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.