Sept 2020 Cool Breeze Astro Camping

In mid/late September, I ventured off for some socially distant observing at the site of the East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous (ECVAR). ECVAR is held at a great campground, Cool Breeze Campground located just outside of Galax, VA just over the North Carolina state border. The skies at Cool Breeze are quite dark, I measured 21.44 on a Unihedron Sky Quality Meter which puts Cool Breeze at Bortle Class 3 skies or in the blue Read more…

MARS: My First Ever Prime Focus Planetary Photo

For those that know me, I’m not an imager but rather a visual observer and an EAA’r (Electronically Assisted Astronomy) and in my 17 years in the hobby, I’ve never before taken a prime focus picture of planet. Prime focus is when the camera is attached directly to the telescope and not to an eyepiece (e.g. eyepiece projection). All my previous work has been unprocessed stacking of deep sky objects, the Moon or the Sun. Read more…

Some EAA from My Driveway

Saturday night was the first night in quite some time that I set up my full EAA rig running off of 12 volt power.  I encountered several issues ranging from Windows 10 updates, other software license issues and my battery monitor/relay device.  After troubleshooting, I was able to get some observing accomplished. Large trees obscuring my southern horizon and the rising moon in the east limited the objects I could observe. M57 The Ring Nebula Read more…

Launch America!

In late May I was very thankful for the distraction from COVID-19, Social Distancing as well as social unrest by following all the Launch America coverage.  This represented the first time American astronauts would launch from US soil aboard an American spacecraft since the launch of the Shuttle Atlantis (STS 135) on July 8, 2011 almost 9 years ago (check out my blog post about that launch, click >> HERE. I was a little disappointed Read more…

Evening Viewing of NEOWISE

On Thursday, 16-Jul-2020, I attempted to view Comet NEOWISE (C/2020). Given how low it was on the northeast horizon and how short of an amount of time I would be able to observe the comet before it sank too low into the murky haze, I did not want to set up my full astronomy rig with dedicated astro camera and go-to/tracking telescope. Instead, I opted to go with my 4″ refractor, an Explore Scientific AR102 Read more…

Where to Look in the Evening Sky for Comet NEOWISE

I’m definitely not a morning person, more of a night owl. That said, I decided to wake up early on Friday and Sunday (See prior posts) to get a peek at the comet. The good news is that as the comet speeds its way from the sun, from our vantage point on the Earth, the comet will become viewable in the evenings. Below is a table of estimated altitude above the Northwest horizon (near Raleigh, Read more…

I saw Comet NEOWISE

I managed to get myself out of bed at 3:40am this morning to go and view C/2020 F3, a.k.a the morning comet NEOWISE. I met up with fellow amateur observer and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, Doug Lively, at the top level of the parking deck next to the Cary Regional Library. The horizons were great and the lights on the top level were off. We practiced socially distant ‘astronomical observing.’ Doug and I were set Read more…

Saturn V: The Rocket That Took Us To The Moon!

In early 2019, in anticipation of all the celebrations commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, I prepared a talk on the rocket that took us to the moon, the might Saturn V. You’ll see various previous posts in my blog with photos and links to the presentation on OneDrive but on April 10th I gave my talk to my local astronomy club, the Raleigh Astronomy Club, via Zoom. It was Read more…

Virtual Mini Star Party

I spent a couple of hours with other members of the Raleigh Astronomy Club last night, trying out socially distant observing where by we set up our respective telescopes in our own yards and shared views, observations and general chatting via Zoom. Here are few of the EAA (electronically assisted astronomy) views I shared. Each picture is just a snap shot of what I saw on my computer monitor after only a few minutes. There Read more…

Nationwide Live-Stream Star Party

Back on Apr 24, I participated in a Nationwide Star Party live streaming event. Below is a link to the YouTube video of that event. I begin my sharing my views thru my telescope at around 1 hour 12 mins into the recording. To view the entire video, click on the Nationwide Star Party poster below: Clear & Steady Skies! -Mike