rising.  Notable because the first, observations have been identified back to at least 2600 years, which is longer than any other meteor shower. 

Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks on the evening of April 22 into the early morning hours of April 23.  The meteors will run from about April 19 to 24 and are the remains of Comet Thatcher as it left its dusty trail behind.

It doesn't get much better than this here in the Morongo Basin.  The beautiful spring flowers putting on a show by day and the warmer dark desert night skies putting on a show throughout the evening 'til dawn.

                                                                                                                        
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WALLY PACHOLKA
ASTRO-PHOTOGRAPHER EXTRAORDINAIRE!
 
Wally's back from his latest trip!
His most recent adventures  on Easter Island.



Tongariki under the Milky Way
Photo taken March 1, 2011
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Anakena under the Milky Way
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The Eye Moai Featuring
 Orion & Pleiades

Be sure to check back for a featured article of Wally
Pacholka body of work

Click to see more of Wally's spectacular night sky images.


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December's Lunar Eclipse
2010
Part I

December 21, 1638. That was the last time that the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon merged into a particular and special geometric arrangement. A position, such, that at that very moment, the season fell from lulls of Autumn into the first wink of Winter. The clockwork like dance followed ancient paths through the night sky and set in motion a very rare and unique celestial event! A once in a lifetime chance to experience a total Lunar eclipse occurring on the Winter Solstice! It was then, just shy of 372 years later. December 21, 2010!


Eclipse in totality Photo by John Dwyer


For some, the hubbub about event was nothing to be excited about and bed time came and went, just like normal. For astronomy buffs, though, the event was one that set the alarm clocks and brought binoculars and telescopes out for a night of "Moongazing" !



75 Minutes into the Eclipse Photo by Chris Applegate of Toronto Ontario, Canada


Sadly, for us at SCDVA, we were swept down a creek in a total washout as nonstop rain pummeled us and clouds obscured any chance for a view of the great spectacle. Only an odd blur of a dim lunar glow occasionally hinted that a full Moon loomed behind the fast moving storm.

 
Photo by Andrew Scheck of Maryland

As result, we called upon that ever hopeful resource that can make up for times like these.... the Internet! There was the answer! Coming to the rescue! It was the "NSN"



Indeed, the Night Skies Network was up and running, broadcasting live! The long list of participants provided us with a buffet of images coming from their observatories as they captured the blow by blow action we would have missed out on, otherwise.


image by Chris Applegate Toronto, Ont. Canada

NSN screen capture
Eclipse at 40 minutes

From the moment we signed on, about a dozen live astronomical broadcasters were emitting a wide variety of Lunar images with slightly different views in slightly different tones of pale yellow and tan and orange. The evening was still early, but it soon became easy to see that the audience was gathering quickly to tune in and rapidly it became more and more difficult to jump from site to site as viewers filled the slots. Suddenly, we couldn't get on at all! The world was competing vigorously to see the event and we had lost our chance to hang onto our seat! Dang-it! It sort of caught us off guard as we didn't think things through to realize that there were only so many spaces available to watch the show!

Joining in with the effort were our friends at Astronomers Without Borders. This group brings the wonders of our Universe to many people around the world, and the NSN is an active partner in helping to connect celestial events to these distant audiences via the Internet. Many of those supported by the AWB live in regions around the globe where access to the night sky is limited to nothing more than the naked eye. AWB brings technology to these places so people there can have a chance share in the activities of modern science and technology. Bravo to these fine groups for this fine work!


105 Minutes into the Eclipse Photo by Chris Applegate of Toronto Ontario, Canada

Anyway, some of our fellow astronomers were fortunate enough to have clear skies and they posted many of their images on the Internet for all to see. We were very impressed and decided it would be a good idea to make a feature article about the event and share the results of the terrific work they achieved.


Photo by Andrew Scheck of Maryland

Enclosed with this report are the images that were taken by folks who are connected with the activities on the Night Sky Network and the Mallincam Yahoo group who responded to our request for images to put in this article.



There are a few other images that come from other sources and they are noted as shown.

Thanks to all of you! We hope you all have a great holiday season and clear, dark skies!



35 Minutes into the Eclipse Photo by Chris Applegate of Toronto Ontario, Canada

 

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Lunar Eclipse
Part 2

From Eclipses to Scientists

When the scientific community looks skyward, there is a point of appreciation that is well understood. A realization that we are working to unlock hidden mysteries of the universe and discovering solutions to questions yet unanswered.



On the other hand, there is another reason for looking skyward! A way that utilizes an age old belief and practice already known and well understood. The only requirement is that one follows the instructions prescribed by the practitioner. A practitioner who has studied and gained certain knowledge. Someone who takes some background information, applies some calculations, and then, tells us what is foretold as written in the stars! Destiny revealed by someone called an Astrologer!



It might seem strange, but only recently has astrology been rejected as reliable "science"! At least, in the same sense that science is thought of now. Not so very long ago, science was called philosophy and astrology was an established form of philosophical practice. Not to be taken lightly, astrology was incredibly serious business. Guiding the actions of armies and decisions of kings, astrologers administered advice as prescribed by the motions of the stars. Alignments of planets! Eclipses of the Sun and the Moon! The pulse of life, itself, lay in the hands of Soothsayers and Oracles. Seers of astrology!




