Autumn Arrives and Adventures in Astronomical Observing

Autumn arrived mid-week here in the Heart of America, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at the weather forecast:  Mid 90s and moderately high humidity.  Also with the change of the seasons, I retired my FitBit Charge (or rather it retired itself by falling apart) and upgraded to a Samsung Gear Fit2.  The new fitness tracker is spurring me on to be more active, although my sleep pattern hasn’t improved much. I can safely blame work (10 pm to 4 am conference call on a Saturday night/Sunday morning) and astronomy, which requires, well, dark skies, for my reduced snooze time.

Speaking of astronomy, I’ve upgraded, finally after two years of paralysis analysis, from the Meade ETX 90, gifted to me by my father in October 2010 (also, unsurprisingly the birth of this blog site), to an Orion SkyQuest XX14G.  Continue reading “Autumn Arrives and Adventures in Astronomical Observing”

Autumn Evening Colors, Pink Sunrises and Royal Blue Days

Last night after grabbing a quick dinner and running some errands, my husband and I made a quick trip through Mount Muncie Cemetery just before sunset.  I took several snapshots with my smartphone, and liked this one the best:

Fall colors at Muncie CemeteryThis morning, after commuting in the pre-dawn darkness and parking almost underground, I emerged to find this pink sunrise greeting me on this fabulous Friday morning:

20141017_072039And in honor of the World Series bound Royals (first game is here in Kansas City next Tuesday evening) enjoy this snapshot from one of my many lunch walks around the Country Club Plaza, where all the fountains are overflowing with Royal blue:

20141015_120842Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunset, Sunrise, New Moon, Old Stars

With the return to normal time (sans daylight savings time), the commute home last night included a typical Midwestern autumn sunset.   Clear blue orange sky streaked with white vapor trails of the jets filled with people from the coasts who hop over the Heart of America and rarely pause to visit.   I kept my eye out for the waxing moon’s sliver, since the new moon occurred around midnight Saturday.  After the sun set I finally spied it, much higher in the sky than I anticipated.

Terry had dinner nearly ready when I returned from my errand to WalMart where I invested more money in Hallmark than I do the rest of the year combined.  Terry had prepared pan friend pork chops with some glazed carrots that were yummy.   I ate my sourdough as an appetizer, although three slices may have been a bit much.  We retired to the great room to watch the new episode of House, after which Terry entered his food coma and I read myself to a similar somnolent state.

When I woke up this morning, I realized I had forgotten to contact my father, who was on the road to Virginia.    My uncle had remembered to call his brother last night and confirmed he’d finally stopped forging east in Coventry, Virginia, only about three hours shy of their home.  I call him this morning during my commute to work and we chatted for a few minutes as he once again headed east into the sunrise over the mountains in Virginia.  I used the same sunrise to continue reading until the van arrived at work.

Another aspect of the change in time, I don’t see as many stars when I leave the house in the morning.  By 6:15, the eastern sky is already a pale yellow, and I can barely see Sirius or the stars in Orion’s Belt.  Some stratus clouds were also interfering with stargazing this morning.