Friday, December 31, 2021

Christmas Morning Rains


I forgot to post this picture earlier this week. I shot it on my Christmas morning bike ride around the south end of the island. I almost never ride on the paved roads, but things were pretty quiet that morning.
When i got most of the way around the south end, i stopped for a while by the multi-colored obelisk to let some heavy rain pass by the Sorobon area. Then. as I peddled from Sorobon to Terra Kora, I watched some really heavy rain pass over the downtown area.
I didn't get rained on much, but the roads were quite flooded. Good thing it is warm rain. I also saw a number of rainbows that morning.


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Mercury is on the Rise

A bonus for Comet Gazers is the planet Mercury, which is rapidly rising in the West each evening. I love it when planets zoom by each other. I pulled up the sky view from Montclair, NJ in the free Stellarium software, and it looks like Mercury will be more or less exactly to the left of Venus tonight. Should be easy to spot if you have clear skies. Here on Bonaire, Mercury was already above Venus last night and will be about as high above Venus tonight as it was below Venus on Monday night. Let's hope for clear skies. Venus is a bright blob in my binoculars. In a telescope right now, it is a skinny crescent!

Oh... as a bonus for early birds; according to Stellarium, on Friday morning before sunrise, Mars, the Moon and the star Antares (in Scorpius) will make a more or less equilateral triangle. (as seen from both Montclair, NJ and Bonaire!) Antares is a red star, so it and red Mars should make a nice pairing. I saw Antares, but not Mars on my bike ride on Wednesday morning. It was cloudy today. Mornings, here on Bonaire, are often cloudy this time of the year, but I'll be sure to check it out tomorrow, just in case.

Comet and Meteor

The sky was clear last night, but then clouds rolled in. Then it cleared again, when comet Leonard was really low in the sky. I could see foreground bushes in the un-cropped photos. 

I didn't get any amazing comet images, but I did luck out and catch a meteor streaking by the comet on one frame. December is our favorite month for spotting meteors here on Bonaire.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Comet Leonard shines in dark skies

 Whoo Whoo! Monday evening was one of those rare no clouds - green flash type evenings. I zoomed just north of Hato so i could look at comet Leonard over the sea. For the first time, i could detect some of the comet's tail in my binoculars. I also saw a humdinger of a meteor while i was out there.

Then i zoomed home and grabbed a camera and tripod, and shot some six second exposures, the longest i can do without a tracking mount.


Monday, December 27, 2021

Comet Leonard Update


I've been sneaking a look at comet Leonard most evenings. There are usually lots of clouds, but i often get a peak at the comet between 7pm and 7:15. It is somewhat easy to spot in my 10x50 binoculars, if you know where to look. From Hato, it just looks like a fuzz. I can't really see the tail etc. 
I'll attach a screen shot from the free planetarium software, Stellarium, that shows where Leonard is tonight. (Dec.27) It will be in this general area for a few nights. On Bonaire; Venus, Saturn and Jupiter form a more or less vertical line. Leonard is to the left of Saturn, about halfway down an imaginary horizontal line that goes from Saturn to Alnair, on Saturn's south (left) side. Yesterday, Saturn was easy to spot, but i could just barely see Alnair with my naked eye. I'm thinking that if you can see Alnair with the naked eye, you should be able to spot Leonard with binoculars.

If you are up North, the three planets form a line that tilts more towards the left. Leonard is still halfway down a line from Saturn to Alnair, but Alnair sets at 5pm! If you look at the spacing between the planets on the chart and then in the sky, you can sort of calibrate your eye as to how far from Saturn you should look for Leonard. On Bonaire, you look more or less straight to the left. Up North you'll be looking to the lower left, down towards the horizon.




Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Comet Leonard Dec 20

According to what I read online, Comet Leonard is getting a bit dimmer each night. But, here on Bonaire, it is also getting a bit higher in the sky each night, and now there is no moon to wash out the sky. 

