Me with my C8 taken by my grendnaughter Coley

Me with my C8 taken by my granddaughter Coley

My name is Bob Moler, I am an amateur astronomer who’s been observing the heavens for over 60 years. I’m currently living near Traverse City, Michigan.  I have no special training, nor have ever taken an astronomy course for credit.  However, I’ve taught college level 101 astronomy courses. I’ve had astronomy related radio programs on Interlochen Public Radio since 1974, and have produced the current Ephemeris program since 1975.

This blog contains, mainly, the transcripts of those radio programs, plus other posts.  A link to the posts on this blog are found on Twitter if you follow me: @robertcmoler.

Ephemeris Radio Schedule Monday – Friday eastern time:

6:19 a.m. & 8:19 a.m. – News stations

WICA 91.5 FM, Traverse City
WLNM 89.7 FM, Manistee
WHBP 90.1 FM, Harbor Springs, Petoskey

6:59 a.m.- Classical stations

WIAA 88.7 FM Interlochen
& 94.7 FM, Traverse City
WIAB 88.5 FM, Mackinaw City

Audio versions of the Ephemeris programs, posted a week at a time, are located on my monthly website.

GTAS LogoI’m a founding member of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society, which was established in 1982, and am currently the society’s newsletter editor.  We generally meet on the first Friday of the month at Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H. Rogers Observatory.  All are welcome free of charge.  The society’s website (www.gtastro.org) has information and our outreach schedule.  We have at least seven monthly star parties at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (April to October) each year, plus 30+ events elsewhere in the region.

ssa-badgeI’ve also become a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador as of January 2014.  So I am available to talk to groups and schools about space and astronomical topics.  Contact me via http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/profiles/Bob_Moler.htm or use the contact form below.

However, opinions expressed on this blog are my own and not that of NASA or JPL.

schoolshipsFrom the spring of 2015 through 2019 I’ve been a volunteer instructor for the Inland Seas Educational Association.  I taught seamanship, water quality and plankton on the schooner Inland Seas (left) out of Suttons Bay generally in the fall and the schooner Manitou (right) out of Traverse City in the spring.  The Manitou is owned by the Traverse Tall Ship Company. I’ve had to stop my teaching activities due to a stroke I’d suffered in January 2020, which affected my left side and compromised my balance. I can’t operate on the ships without constantly holding on to something. I miss it terribly.

For a more complete bio, click here.

Contact me

  1. Michael Ney
    January 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Hello Bob Moler,

    You are looking at big stars in the skies, but missed the little one in the “message” field: the name and email are marked with stars obligatory field [Required fields are marked *] while the message itself is not obligatory. Very funny 

    First time on your website. You seem to providing valuable information, but 1/8 (and 1/9) entries are NOTABLY missing, such as when the Tucson shooting occurred. The whole reason I came to your website is to find the Orion position for those days. May I ask why you did not make any comments on those days? Or to put it in other way: where was Orion on those days in relation to Tucson, Washington D.C., London and other important points? Would appreciate your response.

    • January 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      Ephemeris is a week day program, so I have posts Monday through Friday. So there are no Ephemeris posts on the weekend.

  2. Michael Ney
    January 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Bob, I did not expect to write any immediate follow up, but I see that my message was posted online awaiting moderation as if there was any forum. Moreover, my name and email address were pre-typed in the appropriate fields in case I would want to write another email – or in case I will come back to the website so it would recognize me, correct? What for? That’s very bad idea, Bob! I am using public computers and ignoring millions of Americans who do the same is always insulting. I do not see how to remove my name and email from your fields and I assumed that my message is strictly private. If not, please manually delete my name and email.

    • January 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      First posts by commenters are held as pending for review. Once approved, and yours were, you should not have any delays in the future.
      I also delete comments with URLs that point to commercial sites especially astrological and sex sites.

  3. Carol Adams
    September 20, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Just found your blog. Very helpful! Just moved out into the county and can actually see the stars. Renewed my interest. Thank you.

  4. Candice Ludlow
    October 1, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Hi Bob, It’s Candice at IPR. I can’t find your Ephemeris for tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 2). My email is candice.ludlow@interlochen.org.

  5. January 13, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    What a wonderful resource. Thank you for this site!

  6. John Hanson
    January 21, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Question: When we’re told what time the sun rises, is it when the first rays come over the horizon, at its midpoint, or when the sun is totally up? Thanks.

    • January 22, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Sunrise is defined as when the very top of the Sun appears on a sea horizon. Conversely sunset is when the last bit of Sun disappears below a sea horizon. So if your horizon is cluttered with hills or trees, its going to be a while before the Sun peeks above those. The actual time of rising and setting celestial objects depend on the observer’s location. See my post of a week ago. https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2019/01/15/01-15-2019-ephemeris-welcome-819-a-m-listeners/. The air pressure and temperature also can influence the Sun rise and set times by up to 20 seconds. The atmosphere causes objects on the horizon to appear higher in the sky than they really are. For instance at sunset when the bottom of the solar disk touches the horizon, the entire disk is already below the horizon geometrically.

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