Monday, December 24, 2018

Comet Wirtanen II

Sandra and I observed Comet Wirtanen last night from our back yard in Hato. There was a about a 15 minute period of clear dark skies after sunset and before the moon rise. The comet was very close to the bright star Capella. As seen from Bonaire, the comet was a teeny bit to the lower right of Capella last night. When I had Capella centered in my 10x50 binoculars, the comet was half way to the edge of the field of view. 

Capella is super helpful in knowing where to look for the comet right now. The comet should be a bit to the lower left of Capella tonight. It looks like a pretty large dim fuzzy spot in the sky. If the sky is dark and clear enough that you can see M38, M36 and M37, also located in the constellation Auriga you'll be able to spot Comet Wirtanen. The surface brightness of the comet was more like that of M38 than the slightly brighter M36, and it covers a much larger area than these Messier objects.

Here is a screen shot from the free software, Stellarium. The red X shows where the comet will be tonight. The red dot shows where it was last night.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sun set Moon rise

The Sun set at 6:14 and the Moon rose at 6:24, Saturday evening.

I was hoping for some cool sunset/moonrise action, but there were clouds along both horizons.

Here is the sun about to drop behind the clouds.

Morning Planets

Venus is up quite high in the East in the morning now. Jupiter and Mercury are low in the East, where Venus used to be, not too long ago.

In this picture Mercury is on the left and will be getting lower and lower each morning, relative to Jupiter.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Mars and Neptune

We saw Neptune and Mars in my 10x50 binoculars on Wednesday evening and checked out where Mars would move to on Thursday and Friday evenings.  Thursday got cloudy, but Friday was clear, whoo whoo!

It was clear last night so we observed Mars and Neptune in my telescope. Neptune had a pale robin egg blue tint, compared to the stars. Here's a photo. Mars is at the middle left. Neptune is at the lower right. A star, 81 Aquarius, is near the top.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Spot the planet Neptune this week.

There is a golden opportunity to see Neptune on Thursday or Friday evening.

Mars is zooming East, relative to the stars, at the moment.

As seen from Bonaire, Mars is a tiny bit west of Neptune on the evening of Dec. 6 and moves to a tiny bit east of Neptune on Dec. 7.

My experience has been that Neptune is visible in binoculars, (at least in my 10x50s) if you know where to look.

So having Mars point the way to Neptune is really cool. The two planets are close enough on these nights that I should be able to see them both at one time in a telescope. If it is clear here on Bonaire, I'll be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Comet Wirtanen

Comet Wirtanen is visible (with binoculars) in the evening sky. It will be passing through some well known winter constellations this month and may brighten quite a bit. Moonlight will be an issue at that time however.

The skies are dark right now, and it instantly popped into view when I swung my binoculars to the Eridanus/Cetis border. It looked like a big pale fuzz in my 10x50 binoculars. Because it passing close by and appears large, the light is spread out a bit and it doesn't necessarily look as bright at the numbers might lead one to believe. 

There is a great finder chart here: 

I was out by Lagoon last night and could see pretty much all the stars on this chart. The green blob in my picture is comet Wirtanen. It has a small tail, but you can't see it in this picture, and I couldn't see it in my binoculars either.

Moon, Venus and Spica Part 2

The Moon, Venus and Spica made a nice diagonal line in the morning sky today. (from lower left to upper right) 

One can use the Moon to try to spot Venus, even after the Sun is up.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Moon Venus Spica Monday AM

The Moon, Venus and Spica made an equilateral triangle early Monday morning. Venus is bottom right and Spica is top right. If it is still dark our when you read this, take a look to the East.

If you are further to the west than Bonaire, the Moon will gradually become lower in the sky compared to Venus and Spica. So the shape of the triangle will change. 

On Tuesday morning, they will make a straight line with the Moon on the bottom left, then Venus and then Spica at the top right.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Alimento Para el Alma

Every year our Spanish speaking TWR partners get together and produce a daily devotional book titled: Alimento Para El Alma. For 2018, we also produced a Papiamentu language version of the book for the ABC islands. We still have a few left, by the way.

