Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Grand Traverse Astronomical Society’

09/23/2022 – Ephemeris – Weather prospects look dim for a star party tomorrow night, but we won’t know for sure until we get closer

September 23, 2022 Comments off

Update: The Star Party has been Canceled

Here’s a deep dark secret:  Ephemeris programs are recorded the Sunday night for the week beginning Tuesday through the following Monday. However, the posting of the scripts here is generally done the night before the air date. From this vantage point, with the weather forecast not changing for the past week, it looks like we’ll be greeted with not only clouds but rain. The operative words in the post below are “weather permitting”, Which explains the headline.

This is Ephemeris for Friday, September 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 7:38, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:32. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:54 tomorrow morning.

Weather permitting, a star party will be held tomorrow night, Saturday, September 24th at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Dune Climb starting at 8 pm. The star party will be hosted by the Park Rangers and members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS), who will bring their telescopes to view the heavens, including the planets Jupiter and Saturn plus the wonders of the summer Milky Way. The telescopes will be set up in the parking area closest to the dune. Saturn will be available immediately, while we wait for Jupiter to rise higher. As it gets darker, more and more wonders of the Milky Way will be seen. They include star clusters and nebulae, clouds of gas and dust from which stars form, and which are expelled in the process of star death.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

If you are not sure if it will be clear enough to hold the star party, please call the park rangers at 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision. Alternately, gtastro.org, the GTAS website, will also display the status of the star party, and if it is canceled by 5 pm on Saturday the 24th.

Dune Climb Setup

This in the beginning of setup for the October 21, 2017 star party at the dune climb. Taken early, looking to the south-southwest, while there was enough light. The dune blocks up to 12 degrees from the southwest to northwest, but the rest of the horizon is quite low. Note the lone trees on the hill right of the top of the ladder. They are my targets to align my telescope’s finder. Once, while performing the alignment, a fog bank tumbled over that ridge and wiped it out for a time. It was eventually a good night.

We’ve had more than our share of iffy weather at or travelling to the site. A good share of GTAS members live in the Traverse City area, some 30 miles east of the park. More than a few of us, over the years, have driven through rain showers, on our way to the park, for a successful star party. Here’s a link to another night with iffy weather, this time with a lunar eclipse.

07/02/2021 – Ephemeris – Virtual star party to be held tonight

July 2, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, July 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:02. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:14 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society hold a virtual star party starting at 10 pm tonight via Zoom app on the Internet. Jerry Dobek, professor of astronomy at Northwestern Michigan College, will host the event with the 16-inch telescope and an imager, but only if it’s clear in Traverse City. It should feature a look at Venus to start. There will be other objects visible in the darkening twilight, such as binary stars and a dramatic pair with contrasting colors. As it gets darker, we might spot clusters of stars including the Great Hercules Globular Cluster, a veritable popcorn ball of stars. Also, bright clouds of gas expelled by dying stars. Instructions to join the meeting and a link can be found on the society’s website, www.gtastro.org.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

01/08/2021 – Ephemeris – There will be a virtual star party tonight

January 8, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, January 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 1 minute, setting at 5:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:31 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a virtual star party at 8 pm tonight. It is via the Zoom app for smartphones, tablets or computers. Instructions and a link can be found on the society’s website gtastro.org. It will be hosted by Dr. Jerry Dobek, astronomy professor at Northwestern Michigan College. During a virtual star party the images are produced real time or near real time using a telescope mounted CCD camera. That is if it’s clear. If cloudy we’ll have a virtual, virtual star party using recently acquired images captured for his astronomy students. A couple of months ago we got a tantalizing look at the Great Orion Nebula as it rose in moonlight. Now it’s higher in the sky with no Moon. It should be spectacular!

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

01/04/2019 – Ephemeris – A talk about astrophotography tonight at the GTAS by Dan Dall’olmo

January 4, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 4th. The Sun will rise at 8:20. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:15. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:55 tomorrow morning.

Tonight’s first meeting of the year of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 8 p.m. will feature an illustrated talk by Dan Dall’olmo who has been quite successful in the field of astrophotography, or photography of the heavens. My own introduction to astrophotography was as a teenager in the day of file and darkroom chemicals. Things have changed a lot since then. Starting at 9 p.m. if it’s clear there will be a star party featuring the dark winter sky wonders including the Great Orion Nebula, a star nursery. Our next meeting, February first will be our annual telescope clinic to help new and otherwise frustrated telescope owners understand and use their telescopes.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Frame grabs

From a time lapse video by Dan Dall’olmo showing the comet motion as it passed by the Earth the weekend of December 14-16, 2018.
The video is on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/W4GvtPZOE9g

10/05/2018 – Ephemeris – All about telescopes for the gift giving season

October 5, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 5th. The Sun will rise at 7:45. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 7:15. The Moon, halfway from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:28 tomorrow morning.

We at the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society get asked a lot about what kind of telescope to get for their beginning astronomer, whether young or old. With the gift-giving season coming upon us, now is the time to plan ahead. This month’s meeting at 8 p.m. at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory there will be several types of telescopes there, including one of mine*. There is no right telescope, but there are lots of wrong telescopes, and its not always the telescope itself, but the mounting that’s the problem. Society members will show you what the various telescopes can do, what you need, and don’t need. What’s the best telescope for what price range.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

* I’m currently suffering from a sprained wrist, so I may not be able to bring in my 11″ Dobsonian telescope, but will bring in a much smaller (3″) telescope of similar design instead.

