Wednesday, December 23, 2020


 I drove out to the TWR transmitter site today to do some work on the computers. When i got there i noticed that it was raining in town, which made the towers and TX hall pop nicely. So i grabbed my trusty i-Phone 6s and snapped away. Gotta love always having a camera in one's pocket.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Double Rainbow

 We have rain off and on every day, with sun in between.  I guess you could call it rainbow season.  We had a nice double rainbow on the morning of the 19th. Just got around to pulling it off of the camera this evening.


Jupiter and Saturn on Tuesday

 Here's what Jupiter and Saturn looked like Tuesday evening, more or less. They were a lot closer together on Monday. You'll probably need to look at this full size to split the planets, located in the conveniently placed notch in the tree.


Monday Rainbow

 I kept my telescope set up all week with a barbecue grill cover on it for rain protection. That way i could be good to go as soon as the Sun set each night. Last night had patches of clear sky with periodic rain clouds passing by. As soon as the sun got low enough, i took the covers off of the scope so that it could cool off. But i also ate my supper (veggie burgers) outside so that i could zoom over and cover it if a rain cloud came by. Sure enough, a cloud came along and dumped rain for maybe 10 minutes. In this picture you can see the covered scope in the foreground, and a nice rainbow as the rain approached our back yard. Check out the "grass" too. I'm mowing it every about other week.


Monday, December 21, 2020

SAturn and Jupiter Monday

 There were some rain clouds passing through, but we were able to observe Jupiter and Saturn with our naked eye. Saturn is more or less exactly to the right of Jupiter. Tomorrow, it will be to the lower right of Jupiter.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Saturn and Jupiter Sunday

 Jupiter and Saturn are very close together Sunday evening. I think it will be hard to separate them with the naked eye on Monday. This photo is the same scale as the ones from Friday and Saturday.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturn and Jupiter Saturday

It is pretty clear tonight. Jupiter and Saturn a bit closer. This picture is the same scale as the one from last night. If you look at it full size, you can just tell that Saturn is Saturn. I might have to shoot video and stack the frames to get a clearer view. Which i might or might not do... If you look at it full size you can (barely) see some of Jupiter's moons too.


Saturn and Jupiter closer on Friday

 Saturn and Jupiter were closer together Friday evening, duh. I increased the magnification some, probably to the level i'll keep it at for the next three days. This way it will be easy to see how much closer the planets get each night. These two photos are at the same scale. You can see that less of the Moon fits in the frame. The planets are low in the sky so there is atmospheric refraction visible when i look at them full size. There is a red fringe on one side of the planet and a green/blue fringe on the other side of the planet.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Saturn and Jupiter getting Closer

 Jupiter and Saturn are closing in on each other. They'll be closest Monday evening. They are already close enough to fit in the frame of a picture shot through my telescope. These two pictures are the same scale. It looks like Jupiter and Saturn about the same distance apart as the diameter of the Moon. If it stays clear I'm going to try collimating the scope to see if i can get rid of some coma that was very visible when I looked at the moons of Jupiter at 100% size. Or it may just be the result of the optics being on Bonaire for many years.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Thursday Time Lapse


In addition to starry nights, the clear skies here on Bonaire right now provided us a great green flash this evening. Here is a time-lapse made from the pictures i took at the TWR TX site on Thursday evening with a 24m lens. It shows more sky than the one i did on Friday with the 40mm lens.
As Orion's belt goes above the top of the towers, you can see the star Sirius coming up at the bottom of the right most tower. Procyon comes up between the two left towers towards the end of the clip.

Friday night time lapse.

 I haven't processed the time-lapse pictures i took at the TX site with a 24mm lens on Thursday night yet. I went back out on Friday and shot a sequence with a 40mm lens. There were more clouds on Friday, but one can still see Orion rise up between the towers. The belt and the sword are pretty easy to spot in the middle of the frame. You'll probably be able to see the stars better if you view it full size.


