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 🙂

1813 Turnpike – Stone Arch Bridge

On a road trip in Pennsylvania last week, we came across a 207 year-old bridge spanning “Jacks Creek” in Lewiston, (located roughly in the center of each map image below.) It was constructed as part of the increasingly important “Harrisburg to Pittsburgh Turnpike.

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

Wind Chill, and Snow – A Retrospective.

         Not too much snow this season in New Jersey. So here is a look-back to Western New York State, seventeen years ago – January 15, 2003.  

         Above (and the next two pictures) …were taken just north of Hornel, NY

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It was about 10° F (-12° C) with 20 mph (32 kph) wind, with me freezing outside!

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The next day, below, I was in Hamburg, NY, just south of Buffalo, where “Lake Effect” snows can bury cars …like MINE!

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

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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 🙂

 

INSULATORS

          Some twenty-five years ago my career often found me on the road.  Taking a break from driving, a few miles east of Wellsville, NY, Allegheny County, (just north of central Pennsylvania) I walked along an old rickety railroad track capturing some images, …and trying to capture a potential souvenir hidden in the brush, still attached to a long ago fallen telegraph pole. 


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

Boscobel and the Hudson River School of Art

Happy New Year

Last week we toured the Boscobel Federalist Mansion near Cold Spring, New York. Below is the view from its front lawn overlooking the Hudson River, …the i-Phone capture reminiscent of a genre of Early American Art from the Hudson River School.   Information on this impressive site can be found at

http://boscobel.org

As always, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

50 Years Ago – Earth from the Moon

The crew of Apollo 8, on this very evening (Christmas Eve) exactly 50 years ago, were the first humans to orbit the moon and take the iconic photograph above as they looked back at Earth. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life, as we watched on television, mesmerized by a feat which is still hard to comprehend today.  For years I would have a 2 x 3-foot poster of this image above my desk at my place of work, and for the past 4 or 5 years, it has often been the banner of these WordPress posts.

William Anders, James Lovell, Frank Borman,

 

As usual, thanks for viewing.  Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all. M 🙂