Moderator: Mary Anderson Mary  Anderson

Through the Clouds

Through The Clouds, a Google group and SAS discussion forum, is a great place to find and interact not only with other SAS members but also with astronomers from around the world! There is no need to be a SAS member to join, though.  Membership in Through the Clouds is open to all humans on Planet Earth with no requirement to live in Seattle or to join the Seattle Astronomical Society. (SAS)  To join this discussion group, click on the Through the Clouds link above, and you will be taken to the registration page.   

 

 What's New in Through the Clouds Discussion?

Membership in Through the Clouds:  To join this  SAS Through the Clouds Google Discussion Group, click directly on this link:   https://groups.google.com/g/seattle_astro  and then complete the application form for membership.

 Total Lunar Eclipse:   A total lunar eclipse on May 26 elicited much discussion and members' information exchange in preparation for observing this eclipse, which was a very early morning event in Seattle.  Unfortunately, Seattle featured overcast skies at eclipse time, but Eastern Washington offered clear skies for members who traveled there for viewing.  (May 2021)

Outstanding May Astrophotography Activity and Discussion:  May 2021 is offering outstanding SAS astrophotography activity and discussion of outstanding images.  Leonard has created and offered two strikingly beautiful images: Messier152 and SH2-290 (Abell 31).  An excellent image of Messier152 was also created and  posted by Mark, another longtime contributor to this group.  (May 2021)

 Telescope Needs a New Home:  A member announced that he is looking for a new home for the telescope his parents left him.  Go to Through the Clouds to see details of his announcement.  Email address is scott.stolnack@gmail.com.  (April, 2021) 

VDB152 - Reflection Nebula::  Another outstanding image of a  reflection nebula has been posted by Leonard.  Known as VDB152, this blue nebula of great beauty is found in Cepheus in the northern sky.    To see this beautiful image, go to our discussion section by clicking on the link above.  (April 2021)

Unatural Lights in the Seattle Sky:   The striking bright lights in Seattle's dark, night sky on March 26 were not caused by a meteor breaking up in earth's atmosphere, as many observers first thought.  Instead, those strange lights were, a possible signal of the end of astronomical observing from earth since their cause was the unplanned breaking up of a Falcon 9 rocket after its delivery of 60 of the hundreds of light-reflecting satellites planned for earth orbit as part of the Space X project.  The destruction of the dark, night sky by these Space X earth orbiting, artificial sattelites, could cause light pollution that will mean the end of observing natural space objects from earth, the end of  telescopic astronomical observing as we know and love it.  Light pollution could increase to a level that will far exceed that caused by our natural satellite, the moon, and our star, the sun.  (March 2021)

The Blue Horsehead Nebula:  Go to Through the Clouds, using the link above, and join, if you are not already a member, to see and read about an image of the unusual and striking reflection nebula known as the Blue Horsehead Nebula, found in the Rho Ophiuchus region of the Constellation Scorpio.  This was photographed by Leonard some time ago and now features his great new photographic revision. (March 2021)

New Comet Leonard Discovered!  A new, potentially very bright comet, cataloged as C/2021 A1, was recently discovered by astronomer Gregory J. Leonard, a researcher with the Catalina Sky Survey, on January 3.  (March 2021)

 China's Plans To Launch an Artificial Moon: a Threat to Astronomy, Dark Sky, and Health of Earth's Life Forms:  Leonard reported information on China's plan to launch an artificial moon satellite that will be a dire threat t<o astronomy on earth and also to human and animal health due to disruption of circadian rhythms with unnatural lighting of the sky. If this plan is implemented, astronomical observation could be impossible.  Mary presented further information about this growing threat to earth's dark sky as represented by the many artificial satellites already launched by the Space X project and the plans for future launching of incredible numbers of sky-brightening, artificial satellites.   (February 2021)  https://time.com/5429288/china-chengdu-artificial-moon/

Leonard's Video "Back to Mars" Dedicated to Mars Rovers:  Here is an outstanding video which Leonard produced and dedicated to all past Mars RoverCs, including Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity.  And above all, this video is intended to welcome and celebrate the recent landing of Perseverance!  Click on the link to see Leonard's fantastic video complete with beautiful music: https://vimeo.com/105097071   (February 2021)

The Tadpoles, Reflection, McNeill's, and Crab Nebulae:  Our Through the Clouds members have been enjoying some outstanding astrophotography, posted by members in nearby and distant locations.  A great image of The Tadpole Nebula was posted by Seattle photographer Jon who found some Seattle "cloud breaks" which allowed photography "Through the Clouds:"  https://flic.kr/p/2kyXjcr  In the distant (from Seattle) location of Malta, Leonard captured The Reflection, Mc Neill's, and Crab Nebulae: (February 2021)   https://www.flickr.com/photos/32733026@N08/50919708602/in/dateposted-public/  

The Triple Conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury!  Clouds are obscuring these three planets from Seattle view so far during this week of Conjunction in Seattle!  We are hoping for sharing of Leonard's great images or images from anyone on the planet who would like to share images and/or discussion  with sky-view deprived Seattleites!  Again, to join our group and share, click on the link above to become a member.  (January 2021)

The Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter!  The imminent conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on Monday, December 21, has inspired much member discussion of plans for best viewing the closest conjunction in our sky of Saturn and Jupiter.  The greatest apparent proximity of the two planets will be on Dec. 21, but the conjunction will extend to other nights which may offer more favorable weather than the rain in the forecast for Dec. 21!  (December 2020)

