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 🙂

Transcontinental Smoke

Instead of clear blue mid-September skies, the jet stream has picked up the massive pollution from California and environs, stretching it down toward Texas and up again to the Northeast in a 4000 to 5000 mile track spreading over the continent. Here in New Jersey, starting yesterday, the daytime sky has been distinguished by a slivery white opacity while the ground horizon remains sharp and clear. Meteorologists predict this will vary day by day based on the course of the Jet Strem.

Smoky air pollution from the unprecedented forest fires on the United States West Coast are now affecting our skies in the East. 

This image was taken about 90 minutes before sunset in Boonton, New Jersey, …and the plane is actually a model being flown over a nearby soccer field.

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

Perspectives – From Earth to the Moon and Beyond

About 6 weeks ago, , the near full moon was hiding behind clouds as Jupiter and Saturn were at about their closest positions to earth this year (opposition) …as seen below. (Saturn was the fainter of the two, centered just above a cloud to the left of Jupiter.)

Apologies ahead of time for difficulty in seeing this in a bright setting. 😦


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

Comet Neowise, 4:45 AM, 7/14/20


          Finally! a clear morning, …and there it was! Thank You to my neighbor for providing the roof feature, although they don’t know about it yet. And Thank You to my patient wife for letting me back in the little upstairs deck door after I locked myself out!

As usual, thanks also for viewing. Zoom in for a closer look and comments are always welcome.  M 🙂

 

PANDEMIC BLUE

            Yes, a new world-wide color: Pandemic Blue. Particularly those in urban areas have likely noticed what is one of the effects of significantly reduced airline and surface-traffic exhaust.

             Doesn’t the sky in this image, taken this morning in my suburban backyard,  look …nice?  Pandemic Blue. AND, as a bonus, if you are into “star-gazing” or astronomy, check out the night-time skies. Yes, …it’s more transparent! Pandemic Black

A small silver lining to an event that has become almost incomprehensible worldwide! 

Thanks for viewing. Hope all is well with you and yours during this thing! And you can zoom in for a closer look.  M!