Nearly every newspaper in the modern world, today, has a regular column that professes the Horoscope! A prophecy in love and health and the will of the seventh house rising....... and so it goes..... People continuing to feel akin to the attraction of these mysterious ancient heralds of prediction.


How do we manage to hold these feelings so dear? Grasping for hope and grace?...... Insightful beacons that save us and add to the mix of Tarot and Crystal Ball incantations of Ouija Boards?



Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th as result of a delay caused by worries shared by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson? That John Adams had the ceremony set for July 2nd and because of the position of the Moon and the planets, Franklin saw omens of doom! The delay was deliberate and hinged on astrology!



From "Poor Richard's Almanack" Franklin regularly ran predictions based on these understandings. Amazingly, many people felt that the world relied on astrological postings in many similar publications of the day.

In fact, there are many such stories in history that hint of occult inklings in decision making and reliance on astrology. Modern day astrologers are, for the most part, people who find affinity with new age ideas and share interests in concepts like homeopathy and natural harmony in many synonymous areas of artistic and eclectic expression. Throughout the listings in our research we find references to names like "Whitedove", "Crystalwind" and "Sparrow Moon"! Names that suggest connections to great channels of deep, inward, thinking with mystic drones of spiritual understanding . It all seems very fascinating!



With this article, we continue our examination of the concepts connected to Lunar eclipses.
The astronomical and astrological reasoning is fun, in our opinion. We want to offer something interesting that has a little "science" and a little "philosophy". The images above are courtesy of Google Images on the internet, and are used, here, to display the wide and vast association of human endeavor related to the interest in these subjects. We thank Google for providing access to these great images and to the many sources who made them available to Google.com.

Additional images contributed by astronomers who have responded to our request for submissions stemming from their work in capturing the total Lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010, are also included as well as other images that relate to the subject concerning astronomy.


images by Don on left and Chris Applegate on right



image by Chris Applegate Toronto, Ont. Canada



image by Don of PA.

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The Moon









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Lunar Eclipse
Part 3

HOW DID THEY KNOW?


Looking into the depths of man's primordial past, one thing stands out that is quite remarkable! Not that there aren't other achievements deserving equal regard . Harnessing fire; creating tools for agriculture and animal husbandry. All great and important mile stones. But, beyond what assures survival comes something amazing and curiously wondrous. Around the world, man has made a compendium of astronomical observations. Observations made by many cultures at every point in man's recorded existence. Studies in time that have formed the foundations of modern astronomy and astrophysics.


During that last couple of decades, study of some previously overlooked clues in ancient places where man once lived, unearthed evidence proving sophistication and detailed understandings related to the his knowledge of the movements of Stars, Planets, and the Moon. Records showing a remarkably accurate and extremely insightful use of collected comparative observations. Sightings that, at times, would have required generations of observers to share and compile to gather the necessary information to find what they found. What investigators discovered proves man knew that we are part of an incredibly magnificent geometrical clock. A time machine that describes our Universe.

 

From Stonehenge to Chaco Canyon, the Pyramids and the cave dwellings in Ireland, astronomy enters into the design. From all corners of the globe, man has been looking deep into the night sky and constructing edifices that are situated in aligned perfection with astronomical objects. Orientations that reflect hallmarks in the cycles of the gong sounding from the Universal Clock. Apogees and perigees, solstices and equinoxes. Sequential order in a timeline of repeating cycles.

And, so. Here we are. Looking into the sky and wondering, observing, comparing. Not much has changed, really. Only the tools we have to see better. Farther and with more detail. Better clocks to judge by. Etc. And, still, the mystery remains. WHY? HOW? WHEN? All, wonders hidden from our understanding.


So, what did the ancients know that we don't? Modern assessors think that there are secrets they kept and we haven't been included. One is a big secret! In fact it is making some people extremely anxious and nervous. It has a simple name. It is being called "2012!"

Interest in this topic is immense! Astrologers, archeologists, theologians, historians, and scientists are all waiting to see what is in store. Predictions hailing doom for the planet? Devastation to the entirety of humanity and civilization? Mayan chants of Gabriel's horn to blow? Some think so!

 

 

 

 

 

 Others see a positive side to it all. One side says that there are some interesting coincidences. The cycle called the "26,000 year precession" of our Earth within our solar system is supposed to be upon us in 2012. Also, the 225 million year cycle that describes the rotation of our Milky Way Galaxy is predicted to start another cycle.


Some think we are headed into a new age of conscientiousness and a renewal of the human spirit! Interesting! Fascinating! Intriguing! How about, Baloney! Hogwash! Bullpucky! and again, please, relax...... nothing bad is going to happen! The world is going to wake up just like it has for the last four billion years and continue to turn just like always.


With the advent of modern conveniences in communication and scientific abilities, science proves itself as a real phenomena and tool to be counted on. There remains a large mystery that has, yet, to be fully disclosed to us. It's true! But science is hunting for it! Science will not give up! You can count on it! And just as science built machines that fly and machines that photograph your friends while you talk to others on your i-phone, so too, is science the source of knowledge you can count on! Look into the facts that science will show you. Perhaps with an open mind, and a bit of work, a mystery will be revealed to you? Then, you can share it with the rest of us!

 

For more insight, the Internet has many interesting sites to explore. NASA has been providing answers to many of the questions people have regarding this subject. Look into the depths of these articles and become someone who "really" knows what's up with 2012!

Here are some interesting links that will start your journey into being "up" on the latest info!

Oh, and "How did they know?"...... They didn't!

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