Here is what it looked like from our backyard on Monday. Well, in the camera at least. It's still pretty much a formless blur in my small binoculars. It would probably look better if 

I went to a darker part of the island.


Friday, December 17, 2021

Comet Leonard Update - Dec 16


Comet Leonard has now moved to the evening sky. If i didn't know exactly where to look, I'd still probably not spot it, even with binoculars. Clearer skies would help, of course. It has been a little hazy here on Bonaire. We need one of those super clear, mega green flash type evenings. 
The wide angle picture shows where the comet is relative to Venus. The X in the lower right corner show where Leonard was on Wednesday evening. The arrow shows where it was on Thursday evening, and the X in the upper right shows where it will be on Friday evening. None of those stars were visible to the naked eye and only a few of them were visible in the binoculars. 
As i mentioned, i can barely see the comet in 10x35 binoculars. 7x50s or larger would be better. The good news is that the comet is climbing higher in the sky every night. The bad news is that the full-ish moon is washing out the sky when there is any haze to speak of. The bottom picture is a one to one crop that has noise reduction applied.


Friday, December 03, 2021

Comet Leonard


We've been having quite a bit of rain lately, here on Bonaire. But the sky cleared up enough at 5:30 this morning for me to spot comet Leonard. (C/2021 A1) Today was special because the comet was passing by the globular cluster M3. There will probably be some really cool pictures posted today from people who used a telescope to view these two objects.
What with all the clouds and rain here, I was happy to be able to spot them at all. I saw them as two faint fuzzy spots in my 10x35 binoculars. Comet Leonard is pretty easy to find (in binoculars) right now because it is near the bright star Arcturus. You can find Arcturus by following the Arc of the Big Dipper's handle. Arc - Arcturus, get it? I'm including a chart that shows where Leonard was this morning - the top yellow dot - and where it will be for the next few mornings. Just count the dots from top to bottom, Friday is the top one, Saturday is the next one down, etc.  If you are way North, compared to Bonaire, the location of Leonard will probably be a bit different than how it appears on Bonaire, but it will be close enough, I think.

I'm also including a picture i shot this morning. I've cropped it a LOT because i shot it with a 85mm lens, and not a telescope. The fuzzy spot above the comet is M3. This was a five second exposure at f 1.4 and ISO 1600.

Saturday, October 16, 2021


 I read somewhere that tonight, Oct. 16, is International Observer the Moon night.  Here is how it looked tonight from our back yard here on Bonaire.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Moon and Venus Tonight

 The Moon is near Venus tonight, Oct. 9.  Here is a shot showing about how they look to the naked eye (actually they look brighter than they do in the first picture) and one zoomed in on the Moon and Venus.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Perseid Meteors

 Here are a few shots of Perseid meteors from my Aug. 11 session at Kunuku Rooi Lamoenchi. I didn't see any of these with my naked eye, probably blinked at the wrong time. I'll bet i would have seen more if I had stayed up later. Perseus was just rising above the horizon when i headed home at 1am. I think the same meteor shows up in two of the shots - I had two cameras going at the same time.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Star Trails Timelapse

 Here is a version that shows the star trails from Aug. 11 forming over time.

Star Trails

 Here is another way to view the 260 astro-photography images from Rooi Lamoenchi on Aug. 11.



Rooi Lamoenchi Time Lapse Sequence

 Here's a time lapse from Aug. 11, when I was out at Kunuku Rooi Lamoenchi. It covers about two hours of time and 260 pictures that I triggered manually, 'cause I couldn't find my second interval timer. I'll process this again later, to try to remove some of the flicker, but it is still cool to see the movement of the stars over the two hours. The North Star is just over the small building in the middle of the picture. The little dipper extends upward and curves to the left from the North Star. You can see the handle of the Big Dipper on the left side at the start of the sequence. There must have been some haze because there is a glow around these bright stars.