The 2019 edition of APA is now available. We won't be doing a Papiamentu version for 2019, but Bonaire is still represented. The front cover features one of my Bonaire flamingo photos and the back cover tells about the new 800AM transmitter here on Bonaire. You can learn about APA and even order a copy at: In the USA, they cost $7.50.

Audio and print versions of the Spanish APA devotionals are also available each day online at,2  (the Papiamentu version is also available at

If you don't speak Spanish, you can still enjoy the book. You can download each day's devotional and then translate it online. Here is how my favorite translator,
 renders the back cover of the book.

"From Bonaire Netherlands Antilles, the island of the flamingos, broadcasts Trans World Radio."
That's how RTM transmissions started in Bonaire.  Since the 1960s and from this Caribbean island, the message of Faith and Hope has been transmitted continuously.  We dedicate the presentation of this 17th edition of Alimento Para El Alma to celebrate the new power of this station that will now reach thousands of kilometers to the countries of the Caribbean and the continent of Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond.  Millions of people are being reached daily with Bible messages.
One of the attractions of Bonaire are the flamingos so beautiful in their color and majestic in their bearing.  They extract their food from the water contained in some parts of the island.  In the water is life.  Also the high salinity water in that region allows the message to spread further.  "The water of Life is Jesus and whoever drinks it will no longer have spiritual thirst.   The human soul feeds on the water of life that is born in the heart of Jesus for salvation.
That is RTM mission and from the book you now hold in your hands.  Thank you for preferring to use it this year.


Milky Way over Bonaire

The moon is waning and I'm hoping for some clear skies so we can enjoy the bright winter stars. This morning was clear and Venus was really bright in the East.

Back in September I made this image of the summer Milky Way setting over Kralendijk. You can also see the four TWR towers on the horizon. You'll probably need to look at this full size to see all the stars.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Then and Now

 Here is a photo of the first TWR Bonaire office, back in the early 1960s.  When the current Hato offices and studios were finished in the late 60's, the original office and studio buildings were converted into housing.

Below is a photo of what it looks like today, complete with freshly mowed "lawn."

By the way, there is still a nice old style VW Beetle running around here on Bonaire.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

October "showers" bring November weeds.

It continues to be pretty rainy here on Bonaire. But the last couple days have been dry enough to do some grass cutting.

Kevin Baker and i mowed at the TWR houses in Playa Pariba, Jonas and I mowed in Hato, and here are a couple shots of Lionel mowing in our satellite antenna paddock.

I had thought about washing the car on Saturday, but was glad i hadn't when Saturday night found me again driving on wet roads. What i did do was wash the headlight lenses, so that i could see where i was going at night.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Heavy Rains = Clean Air

The rains yesterday seemed to have washed all the dust out of the skies. There was a super awesome green flash (like 10 on a scale of 1-10) yesterday evening.

This photo was taken shortly before the green flash while I was on my way to try to get a picture of Scorpius, Jupiter and Mercury hanging over the Slave Huts. 

When I got to White Slave, the mosquitoes were scary fierce (like 11 on a scale of 1-10) and I got out of there as fast as I could.

I did get Scorpius, Jupiter and Mercury from the downtown waterfront. Jupiter was down really near the horizon by the time I got there.  You'll need to look at the photos full size to see the planets and stars.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Rainy Rainy Day

We have rain!  Kind of reminded me of the movie, Twister, where a Cow comes sailing across the road and they say, "we have debris!"

Some weather came through a bit after noon, with heavy rain, lightning, and a reported water spout to the west. The streets downtown are completely flooded. I couldn't even see the speed bumps on Kaya P. Silie. Had to downshift to second as I plowed through the water that flooded the length of the street. This picture is by the yacht harbor, where the water from the stink pond sometimes comes across.

The radar map is from the Curacao weather center,

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Shimarukus in November

Went on an early morning bike ride around the North end of Bonaire, before the men's breakfast at the International Bible Church. I was surprised to see some Shimaruku trees with fruit on them! I think of Shimarukus as being a late January type thing.

