Brad Swanson reports on the happenings in and around Trans World Radio's station on the island of Bonaire. TWR Bonaire broadcasts Gospel music and Bible teaching programs which can be heard in Latin America and the Caribbean: in the Spanish, English, Portuguese, Baniwa, and Macuxi languages.
You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.
Friday, December 31, 2021
Christmas Morning Rains
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! 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
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
Friday, December 03, 2021
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
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.
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.
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
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
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.
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.
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
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
Here is one taken from where the snack shop at Karpata used to be.
Monday, July 12, 2021
Moon, Mars and 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.
Monday, July 05, 2021
More starry nights
Thursday, July 01, 2021
First Starry Night in Months
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
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
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.