Observing the Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction

We drove around the mountain today looking for a good place to observe the conjunction and the only spot with a reasonable view of the southwest without trees or mountains is the back deck at the Boarding House. There are likely other favorable spots like the 9th hole...

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A new solar cycle

Our Sun goes through a roughly 11 year cycle in which the number of sunspots and overall activity waxes and wanes. Astronomers have been observing this phenomenon for over a hundred years. We are entering cycle 25 based upon direct observations but cycles for the past...

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Mars, meteors and a conjunction

After several attempts at getting a good shot of Mars with a new camera, I managed to capture a so-so image last week. You can see the south polar ice cap and portions of Syrtis Major, the dark band just shout of the equator. Due to atmospheric turbulence caused by...

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Buzzard attack!

I was working in the observatory last week and looked and saw what looked like a large flock of buzzards circling. After a couple of minutes they all headed off to the south west. Do they migrate for the winter?

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If you haven't noticed already, Mars is making itself noticed in the southeast after sunset. Mars reaches opposition in October when in its roughly 26 month orbit around the Sun, it appears on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. Mars' orbit is elliptical like...

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See a comet!

This week is a great time to see comet NEOWISE. It's visible before sunrise (I saw it at 5:00 AM this morning) in the northeast and just after sunset (around 10PM) in the northwest. See links here and here for detailed finder charts and rise/set times. The helipad is...

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Comet NEOWISE 2020/F3

A comet visible to the naked eye is a rare occurrence. A comet approaching the Sun was recently discovered by NASA's NEOWISE satellite. Today is its closest approach to the Sun where it is heating up and brightening rapidly. Observers in Arizona have been able to...

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Bear and service berries

Mr. (or Mrs.) bear paid us a visit early Tuesday morning. There are four service berry trees around the house and they are loaded with ripe berries. I have been picking them - they taste like blueberries - or shaking the limbs to get them off so bears will leave them....

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