06/22/2018 – Ephemeris – Sun ‘n Star Party scheduled for tomorrow June 23

June 22, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:57. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 3:25 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow afternoon and evening will be what we call a Sun & Star Party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This event will be held at the Dune Climb. From 4 to 6 p.m., the Sun will be featured using two types of telescopes, one showing the sun’s photosphere in what we call white light, hoping the Sun will produce a sunspot of two, and another showing the chromosphere above it in the light of hydrogen giving a completely different view with possibly more activity. Starting at 9 p.m. will be a star party, actually really a planet party, viewing the planets Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, plus the Moon. There will be other objects visible in the deepening twilight.  The event is due to the cooperation of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society and the park rangers.

Update:  The Sun and Star Parties are subject to cancellation separately based on weather.  Check back to this here if there is a cancellation or call the park at 231-326-4700.  The park’s web page for this event is here.   If Saturday night star party is cancelled, some members of the society will hold their own observation session at the Dune Climb Sunday night.  Notification will be posted by 7 p.m. here if that event will take place.  We also invite anyone with a telescope and experienced in its use to join us.  For anyone who wants to have us look at their telescope or give them tips, come to our NMC Rogers observatory star parties which are listed on our society web site: http://www.gtastro.org. Those star parties are less hectic.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Dune Climb Setup

This in the beginning of setup for the October 21, 2917 star party at the dune climb. Taken early while there was enough light. The dune blocks up to 12 degrees from the southwest to northwest, but the rest of the horizon is quite low. Venus will be high enough to clear the dune for most of the evening.

Setting up my telescopes at the Dune Climb

My equipment at the Dune Climb on October 21, 2017. My 11″ Dobsonian is in the foreground. The tripod for my Celestron 8 is laying on the ground behind it yet to be set up.
I pointed the Dobsonian at a variety of deep sky objects, while the C8 was pointed to Saturn and tracking that night.

06/01/2018 – Ephemeris – Presentation tonight: Cosmic rays and the quiet Sun

June 1, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 1st. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 9:21, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:59. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 11:57 this evening.

Tonight at 8 p.m. at the June meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory, Observatory Director Jerry Dobek will be giving a talk on how the Earth is receiving more cosmic rays from outside the solar system now that the Sun is in its quiet phase. Cosmic rays are not like x-rays or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. They are particles, bare nuclei of atoms, some pretty heavy. They are a danger to airline crews who fly over the north pole daily. After the meeting, at 9 p.m. the society will host a star party to view the planets Venus and Jupiter. The observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.
43rd Anniversary of Ephemeris!

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

05/25/2018 – Ephemeris – Star party scheduled for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore May 26, 2018

May 25, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 25th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 9:15, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:04. The Moon, half way from first quarter to full, will set at 4:52 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow night May 26th there will be, weather permitting a star party at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this will take place at the Dune Climb. Telescopes will take over the parking lot closest to the Dunes The event starts at 9 p.m., while it’s still light out and the location can be found. The nearly full Moon will be first to be spotted, followed by Venus and Jupiter. The planet Jupiter’s four brightest moon will be seen along with its cloud bands. Starting at 9 p.m. there will be a short ranger talk, followed by an astronomer to explain what will be seen that night. The star party is made possible by the rangers of the park and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Dune Climb Setup

This is the beginning of setup for the October 21, 2017 star party at the dune climb. Taken early while there was enough light. The dune blocks up to 12 degrees from the southwest to northwest, but the rest of the horizon is quite low. Venus will be high enough to clear the dune for most of the evening.  The ladder is up to assemble the society’s 25 inch “Emmettron” Obsession Dobsonian telescope.  The telescope was overhauled including having the mirror aluminized and new encoders over the winter, thanks to Don Flegel our telescope wrangler.  Click to enlarge.  Photo by Bob Moler.

05/04/2018 – Ephemeris – Tonight I present Venus from the mists of time to today

May 4, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 4th. The Sun rises at 6:28. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 8:51. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:15 tomorrow morning.

The planet Venus is our evening star now. I’ve been talking about it on this program lately. Want to hear and see more? Tonight at 8 p.m. at the May meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory, I will be giving an illustrated talk: Venus from the mists of time to today. To the early Greeks it was two planets. To the Maya it was a calendar. In the 18th century it was a way to measure the size of the solar system. Today, it could be what our future looks like. After the meeting, at 9 p.m. the society will host a star party to view the planets Venus and Jupiter. The observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus section of the Dresden Codex

5 Pages of the Dresden Codex produced by the Maya tracking Venus’ appearances in the skies over the Yucatan. for 104 years. The Dresden Codex is one of only 4 surviving Mayan Codices.

09/29/2017 – Ephemeris – Last festival of the year for the GTAS – Acme Fall Fest tomorrow

September 29, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, September 29th. The Sun will rise at 7:38. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 7:26. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 1:59 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at the Acme Fall Festival tomorrow, that’s Saturday September 30th from 10 to 4 p.m. It will be held at Flintfields Horse Park on Bates Road, north of M 72. The society members will bring their telescopes which will be used to view the sun if it’s clear. There will also be exhibits of astronomical photos from NASA, professional and our own amateur astronomers. As the festival and star party year winds down and the school year begins members of the society can bring astronomy and space to the classroom. Plus the society is beginning to plan for next year. Contact the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society via email at info@gtastro.org for information or to set up a date and topic.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.