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.