What is it about a total solar eclipse that impels people to travel to all kinds of far-flung corners of the world just to enjoy a few minutes of basking in the shadow of the moon? Is it for science, an addiction, the excuse to travel, or just plain craziness? For me, the answer is all of the above! In any case, those are the reasons my husband John O’Neill (ONJ) and I made the long trek to Queensland, Australia last month.
There are many phenomena one can look for during a total solar eclipse besides the beautiful corona; the diamond ring, Baily’s beads, shadow bands, etc. etc. I would argue that another would be the associated human migration. As eclipse day draws near, people from all over the globe begin congregating in the approximately 100 mile (150 km) wide path of totality. Where the shadow passes over the sea, people take to ships in order to position themselves well. Some people travel on their own, others join groups, tours, or expeditions. Continue Reading
Wherever we travel, my husband and I like to squeeze in a visit to an observatory or visit another place of astronomical interest if we can. A recent trip to Los Angeles for a nephew's wedding was no exception. After all the festivities associated with the happy occasion were over we found ourselves with a rental car and an extra day on our hands - perfect!
On Saturday and Sunday April 28th and 29th, the Rockland Astronomy Club held its 21st Annual Northeast Astronomy Forum and Telescope Show in Suffern, New York. This was the first NEAF for my husband and me and we had a great time. The talks, solar observing, and raffles all added to the festive atmosphere. Continue Reading
Wow! We are still catching our breath from last week's fantastic meeting, but I just wanted to share with you a few photos illustrating some of the highlights... Continue Reading
I'm sure you will hear more about it from others, but from my point of view, the 100th Spring meeting of the AAVSO held jointly with the AAS was an excellent opportunity to distribute copies of Dorrit Hoffleit's wonderful autobiography, Misfortunes as Blessings in Disguise.
When this book was published in 2002, thanks to Dorrit's generosity, we printed many more copies than we could sell. Keeping boxes of books squirreled away in our storeroom at HQ just didn't make any sense—we wanted to get the books out to people who might enjoy them (Donna Young has distributed many to teachers at her workshops), but mailing it out to libraries around the country was prohibitively expensive.
So what to do? Continue Reading
Recently, I enjoyed my first visit to Armagh Observatory in the city of Armagh, N. Ireland. Founded and funded in 1789 by Archbishop Richard Robinson, the Observatory represents an interesting mixture of historic and current astronomical research. Continue Reading
Did you know that there is an easy-to-use tool available to you right now that lets you create custom light curves from AAVSO data and helps you to analyze that data in multiple ways? Well there is, and its called VStar. To get it, simply click the "Data" tab at the top of this page, then under "Analysis" on the dropdown menu you will find VStar as one of the choices. From this page you can get the download (no installation required) and read a bit more about how it works and what resources are available to you. Continue Reading
…Star Party, that is. On the weekend of October 8 – 10, 2010, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time which means that I was in Birr, County Offaly, Ireland for a wonderful event called “The Whirlpool Star Party”. Now in its 24th year (not counting a 1-year break), this gathering of astronomers, both professional and amateur, from all over Ireland, the UK, and elsewhere, features informative talks, stargazing and of course, social gatherings.
A new version of Zapper has just been released! Actually, not a lot has changed but I did want to let everyone know that Zapper will no longer display differential magnitudes or unreduced step-magnitudes (which appear as 0.0 magnitude observations in the AAVSO International Database). To get this latest version please go here: http://www.aavso.org/zapper and download it. This page will also describe what Zapper is and how to use it for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about! Continue Reading