Category: StarryTelling

Read More

Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – DAY SEVEN

Do we go or do we stay? That’s the tune for the day as we reach our weather decision deadline. We had a teleconference with Adam Jones, our Colorado meteorologist. Galveston, Tennessee he says has a 100% chance and western Idaho and eastern Oregon have 95%. His prediction for our site include some high clouds which may or may not block totality. The weather wouldn’t be any different until we get at least 300 miles away. However, the odds are still in our favor, and today he gives us a 75% chance of seeing totality…

Read More

Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – DAY SIX

Preparations are set in town and at the Park, as both are just waiting for the people to arrive. I imagine the situation is the same all across the eclipse path. People will start to arrive this weekend with the great masses pulling in late Sunday or early Monday for a glimpse of totality. I have friends all along the eclipse path. Oregon, Idaho, western and central Wyoming, and we’re in eastern Wyoming expecting another 26 people (most arriving Sunday). Other friends are setting up sites in western Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina. I wish them all clear skies, and I’m looking forward to sharing stories and images of their eclipse pilgrimage.

Read More

The sky of June – The Rising of the Galaxy

Out I went and nothing prepared me for what I saw that night. On the pitch dark sky of Wairarapa, with luscious hills that hold the horizon in sweet curves that rest the eye, a luminous whirlpool of stars was erupting from the east. Silver river of stars, one of its arms was meandering the eastern horizon in oval arched loops like an octopus’s arm that passed a Southern Cross marking the 12 o’clock position on the celestial time keeper of the south. The galactic arm was thinning down towards the western horizon and righteously so as the further we go from Scorpius and Sagittarius, we are actually looking towards the outskirts of our galaxy, where fewer stars venture. I stood there in silence watching the slow rising of the Galaxy and I realised that it was for the first time in my life when I was truly seeing it with my eyes.

Read More

The sky of March – The Shining Ones

At the fringe of our milky city of stars, on the north-western horizon, the Pleiades, the Shining Ones (Te Tawhiti) are preparing for the journey to the underworld. They are to disappear shortly behind the Sun and will stay there for a while.

And the explanation goes that since people of old did not really have an explanation about space, in trying to figure out where exactly the Pleiades went, they invented a underworld. This is probably one of the reasons why this group of stars is so linked to stories of death, rebirth, and ancestors, and used to mark the beginning of the year in some cultures.

Cloudy Nights

Mention the words “cloudy night” to a star gazer, and they’ll mumble and grumble and say something like “Might as well get some sleep.” Of course in the southern hemisphere this takes on a whole different meaning. Cloudy night in this treasure trove of heavenly delights refers to an evening exploring our companion galaxies, the large and small Magellanic Clouds. And for northern star gazers this is very high (if not number 1) on the must see list. How amazing it must be to see another galaxy so large that you could fit 20 full moons across its diameter. That’s the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and for the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) we’re looking at about 9 full moons. Let’s spend a moment exploring these clouds.

Read More

Peter Detterline – From the NorthS

I smiled every morning in Chile watching Orion rise toes first in the sky. It might put a smile on your face to watch him peek above the horizon as he rises in the northern hemisphere. We all have a unique perspective of the universe, and our lives due to our experiences. When you look up, be humbled by the vastness of the universe, but above all keep learning and put a smile on your face, be filled with the joy that is the universe, and let that wonder take you to new possibilities.

In the Sky in September 2015

You can read in detail about The Sky of September here. It will be the same year after year, Pluto and all.

Relax, Pluto WILL not go anywhere soon

In fact  Pluto takes 248 years to orbit the Sun as it orbits at an average distance of 5.9 billion km from the Sun, while Earth only orbits at 150 million km. This means that it will take Pluto almost 20 years to shift into another constellation.

Everything else you need to know

Well, after spending about and around nine years in the dark at Carter Observatory, doing what I always called the awesomest job in the world, I heard a siren call and did what felt right. So Saturday I had my last planetarium presenting show (s) in this shape and form. And just like in the movies, on my last shift, a lady came to me and grabbed me by the arm after the show. (Need I say that nobody ever grabbed me like that in nine years of working here.) She looked me in the eyes, leaned towards me and said:
"I loved your show. I can see how much passion you have for your job. I hope you will always keep that alive!"
and then, vanished through the door, smiling ... I did not even have time to blink before she disappeared so the melodrama moment never quite took off but I did think "um, oops actually this is my last show..."

Lost in the Southern Hemisphere? Here’s how you can find yourself in 3 easy steps.

Finding directions from the stars has never been easier. In the modern times, everyone has a phone app.

However, there are some old tricks just in case you run out of battery with or without maps.