Watching the Super Lunar Eclipse

The lunar eclipse of 28/09/2015 from La Palma. Credit: Sheila Crosby
September 29, 2015

Well, I saw it! It was cloudy at low altitudes, so I was glad I’d joined the bus going up to Pico de La Cruz with a group of about 16 people from Astrofest. Since buses get a lot more expensive after midnight, the organiser was persuaded to have the bus drop us off shortly after 11 pm, so it would be “home” by midnight, even though it meant a…

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Tonight’s Lunar Eclipse

The Moon blood red because it's completely inside the Earth's shadow.
September 27, 2015

The Canarian Tourist Board will be live streaming tonight’s lunar eclipse at http://www.thebestclimateintheworld.com/geminidas Just to remind you, the moon is at almost its closest approach to the Earth, so it’s will be a supermoon – noticeably bigger than usual. There are two parts to the Earth’s shadow: the penumbra is the outer part, and the umbra is the much darker inner part. Penumbral Eclipse begins 28 Sep, 00:11:47 The penumbral…

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San Jose soap box race

San Jose soap box race
September 22, 2015

When I heard that the road outside our house was going to be closed for a go-kart race, I was picturing loads of very noisy karts snarling past. Frankly, I was congratulating myself that it was due to finish at 7pm. One year the regular rally went on until midnight, and the noise drove me crazy. But this was great – motorless karts rolling down the hill, some cheap and…

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Blood Moons

The Moon blood red because it's completely inside the Earth's shadow.
August 21, 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse April 15th 2014, as seen from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter. SkyCenter.Arizona.edu In the early hours of September 28th the moon will plunge into the Earth’s shadow and turn blood red. It’s a perfectly normal event, produced by the combined orbits of the earth and moon and the effect of the Earth’s atmosphere bending the sunlight like a lens, but it’s dramatic and spooky, and if you didn’t…

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How to photograph meteors, including the Perseids on August 14th

A Geminid meteor over the Caldera de Taburiente, captured by Christoph Marlin
August 9, 2015

The Perseid meteor shower is already here, and it will reach its peak on August 12th as the Earth passes through the dust left by comet. If you want to photograph shooting stars, use a wide angle lens with a large aperture, set the ISO to 800 or higher, and use a tripod. It’s no good chasing meteors around the sky – chose one spot and stick to it. It…

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Painting a telescope

Painting the tower of the Swedish Solar Telescope, Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma
August 7, 2015

Yesterday I showed a group around the WHT, and I noticed that the Swedish Solar Telescope is being repainted. (Follow the link for more about the telescope.)

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