It was a good excuse to stop and take a picture. Actually, i feel worse when i stop than if i were to just keep going. When i get near home, i ease off the pace some, so i can "cool down" a bit. Then i feel ok when i stop.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Mondi Mud Frogs

Was just outside tonight so that he dog could have a final pee. Aren't you glad i shared that? 
The Mondi mud frogs are croaking up a storm tonight. We had 2.5 inches of rain today, (6.3cm) which is a lot for Bonaire. More and more mondi is being swept up by housing developments, but the song of the frogs can still be heard on the night breezes after a heavy rain.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Moon and Venus for September

The sunset Tuesday evening, here on Bonaire, was one of the best I've seen in a long time. The skies were spectacular as I was driving past the airport on my way South. Hopefully others will post some pictures of the sunset at its peak.
By the time I arrived at Red Slave, the colors were only a dim glimmer of what they had once been. But it was now dark enough that Venus and the Moon were visible, which was the image that I had been hoping for.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Skinny Moon Tonight

The New Moon was yesterday afternoon, so we made sure to be out looking for a skinny crescent moon this evening.
Fortunately the skies have been very clear the last couple days, so we were able to watch as it drifted down to the horizon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Papiamentu language is now on TWR360

I've written about TWR's online media portal from time to time.  Well, a new language has just joined the roster, Papiamentu.

We printed 8000 copies of the Alimento Pa E Alma daily devotional book, and they are almost all gone. However these devotionals are now available online.

But wait, there’s more! Not one, but three Papiamentu programs can now be found on the TWR360 Web site. They are: Mi a Disidí, Muhé di Speransa and Alimento Pa E Alma.

Just go to and click on Languages on the main page, and then click on Papiamentu.

You’ll then see current episodes of the three programs. If you then click on Ministerio I Igleseianan, you’ll see a link to the main page of each of the three programs.

For Mi a Disidí and Alimento pa E Alma, in addition to listening to the audio, you can get a pdf file with the text.

There is a new Alimento Pa E Alma episode for each day of the week. It matches the one in the printed devotional book, and on the radio.  There are three new Mi a Disidí episodes per week.

We’re still tweaking things, like: the Mi a Disidí spelling needs fixing on the title page, and Muhé Di Speransa too.

Coming soon are some Bible studies by Pastor Petrona called Awa Bibu.

There are TWR360 apps for Android and iOS devices too. On an iPhone, if you click on the little picture of the globe in the top right corner of the main screen, you'll get a list of languages that includes Papiamentu. On an Android phone, the first thing I saw when I launched the app was a list of languages that did not include Papiamentu. I then clicked around randomly at the bottom of that list of languages and a "home" type screen came up that has the same little map of the world at the top right corner that appears on the iOS home screen. I clicked on the little map and got a list of languages that does include Papiamentu.

And let me give a big thank you to the Francees and Senchi families for giving us the music heard on Mi a Disidí and Alimento Pa E Alma.

Please feel free to share this information about Papiamentu on TWR360 to anyone that you think might be interested.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Planets on Parade

Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are forming a nice line across the Bonaire sky. I tried taking some pictures Friday evening.

Last time i did this was in 2003, when Mars was a tiny bit closer to the Earth. My 2003 pix came out better than these, so I think i'll have to get out there and try try again.

But even these blurry pix show more detail than i could see in the telescope eyepiece the other night.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Space Station and Venus

The International Space Station was visible from Bonaire on Wednesday and Thursday evenings this week. On Wednesday, it passed quite close to Venus. In this video, Venus is the bright object to the right of the four palm trees. The ISS pops into view to the left of Venus at about 5 seconds into the video clip. The ISS gets quite close to Venus and then they both disappear behind clouds. The ISS emerges from the clouds first, and then finally Venus is visible again. The light down low on the left side among the tree trunks is an airplane headed to the Flamingo Airport.

Here is a link to the file on YouTube.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Moon and Planets Tuesday Evening

The sky was pretty clear tonight, so I zoomed to the beach and snapped the Moon, Venus, Regulus, and Mercury making a nice line in the sky.

The five stars to the right and upper right of Regulus form the Sickle, which is also the head of Leo the lion.