Telescopes for Beginning Observers:  A current active discussion of guidelines for buying the best beginners' telescope for observing is offering excellent information to Through the Clouds members.  Our more experienced members like Leonard and John are sharing their experience and outstanding knowledge with group members who are beginners in observing, seeking their best first telescope.  (December 2020)

Comet 3/2020 M3 Atlas:  Several group members reported on efforts to observe the Comet/2020 M3 Atlas, which is currently appearing in our light polluted Seattle sky not too favorably.  Dave reported that he had more success with seeing the elusive comet while observing under the much darker sky of Eastern Washington. (November 2020)

Seven Planets!  During the week of Nov.4-11, seven planets in our solar system are observable in our night sky: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune!  (November 2020)

Possible Northern Lights:  In reaction to recent media, predictions of possible Aurora or Northern Lights appearances this week (Sept.-Oct. 2020), discussion offered tips for best local areas for observation, mainly east of the Cascade Mountains.  We hope that any of our excellent astrophotographers who capture a Northern Lights episode will share the images here! (September/October 2020)

Betelgeuse Is Back!:  Last February a post was entitled: "Betelgeuse Has Bottomed Out," describing the extreme dimming of the normally very bright Betelgeuse..  Now the Hubble Space Telescope is showing that the dimming was caused by an immense amount of hot material ejected into space which then became a dust cloud, obscuring the star.  Now Betelgeuse is brightening to again become the bright star it was or maybe to be a supernova!  Check the discussion pages for more information! (August 2020)

The Trifid and Lagoon Nebulae in Saggitarius:  Two more outstanding images posted by Leonard on Flickr may be seen by clicking this link:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/32733026@N08/50268599702/in/dateposted-public/   (August 2020)

Ephemeris Shared by Billy at the August 26, 2020 SAS Members' Meeting:  At the online Members' Meeting and also on the Through the Clouds discussion page, SAS member Billy shared his ephemeris for observing that he created many years ago. Go to the discussion page to read his comments and use this link to view his ephemeris:   http://staff.washington.edu/billyk/astronomy (August 2020)

Summer Observational Sharing Meeting:  The SAS President just announced an online, membership meeting for this Wednesday, August 26, 2020, entitled "Summer Observational Sharing."  It will be an informal gathering and chance for members to share what they have been observing and photographing along with plans for the future.  He asked if anyone has anything he or she might want to prepare in advance to share? You could post that here or send an email to president@seattleastro.org.  Check the discussion page here and/or the SAS Web site for the URL for admission to this meeting.  (August 26, 2020)

Three Outstanding Nebulae Images:  Leonard has posted on the discussion page outstanding images of three great nebulae: the North America, the Pelican, and the Reflection Nebulae, which are overhead in the constellation Cygnus now.  Check these out on the discussion page.  Here is the link to the North American and Pelican Nebulae:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/32733026@N08/50219081531/?fbclid=IwAR1OYYyFNR1objgDStavRzzBpe89dD269KMIePHNpE3FODMJGo4t1HBOdqI  Here is the link to Leonard's photograph of the Reflection Nebula: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32733026@N08/50229577441/   (August 2020)

Perseid Meteor Shower Peak, August 11 and 12, 2020:  Although Seattle sky was quite cloudy on the peak nights, clear sky was available for those who traveled to Eastern Washington and observed from the Cle Elum area, especially on August 12..  See the Through the Clouds dissussion page for some interesting accounts of Perseid observing.

The Mast Portal:  The Mast Portal offers a way to access data from space telescopes!  All of the data is available in FITS and other formulas depending on the individual telescopic source of the data.  Read more on Through the Clouds. (August 2020)

The North American and Pelican Nebulae:   Read two members' discussion of assistance with astrophotography of the of two challenging objects: The North Amercan and Pelican Nebulae, seen here in images photographed by Leonard.   (August 2020)

The Perseid Meteor Shower:  The potentially best meteor shower of the year will peak this week on August 11 into August 12. The moon that often runs interference will not be absent, but will rise later in its waning, gibbous phase, so some Perseids may be visible before moonrise. From my experience, I would say that the Perseid Shower often peaks later in the night, and some years I have seen most meteors in the week after the official peak.  That may be because the Delta Aquarids tend to be active through most of August although the Delta Aquarids' peak  nights last July 28 and July 29 were very unremarkable this year, at least from the Northwest. (NASA says that the Delta Aquarids are more visible from southern latitudes.)  Anyway, 'tis the season for many meteors, so find a dark sky, sit back, relax, and check out those meteors!  (August 2020)

Thanks to the many members who shared their experience with the 2020 Perseids!  Read their reports by joining Through the Clouds!

Star Cluster M15:  Leonard has shared another of his great images for our inspiration and enjoyment: Star Cluster  M 15. Go to the group discussion to read Leonard's comments and to use the link to view the great image.  Or if you are not a TTC member, click on the link below to view the image and become a member by clicking on the link above or below.  (July 2020) See M15: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32733026@N08/50173701071/in/dateposted-public/

Comet Neowise:  After dominating discussion here in our Through the Clouds group, the bright Comet Neowise is now moving away from earth for a 6,800 year absence.  If you are a member or become a member of this discussion group, you will be able to read the many informative messages about this comet, written by our  accomplished astronomer ,members. (July 2020)

Alpha Capricornid and Delta Aquarid Meteor Showers: Double Meteor Showers will appear on one night: tonight!  Beginning July 28 and extending into morning hours of July 29, these two showers bring a possibility of fireballs.  For more information, see the message posted on July 26.  (July 2020)