Friday, December 11, 2020

December Night Sky Wonders


December has some good star gazing opportunities. The sky here on Bonaire usually has good transparency when it is not bucketing down rain. Dec. 13/14 is the Geminid meteor shower and the new moon on the 14th. Dec. 21/22 is the Ursid meteor shower. They are best after midnight and will also not have much moon to contend with. I’ve found that the December meteors are the best ones of the year here. Or maybe we’re just out at night more in Dec….
Jupiter and Saturn are getting noticeably closer together in the evening sky. Be sure to watch them from night to night. They will be so close on the evening of Dec 21, that the naked eye might not be able to separate them. I sure hope it is clear here that night.
And, last but not least, there will be a total solar eclipse visible in South Argentina and South Chile on the 14th. Bonaire is too far north to see any of the eclipse, but it should still be pretty good in Montevideo, Uruguay, for our TWR partner there, I would think.
Here's a shot of the rainbow from last Monday.

Starry Nights

 It was quite clear Wednesday and Thursday evening, so on Thursday, I zoomed out to the TWR transmitter site to try to do a time lapse of Orion rising behind the antenna towers. I've got some 586 images to combine using LRTimelapse, which I'll try to get to over the weekend. Here is a shot from when i was setting up. I hadn't dialed in the focus yet and I was triggering the camera with the shutter button, instead of the intervalometer. But i like the colors in the sky during the "blue hour." The sky looked dark to the naked eye but a 10 sec. exposure lightened things up a lot. The Pleiades star cluster is at the upper left of the frame. Moving down and to the right, a little more than half way to the top of the nearest tower, you can see Taurus, which we call the "horns of the bull." Orion is still mostly below the horizon in the middle of the frame.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Rainy Days

 We returned to Bonaire on October 31.  It's that rainy time of the year here on Bonaire. Had about 1.6" the morning after we got here. Had 2.2+ inches on Friday. There is no place for the water to go, so lots of roads get covered over with water. That's fun unless you are on a bicycle or scooter. One can't see the potholes under the water.

It rained so hard during church this am that we couldn't hear the pastor. At least one person started listening to the Facebook Live feed on their phone. One could hear the pastor fine on that.

These shots are from in front of our house in Hato.

Note that some people have their boats strategically placed by the road in case it REALLY floods.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Moon Planets June 7-9

The Moon, Jupiter and Saturn are close together in the southern sky.

They make a nice line Sunday night/ Monday morning. 
And they will make a fairly small triangle Monday night/Tuesday morning.
(We spotted the moon closing in on the planets at about 3am on Sunday morning.) 

If you are on Bonaire, you should be able to spot them by 11pm. In more northern points like here in New Jersey, it would be some time around or after midnight.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Deer in Bloomfield!

We are in NJ right now to get a VNS implant to help control Sandra's seizures. Got here just in time for the COVID-19 adventure. 

We're staying right next to the Brookdale Christian Church on Broad street in Bloomfield. We saw some deer behind the church the other day. Probably because of the reduced human activity around here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Early Bird Special

If the sky is clear around 5:30 Wednesday morning, you'll be able to see the moon together with Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.

Here are two images from Stellarium planetarium software.

One shows what it will look like on Bonaire and the other what it will look like in north Jersey. The moon and planets will be higher in the sky on Bonaire.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Thursday Moon and Venus

The Moon has moved up past Venus tonight.

They appear quite striking together in the evening sky.

Moon and Venus, Wed. Feb. 26

Here is what the Moon and Venus looked like Wednesday evening, here on Bonaire. 

Thursday night, the Moon will be a bit to the upper left of Venus. It should look quite nice if the skies are clear.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Moon and Venus

Sandra and I went out Monday evening to look for the teeny tiny Moon, but there was a cloud bank right in front of where the Moon should be. 

We went out Tuesday night and saw the tiny Moon and Venus. 

The Moon will still be below Venus Wednesday night, but closer to Venus than it was on Tuesday. 

