New Scary Posts for Halloween!

Here are my best posts on Halloween:

 

  1. History of Halloween, NEW https://memiorsofanastronut.wordpress.com/astronomy-myths-and-legends/
  2. My exploration of the myths of Werewolves! https://memiorsofanastronut.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/new-page-astronomy-myths-and-legends-new-wolf-moon-hooowl/ 
  3. Harvest Moons: https://memiorsofanastronut.wordpress.com/2013/09/ 
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I’m Back! Happy Halloween

Hello everyone!

Well, after a 10 month absence, I’ve decided to get back to work on this blog. I do so because I love astronomy, and want to continue learning about it and sharing it with people. If you’re wondering why I stopped, the answer is that I left Primland resort in order to start a new life with my beautiful wife. It was an honor and privilege  working at the resort, and if you get a chance to go, I definitely recommend it. I simply chose to look at the stars somewhere closer to home. That said, this blog will continue and I will post weekly whenever there is an astronomical event that sparks my interest.

Happy Stargazing!

New news about the Magellenic Cloud

I found a great video from DeepSky Videos.com, where an astronomer probes the depths of a beautiful dwarf galaxy that is encircling our own like a comet. Only recently has NASA been able to penetrate this galactic cloud, and here are some of the facts about this unique object:

Magellanic Clouds (and Apollo 16) – Deep Sky Videos

First Artist in Space is… LADY GAGA

Lady Gaga in her flight suit, as part of the announcement that she will become part of the Virgin Galaxy space flight in 2015.

Lady Gaga in her flight suit, as part of the announcement that she will become part of the Virgin Galaxy space flight in 2015.

That’s right, you heard me. Only a few hours ago, pop star, activist, and all around weirdo performance artist Lady Gaga, confirmed that she will be the first artist to perform IN SPACE, as part of the Virgin Galaxy’s maiden voyage in 2015. This will also mark the first ever commercial flight into space, which is certainly cause for celebration. I for one am enthusiastic about this new artistic presence in space. and glad that they picked someone as out-of this world as Gaga. For one thing, if the ship is commendeered by aliens, she’ll probably speak their langugage 😉

For more info on Gaga’s flight, please click here: http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/132316/Lady-Gaga-Confirms-She-WILL-Become-First-Artist-To-Perform-In-Space

 

For more info on the Virgin Galactic Flight Project, click here: http://www.virgingalactic.com/

Happy Stargazing!

 

Stargazers Watch Earthbound Satellite Make Fiery Reentry | Video – ABC News

Today the GOCE European Space sattelite came crashing down to the South Atlantic Ocean! Scientists caution that there is a huge garbage dump of sattelites orbiting our planet and that this could happen again at any moment. The lesson here appears to be: “Space to Earth, CLEAN UP YOUR SKY!”

Stargazers Watch Earthbound Satellite Make Fiery Reentry | Video – ABC News.

Enjoy the Harvest Moon!

Harvest_moon

Tonight is the second night of the Harvest Moon, the time when the Moon rises earlier than ever before, right before the Autumnal Equinox.

 As I mentioned in “The Tale of the Lucky Red Moon,” Harvest Moons have a profound cultural significance. China has its own Mid Autumn Moon Festival that tries to unite cultures under one Moon. You can read about this in a wonderful article at Earthsky.org

So get out tonight and enjoy this rare Harvest Moon! I plan to take a few pictures with the telescope if it’s not too cloudy here at Primland.

Happy Stargazing!

Friday the 13th and astronomy

350px-Friday_the_13th_863Hello fello triscadecaphobs! In case you wonder what that big word means, it means “fear of Friday the 13th.” An estimated 17 million people fear this very day. There is actually a long and complicated history to the fear of this day, especialy in our own culture, and I set about trying to lay this fear to rest using my knowledge of history, mythology, and of course, astronomy.

Cultural/ Historical significance of Friday the 13th.

The number 13 itself is considered unlucky for a number of reasons, especially in Western Christianity- in the Bible the disciples and Jesus add up to 13, which eventually led to the betrayal and death of the leader, (which occured on a Friday). In addition, on October 13, 1307 the Pope ordered for the murder of the hallowed Knights Templar, the most powerful Christian knights in the world. 

The fear of Friday the 13th itself might have formally begun in the 19th century, with the death of Rossini, the celebrated composer of “The Barber of Seville.” On his death bed, the composer remarked that he always regarded Fridays and the number 13 as unlucky. As is often the case, this quote probably got repeated over and its influence multiplied into a whole superstition. By the way, wikipedia lists a number of famous people who have died on Friday the 13th, including Julia Child and Tupac Shakur.

So, what does this have to do with Astronomy?

Richard Beveridge, in his paper “Friday the 13th and the Mathematics of the Gregorian Calendar,” points out that there is an innate fear of Friday the 13th built into our culture from the fact that we base our time tables around the number 12- the 12 months of the year, the twelve signs of the zodiac, etc. This creates a feeling of otherness and other worldliness to the number 13. In addition, with the way we add leap years every four years, Friday the 13th occurs at random intervals, and it is very difficult to predict. Again, we fear things we can’t predict or control, which is why we fear even a date on the calendar.

Good news about Friday the 13th.

NASA recently predicted an asteroid would pass harmlessly over the Earth on Friday, April 13th, 2029. If this asteroid would pass too close, it could destroy an area the size of Texas! So I suppose you could say that some good things can come on Friday the 13th, even if they are things that don’t happen.

 

Well, that’s what I know about Friday the 13th. Hope some of your fears are allayed.

Happy Stargazing!

Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight

Tonight will be an excellent opportunity to see the Perseid Meteor Shower.with very little Moon out tonight, it should be spectacular!

For a little sneak peak, click here..

Happy Stargazing!

Announcing Hawaii Week

Hi everyone!

Well, I’ve been away from my blog and from Primland for a while, but I had a good reason- I got Married! The wedding was beautiful and my new wife and I are very happy. For our honeymoon, we went to Hawaii, which in addition to being gorgeous and a tropical paradise, also has a lot to offer me as a historian and stargazer. I kept hearing stories and facts about Hawaii’s connection to the stars, so to demonstrate what I’ve learned, I’ve decided to devote this week to Hawaiin astronomy and astrology, which includes my trip to the Mauna Kea Observatory, the tallest observatory on Earth!

Stay tuned for new entries each day starting with a new Picture Of the Week!

Happy Stargazing and Aloha!

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SUPER MOON MADNESS!

Tonight is the beginning of what astronomers call the Moon’s Perigee, the point in which the Moon is closest to the Earth. This means that tonight, the Moon will appear 12% bigger than usual!
Find out how to spot craters and

Not only is this the biggest Moon of the year, it’s also one of the most interesting. June 23rd’s full moon is classified as a “Strawberry Moon,” or “Rose Moon” It was called Strawberry by the Algonquin Native Americans because they knew this full moon was an ideal time to gather fruit. To learn more about this particular full moon, I’ve posted a link to a video created by the good folks at “The Farmer’s Almanac”, a trusted astronomy resource for over 100 years.

So I hope to see some of you down at Primland to look at this beautiful full moon. I know I’ll be training the telescope on it!

Happy Stargazing