Monday, March 31, 2008

IBCB on the Move

The International Bible Church of Bonaire is moving to a new location. After calling the activities building of Trans World Radio home for nine years, the IBC is going to be having its Sunday morning services and Friday evening kids club in the auditorium at the SGB or local high school.

The IBC is planning to build its own church building in the Hotel Row / southern Hato area. The church has a building fund goal of two hundred thousand guilders for a user friendly, but not elaborate facility. The building fund stands at about thirty thousand guilders right now.

The IBC has a new Internet presence too, at You can visit the site, but there is no actual content there as of this morning. That will probably change soon.

The picture I've posted here shows the location of the church's new home at the Aula, or high school auditorium, relative to some other Bonaire landmarks, like Cultimara and the big satellite dishes of Flamingo TV. You can click on the picture to see it full screen. The Sunday morning is at 9 am and visitors are always welcome.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Reworked Comet Holms Picture

I posted a picture of comet Holmes and the California nebula back on March 10. I've played around with that picture a bunch more since then, while the moon was bright during the non-stargazing part of the month.
I've come up with another rendition of that picture that I like better.
But I'm not completely satisfied yet, so I'll continue to experiment with that picture as I learn more about astro-photo processing.

The star at the lower left corner of the image has a fuzzy area by it. It is IC348 and shows up well on this renditionof the picture.
The moon is gone from the evening sky now, but we haven't been out observing yet. Maybe this weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dog Update

I haven't posted a puppy update for quite some time. The black dog in the foreground, without a collar, is the 9 month old puppy. The black dog with the collar is the 9 year old and the brown and grey/black one is 6 years old.
They love chasing the ball. Actually one dog chases the ball, and the second dog chases and attacks the first dog. That's why their collars are off. Grabbing another dog's collar is considered cheating. It's much better sportsmanship to just grab a mouthful of neck.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Southern Cross in March

If one stays up late enough, the Southern Cross comes up in the far south. This picture shows the southern cross at the lower left corner of the picture. It looks like a kite, or diamond, with three blue-white stars at the sides and bottom, and a yellow one at the top. The dark area at the corner of the picture, to the lower left of the Southern Cross, is a dark nebula called the Coal Sack. Sunday night was the first time that Pierre observed it from Bonaire, and the second for me. Now Pierre has seen it really well from Namibia and Chile, but that's another story.

The Eta Carina nebula and some big open clusters are towards the upper right of the picture.
The nebula is reddish in color. It looked absolutely amazing Sunday night in Pierre's 22x60 Takahashi binoculars. I liked the view even better than the big Orion nebula. Those large star clusters were naked eye objects Sunday night. Bob Fitzgerald used to call them "lights in the sky" and that's certainly what they resembled that night.

I didn't do that much post processing to this picture, as opposed to the one of the comet that I posted a day or so ago. I stretched the contrast of that one like crazy to make the comet and nebula show up. This part of the sky looked great right out of the camera, which is cool, since it looked so awesome live.

There is some haze at the bottom of the image that I could probably clean up. I'm hoping to image this part of the sky some more in the months to come, so I probably won't invest too much time in this picture... unless we have cloudy nights and I get the star gazing stir crazies.

March Milky Way Madness

I usually get excited about the Milky Way a little later in the year, when Scorpius, Sagitarius, and Scutum are high in the sky. But this past Sunday, the Milky Way running from Orion, on down to the Southern Cross was just beautiful. Pierre and I were set up out at our South End Roadside Observatory. Since he and Marlies are heading back to Switzerland soon, this was probably Pierre's last moonless observing session on Bonaire. And boy was it a good one.

This picture, a combination of two shots made with a 85mm lens, shows a part of the Milky Way that was running a little to the East of Canus Major. I've labled some stars and lots of star clusters, most of which we've observed in Pierre's big binoculars. There are a few objects that turned up in the photo that I'll still need to chase down in the sky some day.

There is a larger version of this image here, for those of you who have a fast Internet connecton and want to see a little more detail.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Comet Holmes (one last time)

Well, maybe for the last time. Comet Holmes has been in the vicinity of the California Nebula for a while now. We finally had a clear dark night last night so I could try to capture the pair.

These objects are quite faint, as seen from Bonaire. If we head to a dark site we can just barely see the comet in 10x70 binoculars. I've never seen the California Nebula, except in pictures.

The skies were about as good as it gets on Bonaire last night. Pierre did a lot of binocular observing and I shot a bunch of pictures Sunday night, at our South End roadside observatory. I'll post some others over the next few days. And then I'll probably revisit these images in the future as my astro photo processing skills improve.

The California Nebula is the long red thing. The comet is the round thing to its immediate right.

American Airlines Fare Sale

The Bonaire Insider sent me an email alert that American Airlines is running a Spring fare sale to the Caribbean that includes travel to Bonaire.

You have to book your tickets by March 18 and travel between April 1 and May 22.

So if "time is money" is your motto, you may still prefer the direct Continental and Delta flights. But if cost is a consideration, these American Airlines fares just might be the hot setup.

Friday, March 07, 2008

800AM Listeners Visit Bonaire

There were two cruise ships in port, here on Bonaire, the other day. We had four groups of visitors stop by the TWR studios. These two guys met on their ship, through their wives, got to talking and discovered that even though they had lived in different countries before emigrating to Canada, they had something in common. Both had listened to TWR Bonaire back in their younger years. So when they landed on Bonaire, they made it their mission to try and locate the station that was an important part of youth.
Peter, on the left, originally from Guyana, and Kennedy, originally from Barbados, shared with us many fond memories of radio listening during their growing up years.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Morning Moon and Planets

Hooray, I woke up in time to see the Moon, Mercury, and Venus shining brightly this morning at 6am.At first, it looked like there might be too many clouds, but eventually the clouds parted enough for me to see the moon and planets shining among the stars of Capricornus.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Moon and Planet show Wed. AM

Tomorrow morning, about an hour before sunrise, the Moon, Venus, and Mercury will make a nice little triangle pattern in the eastern sky. It was clear this morning and I could see Venus from inside out house, pretty high above the horizon at 6:15. A slender crescent moon was hovering above Venus.
Based on what I saw this morning, it should be a nice grouping tomorrow. I just hope the sky is clear, something that one can't count on this time of year.
I'll probably be observing by 6 am or slightly earlier, because a darker sky will make little Mercury easier to spot. The moon and Venus will be easy. Mercury might require binoculars to locate at first.
The further north you live, the closer to the horizon this grouping will happen. It is high enough to be easily visible from here on Bonaire, hooray.