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...

Mars!

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...

New moon over the Balsams

The waxing crescent phase of the moon was just over one day past new last night (April 24th). As the moon draws away from the sun more of its surface will be illuminated and it will rise later in the day. In about 27 days it sill be full, rise at sunset and set at...

Fireball!

Last month I was lucky to witness one of the more exciting events in the sky – a daytime meteor or fireball. Fireballs are just very bright meteors – typically brighter than Venus in the night sky or bright enough to be seen in daylight. At our home in...

Tiny Mercury and Goliath Sun

We got a good view of the transit from the parking deck of my office in Atlanta. Lots of folks came out to take a look and the clouds were mostly thin. There were several “wows” from viewers which is something that amateur astronomers strive for but also...