Moon and Venus on Monday night

The Moon was a little below Venus last night. It was a nice view. 
Tonight the Moon is to the upper left of Venus. If you start at the Moon, pass through Venus, that line will continue to the star Regulus and then on to Mercury.
Here is the view from last night.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Moon, Planets and Milky Way

The super skinny Moon will be right next to Mercury tonight, at least as seen from Bonaire. (if the skies are clear) Mercury is to the left of the Moon. Venus shines up above the Mercury-Moon pair. The Moon will move up closer to Venus by Sunday night, July 15.
Here is a Milky Way panorama I shot last week after the rains cleared the dust out of the skies for a day or two.  Not sure how it will look downsized here.  The original file would print about four feet wide at 300 dots per inch. If I ever shoot this again, I'll try getting closer to the huts so they don't end up so teeny tiny in the image.
That's Mars coming up to the right of the red light on the horizon.  The red light at the top of a radar tower.  The Southern Cross is at the far right.  The Northern Cross is at the far left.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Kibrahacha Trees 2018

I shot a zillion Kibrahacha tree photos over the last two days. I haven't even inspected them all yet. Here in no particular order, is a short selection of images so far.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Kibrahachas Are on the Way

Following the big rains on Sunday, we've been eagerly anticipating the blooming of the Kibrahacha trees.

There is a lot of yellow on the hills of Sabadeco and the ones east of Antriol. I haven't been up north but hopefully those trees will all bloom too. I think tomorrow will be awesome.

Right now the flowers haven't quite popped yet.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Vesta July 2

We had 1.75 inches of rain on Sunday, the first real good rain in months. It may have washed some of the Sahara dust out of the sky because the sky was pretty clear Monday night, at least in the South where we wanted to see the Milky Way. Most of the rest of the sky was murky.  I never did see the North star for example.

But we were able to see, from west to east: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

Here is a shot of the summer Milky Way showing where the asteroid Vesta has moved to. That is a cloud at the top left.  This is a much wider shot than the one I posted a week or so ago.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Another look at Vesta from June 18

Here is a wider view of the Milky Way, were the asteroid Vesta was hanging out last Monday. I labeled a bunch of the cool things that we were looking at with the binoculars.

I also drew a red line to about where Vesta should be tonight

Oops - That bright blob labeled Jupiter is really Saturn!

The Pipe Nebula is a dark nebula created by foreground dust that is obscuring the background stars. If you look at this whole image upside down, like you would be seeing it in Australia, you'll see that the pipe forms the head of the Kiwi figure.

I use the pipe nebula to gauge how clear the sky is. If I can make out the pipe shape with my naked eye, the "seeing" is as good as it gets here.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Asteroid Vesta

The second largest asteroid, Vesta, is "close" to the Earth right now, as it orbits the Sun. Kind of like Mars will be at the end of July. They say that it can just barely be detected with the naked eye right now. Well, the sky was clear last Monday, so we zoomed out to a dark site to see what we could see. 
The moonlight was interfering until it set around 23:30. Then the clouds swarmed in. So we didn't get to see Vesta with the naked eye. We observed it in binoculars though. I snapped a couple pictures with the zoom lens at about 200mm. You'll need to click on the thumbnails to see much of anything in these images. 
The darker picture is a 58 second long exposure and shows fainter stars than we could see in the binoculars. The lighter picture is 96 seconds long and is starting to show the Milky Way star clouds. By now, Vesta will have moved towards the upper right side of the frame. If we ever get a cloud free night, I'll want to check it out again.
Oh, and that clump of stars to the upper left of Vesta is M23.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mini Moon

The moon was "new" yesterday afternoon, so I was curious to see if I could see a moon sliver tonight. There was quite a bit of haze, but no clouds, and I was able to spot it. The Moon is a little easier to see in the photos than it was with the naked eye.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Sunrise Video Clip

Here is a short time-lapse sequence of the sunrise this morning.


I went out this am to get a sunrise sequence, based on yesterday's scouting trip.

I'll eventually have a 4 second time-lapse video. Here is an individual frame.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Moon Pix

While I was out taking pictures of Jupiter and Zubenelgenubi last week, I also took a few of the moon. I used the phone and a pair of binoculars on Wednesday night and the telescope and a camera on Thursday night.

I guess it is no surprise that the telescope and camera did better, but it was sure fun to mess with the phone and binoculars. Sometime I'll have to try the phone and the telescope.

With some work, both night's images could be made better, but there would probably always be a difference because of the difference in the raw images..