Thursday, August 19, 2021

I caught a Meteor, barely.


Here's a view of the main house at Kunuku Rooi Lamoenchi, from Aug. 11. The little streak peaking above the roof at the right end of the house is a Perseid meteor. The fuzzy oblong thing above the left side of the big cactus at the right side of the image is the Andromeda Galaxy, M33. The Double Cluster between Perseus and Cassiopeia is visible above the Meteor as you rise up towards the middle of the frame vertically.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Perseid Meteor Madness

 I was out 'till about 12:30 last Wednesday, but didn't see much in the way of meteors.  Perseus was just coming up over the horizon when i left, so it might have gotten better in the wee hours of the morning.  Perseus is far enough to the North that I typically don't see much meteor activity here in the Tropics.  I took a ton of pictures that i haven't looked at yet.  I also shot a few scenes that caught my eye.  Here is one from the entrance to Kunuku Rooi Lamoenchi.

Cacti Milky Way

Here's another shot from last Wednesday. If i can remember where I shot this, I'd like to go back some time with a normal lens instead of a wide angle one. The cactus silhouettes put emphasis on the Milky Way and I'd like to see more MW detail. I think there was enough room so i could back up and still get the cacti in the frame.


Friday, August 13, 2021

Karpata, July 29

 Here is another shot from Karpata on the night of the 29th.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Karpata Stars

 Here's another shot from when i was a Karpata on the 29th.


Monday, August 09, 2021

Another Kibrahacha Tree at night

 Here's another Kibrahacha tree / Milky Way picture. I was fighting some clouds but still happy that the Moon, Milky Way and Kibrahachas all fell into place.


Kibrahacha Tree at Night

 I'm always looking for new foregrounds to include with the Milky Way. I'm also always looking for new ways to show Kibrahacha trees. So last night i was able to combine the two. I shot a nighttime Kibrahacha tree image a couple years ago, but i like this one better. One can even see lots more flowering trees on the hillside at the lower left side of the image.

That's Jupiter peaking above the tree at the lower left and Saturn to its upper right.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Another Milky Way image

 Here's a Milky Way shot from Tuesday evening. The skies weren't as clear as Monday. This was taken somewhere east of Amboina. I got totally lost out there so i don't know where i was, nor if i could ever get back there! You can see Alpha and Beta Centaurus by the horizon on the right side of the picture. You can see the Little Dipper rising vertically from Polaris near the horizon on the left side of the picture. Jupiter is the bright light near the horizon in the middle of the picture, with Saturn shining to its upper right.


Kibrahacha Trees

 The heavy rains we recently had here have triggered some of the Kibrahacha trees. Here is the view from the TWR parking lot in Hato. I may have to do a Kibrahacha exploration bike ride tomorrow morning, to see if the trees in any other areas are blooming as well.


Wednesday, August 04, 2021

More Milky Way Madness


The sky was very clear Monday evening, so i zoomed out to see what i could see. Looking at the level of haze on the hills before sunset, it say it was about a 9 out of 10. When i was out by Lagoon, it looked like a 10. 🙂 We don't get that many nights that clear, so i try get out to a dark area if at all possible.
A "secret" mountain biking trail provided a nice foreground for the full arch of the Milky Way. You really need to view this one full size.


Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Pedrito el Pulpo Back in Action

 This past Saturday, our Trans World Radio partner in Venezuela just held their first Pedrito El Pulpo kids rally of the summer. They had about 300 kids in attendance, and no electricity, until someone located a generator. They had heavy rain at the end. Maybe that is the same rain that swamped Bonaire on Monday. It seemed to come from the South.


Monday, August 02, 2021

Milky Way west of Rincon

 Here's another shot from the other night. This is a little west of Dos Pos. The lights of Rincon are lighting up the clouds. The bright "star" near the horizon to the left of center is Saturn.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Milky Way from Karpata

 We had a couple of pretty clear starry nights this past week. I took a bunch of photos, and will post some as I process them over the next week or two. 

