“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 🙂
This is a technical post, for testing. This Image of San Francisco taken in the summer of 1972.
A tale from over fifty years ago!
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.
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 🙂
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 🙂
Thanks for Viewing.
Comments are always Welcome. Zoom in for closer look. M 🙂
February 2nd is Groundhog Day here in the United States (and Canada.) Although the tradition begs for a relatively large imagination, lore has it that this particular rodent, Phil, who lives just outside town, can forecast the weather. As it was my wife’s birthday, we added this somewhat iconic town, Punxsutawney, to our weekend road trip through parts of Pennsylvania. So, despite some issues with snow, we did join the throngs of Phil worshippers, and made it back home by nightfall. Oh, and he did NOT see his shadow, indicating an early spring!
Thanks for viewing. Zoom in for a closer look. Comments are always welcome. M :-)
Peace forever. M 🙂
Perspectives: Whenever Mercury passes slowly between the Earth and the sun, (a reletively rare event,) the small planet can be seen as a tiny dot, not visible without a light reducing filter and magnification.
Above –> The sun is about 93 million miles (150 mil. km) away from Earth, and Mercury 67 million miles (108 mil. km) away at this time. It is the tiny dot at the lower left just starting its apparent crossing, called a Transit! What is unique in this image is the smokey jet plane contrail (exhaust) seen in front of the upper part of the sun …about seven miles away.
Above –> 6 1/2 hours later, the transit is ending as the planet, at the 3:00 o’clock position to the right, moves past the sun’s disk. (ZOOM IN TO SEE THIS.)
Thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome and zoom in for a closer look. M:-)
After the tragic fire, some images from our visit in 2012.
Thanks for viewing, and Comments are always welcome. M