The Moon will be even closer to Venus, at the upper left of Venus (as seen on Bonaire anyway) on Thursday evening.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Moon and Planets - Feb. 20

There were lots of clouds this morning, but I got a few chances to see Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon.

I didn't see the stars of Sagittarius with my naked eye, but they were visible when I was focusing in Live View and in the picture.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Moon and Planets - Feb. 18-20

The Moon and planets are going to be worth looking at this week. On Tuesday morning (Feb. 18) the Moon is quite near Mars. In fact, for places to west of Bonaire, the Moon will pass right in front of Mars while it is still dark out.

If I were to have my telescope out here on Bonaire, which I probably won't, I could probably see the Moon blot out Mars from 09:10 to 09:13 Tuesday morning. Mars would then emerge from the shadowed side of the Moon about an hour later. The timing will most likely be different in other places. 

On Wednesday morning, the Moon will be near Jupiter.

On Thursday morning, the Moon will be near Saturn. If you use the Moon to nail down the location of these three planets this week, you'll be able to follow their progress across the sky all through the spring and summer.

It was cloudy here on Bonaire this morning. I'm hoping for at least one clear morning on Tue, Wed. or Thur. this week!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Green Flash Season

January and February are green flash season here on Bonaire. During one January, back during the last millennium, when we were living on the seaside, we saw a green flash 17 evenings in a row.

The green flash has been putting on a good show this year too. Here is a brief video clip from last night. I thought that I had the camera on manual video mode, but it turns out that it wasn't. So the first part is a bit underexposed and the last part is a bit over exposed. But one can see a good bit of green none the less.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Venus and Neptune Conjunction

The Moon and Venus were a beautiful sight in the western sky this evening. It would have made an awesome picture with the right foreground. I reluctantly gave it a pass. 
BECAUSE Venus and Neptune were in conjunction this evening. Neptune was a bit to the lower right of Venus, think 5 o'clock if you are in the States. 
Of course, at magnitude 7.9, Neptune is 60,000 times dimmer than -4.1 magnitude Venus! I just barely barely detected Neptune with averted vision in 20x80 binoculars set up on a solid parallelogram mount. Neptune was considerably easier to spot last summer when Bud Gillan and I saw it low in the east from Red Slave.
I think the sky wasn't quite as clear tonight, and the glare from Venus wasn't helping. I was too lazy to set up a telescope and was glad to get a glimpse in the binoculars.
But, Neptune is easy to see in an image I made with my trusty Nikon P1000 camera. Venus is in the middle. The mag 4.2 star Phi Aquarii is above Venus, and Neptune is below Venus. Phi Aquarii was very easy to spot in the binoculars. :)
The other picture is the moon, also shot with the P1000.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Starry Starry Saturday Night

The skies were really clear and dark last night. It was the kind of that I would head down south to see the LMC.  But since I got a good picture of that a few years ago, I ventured to a friend's kunuku part way between Kralenkijk and Rincon and looked at the northern and eastern skies.

The views were gorgeous. Here are a few pictures I shot with an 85mm lens. One shows the Pleiades and the California nebula. One shows Cassiopeia, the M shape. And one shows Auriga.

I labeled some of the clusters and nebulae that one can observe with binoculars or a telescope.

You'll want to view them at full size.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Super Skinny Moon

Jan 25.  Sandra and I saw a super skinny teeny tiny Moon tonight. Mercury was to the Moon's lower right and just barely fit within the same binocular field of view as the Moon.

After we located them in the binoculars, we also located them with the naked eye.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Moon, Mars, Antares

It was clear Sunday morning at 6am and we saw the Moon, Mars and Antares.

On Monday morning, the Moon will move down by Mars and Antares.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Moon, Mars and Antares will be putting on a show for all you early birds this coming weekend.

Red Mars and red-ish Antares will be getting closer and closer together, and then the Moon joins the show on Sunday and Monday mornings.
You should be able to see the changing positions of Mars and Antares each morning by Friday for sure.

Here is a link to an animation that I saw on