Here is one taken from where the snack shop at Karpata used to be.


Monday, July 12, 2021

Moon, Mars and Venus

Venus and Mars were close together tonight, about the one Moon diameter apart. Mars was pretty impossible to see with the naked eye, but easy in binoculars. Here is a picture of the moon and of Mars and Venus. Both pix are full frame and the same scale. They are pretty dark, but if i make them any brighter, Mars loses its color and the craters on the moon disappear.  Looks like you'll need to view them full size in order to see Mars.


Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Stars are still good.


The night sky has been quite nice the last few evenings. We did some Summer Milky Way gazing on Monday. While I was waiting for others to arrive, i snapped off six ten second exposures of the Southern Cross setting behind some of the slave huts. I then combined them with StarryLandscapeStacker.
If it is clear again tonight, I'm planning to try to go deep on the Rho Ophiuchus region and see if i can improve on an image i made a number of years ago.


Monday, July 05, 2021

More starry nights


Here is a shot of the TWR towers from last week. I drew in the basic shapes for Scorpius and Sagittarius. 
There was some haze and cloud action that night.
Saturday and Sunday nights were much clearer, so we went further south in order to see the summer Milky Way in all its glory.


Thursday, July 01, 2021

First Starry Night in Months

It is sunny and hot today. It started clearing up late yesterday, and last night was the first night that i could see a lot of stars in quite some time.

I zoomed out to the TWR antenna field to get the Southern Cross behind the towers. I tried a few different things but what worked best was to have the stars a teeny tiny bit out of focus, which made the bright ones easier to see on a small image.

The circles on the image below show, from left to right, Alpha and Beta Centaurus, the Omega cluster, and the Southern Cross.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Early Bird Photos

 Here are a couple views from a before-work bike ride this week. The recent very heavy rains triggered some Kibrahacha trees to pop. I hadn't noticed them until i saw a picture on Facebook. I think it was too dark when i was riding my bike North and I must have been suffering from tunnel vision when I passed by on the way home.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Wardrobe Malfunction

 It hasn't been very windy this week, which is great for bike riding.  There are still some "puddles" stretching completely across the dirt roads in places, from the heavy rains earlier in the week.  I suffered a wardrobe malfunction as I eeked my way around one of them.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Planets on Parade Update

 The morning sky, here on Bonaire, was pretty clear on Wednesday morning.  So i got to see the cool lineup (from lower left to upper right) of Mercury, Jupiter - Moon, and Saturn.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Planets on Parade


I saw (from bottom left to top right) Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon this morning on my bike ride. I took a picture with my phone but only Jupiter and the Moon showed up on it. Here on Bonaire, by about 06:15, the sky is getting too bright to see Mercury and Saturn. Jupiter is quite bright. By tomorrow morning, the Moon will be next to Jupiter, with Saturn to their upper right and Mercury to their lower left. The computer simulation below shows what it will look like here on Bonaire. (if it is clear) 

In other planet news, I took another picture, Monday evening, of Mars moving between the Hyades and the Pleiades. Mars has almost moved to the spot where it was when i took a picture of them in 2006. If it is clear tonight, I'll take another picture to see if i get a better match.


Monday, March 08, 2021

Mars on the Move update

 Here's where Mars was Sunday night. It's not quite where it was back in 2006, but its getting closer. I'll shoot it again Monday night if the skies are clear. There were fast moving clouds Sunday evening, but i was able to get a couple shots in.


Monday, March 01, 2021

Full Moon Bike Ride

 The Moon was a little less than two hours past full when i set out on my bike at 6am on Saturday morning.  It looked great hanging there in the West, as I pedaled NW to Bopec, here on Bonaire.  The sky brightens very quickly here in the tropics.

I lost sight of the moon when i headed East to Rincon, but there were lots of birds chowing down on Shimarukus to keep me company.