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Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, 55 Years Ago Today – Part Two

Arriving very early this day, we all parked our cars in the growing line behind the barricades on an entrance ramp to the toll plaza, …under the overhead sign in the second image below.  Finally, down by the booths, and after “Mr. First,”  the lights turned green and we were on our way.

The view was spectacular, with Manhattan off to the left; Coney Island, Lower N.Y Bay and The Atlantic Ocean to the right. The car toll was $.50 each way.  Today, 2019, tolls are collected westbound only ranging between $19 to $12.24 with E-ZPass!

(More information on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, can be found on Wikipedia, which we support with donations.)

Thanks for viewing, zoom in for a closer look, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

 

On Night Sky Preservation

“Echo I,” a thin metalized 100 foot diameter balloon, was the first experimental communications satellite  launched on August 12, 1960. It acted as a passive reflector of  microwave signals bounced off from one point on Earth to another. A few years after its launch on March 14, 1963, I would inadvertently “capture” its bright presence in the form of a “trail” on a 25 minute (guided) exposure of the constellation Scorpius including part of the Milky Way. The satellite’s slightly deflated state is indicated by the varied brightness as it passed overhead. It also was one of the first aspects of the eventual encroachment of thousands of man made satellites in our night sky.

Today, the chances of having long exposure images of small areas of sky are potentially, and in fact… BEING “spoiled” by the explosive presence of “trails” from these satellites, such as Elon Musk’s “Space X’s “Starlink mission.” This poses a real threat to the preservation of this most natural resource. Efforts to mitigate the degree of their influence on observational astronomy have yet to prove effective.

Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

Some Like It Hot!

Celebrating this year’s Christmas holiday, socially distancing with our family, (plus one dog,) in a pleasantly warm and COVID-19 devoid tent, set flush against an open garage, …as gifts and good cheer, (despite masks) were shared, defying the chilly air around and about.

Thanks for viewing. Stay safe as we continue to fight off the evil pathogen, and …comments are always welcome. M 🙂

12:53 AM

For the second late night in a row, battery problems interrupted a chance to photograph the waning moon’s rise over quiet, and peaceful Barnegat Bay, on New Jersey’s Atlantic Coast. So, it was my I-phone put to the test, …to the capture, without having to manage a myriad of options with the comparativily heavy and awkward SLR camera and attached lenses. Instead, it was a few rare moments, out there in the silent night, simply taking in and savoring the tranquility.

Thanks for Viewing. Click on the image for a closer look. M 🙂

Grand Canyon to Tetons

A slightly different take on two great national parks.

Above: Kaibab Trail, South Rim Grand Canyon – 8/7/95
Above: Early morning fog (referring to the photographer, me!) and Jackson Hole – 8/11/90

Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. Zoooom in for a closer look. M 🙂

In Search of Pluto

A tale from over fifty years ago!

Using this 10″ (255mm) reflector telescope, and a simplistic chart published in Sky and Telescope magazine, I would try to confirm seeing Pluto, …a difficult star-like pinpoint at the edge of visibility. Observing from my suburban town only twenty miles (32 km) N.W. from the brightness of New York City, proved challenging.

A second observation from a considerably darker location was planned as Pluto would have slightly changed position amongst the same stars. But it didn’t happen as unfavorable weather conditions persisted for several weeks.

ABOVE: As seen in the eyepiece, …a rough drawing of visible stars in the area of where I believed Pluto was located. The arrows, particularly “G,” indicated possible candidates. I estimated magnitude 14, (the published approximate magnitude, or brightness of Pluto,) was about the faintest I could see at the time.
ABOVE: Compare the sketch to this same very small area in the constellation Leo, as shown from “Google Sky,” a searchable photographic atlas available free on-line, and certainly not available back then!

Did I see Pluto? Maybe, or maybe not. I recently concluded there was not sufficient evidence for me to comfortably confirm a sighting.  But re-visiting this event from an “armchair viewpoint” so many years later, was …an interesting way to pass the time during this pandemic year.

Special thanks to “Cosmic Focus,” an advanced amateur astronomer/imager from Australia, for providing the incentive to re-visit this quest, …and guiding me to to the current charting resources available today. His wonderful captures of Pluto and a keyway to a remarkable WordPress site can be found here or https://cosmicfocus.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/pluto-the-previous-planet.

Thanks also for viewing. Comments are always welcome, and you can zoom in for a closer look. M 🙂