Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, USA

Blog Posts

Bringing Space Exploration & the Night Sky Down to Earth

May Public Outreach Session

This past Saturday, May 31st, I helped out again with the Public Outreach / Observing session put on by the Morehead Panetarium.  The session was held out at Jordan Lake just west of Apex and south of Chapel Hill in North Carolina. People showed up well in advanced of the official start time of 9:00pm.  But even…
Read more

First Light with New Astro-Video Camera

I recently purchased a color video-astronomy camera from Astro Video Systems (AVS), the Advanced Cam MKIII.  First light for the camera happened to coincide with the Morehead Planetarium’s SkyWatching session for May.  If I could get it working, it would be a great way to show off views of deep space objects to the visitors. I connected…
Read more

Kennedy Space Center Visit

During spring break of 2013, we preceded our visit to Disney World with a visit to Kennedy Space Center. Some the highlights were walking through the Rocket Garden and seeing life size versions of the Mercury Redstone, Mercury Atlas and Gemini Titan rockets all in a vertical possition. Then comparing those to the massive Saturn…
Read more

The Transit of Venus Post Script

There was quite a bit of “Venus Transit Fever” on the Internet during the few days leading up to the  transit as well as several days afterwards.  The plethora of pictures, videos and articles was quite impressive.  However there are 2 videos that stand out in my mind…. The first is a video compiled by…
Read more

The 2012 Venus Transit

On the afternoon of June 5th, 2012 (the morning of June 6th on other parts of the planet) the black silhouette of Venus was observed crossing the face of the sun.   This passing in front of the sun is what astronomers call a transit.  The next time Venus will transit the Sun, from the…
Read more

Observing Quasar 3C 273 – Traveling Back in Time 2 Billion Years

On my list of objects to view from my own telescope (a 1994 Celestron 8” SCT), has been Quasar 3C 273.  Aesthetically speaking, this object has zero value, it looks like a very faint star.  However what makes this object so interesting is its origin and its distance. Quasars are the compact, central region of…
Read more

Super Nova SN2012aw in M95

Thursday night I spent some time with fellow RAC members Mark L.and Ian H. (separately) while at the Staunton River Star Party.  We were looking through my 8” SCT for the super nova SN2012aw that had been detected last week in the Leo galaxy, M95.  After much back and forth on Stellarium, star charts and…
Read more

Observing Asteroid 2005 YU55

On Tuesday November 8th, 2011 asteroid 2005 YU55 which is about the size of an aircraft carrier buzzed the Earth within 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers).  As a point of reference, our moon is 238,000 miles away!   Even though asteroids of this size pass by Earth frequently, the last time a space rock this large came…
Read more

40th Anniversary of the 1st Moon Landing

My first Blog entry will be devoted to the 40th Anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing. It is quite fitting that this week NASA released pictures of the Apollo landing sites taken by the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter):  http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/multimedia/lroimages/apollosites.html My favorite picture is of the Apollo 14 landing site; seeing the footpath the astronauts…
Read more