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My first view of Comet ISON

Comet ISON October 6, 2013 by Jane Houston Jones

All year long, astronomers have been writing about Comet ISON: will it sizzle or will it fizzle? I was chomping at the bit, waiting for the visual magnitude to brighten enough to try viewing this comet through my own telescope (shown on the right). Finally, the [...]

Spring stargazing: the Milky Way and beyond!

Follow the dipper arc to Arcturus, then spike to Spica

Omega Centauri globular cluster 35 degrees below Spica

Springtime is my favorite observing season. In the course of an evening you can face away from our own galaxy and feast your eyes on other Milky Ways, while tracking down some of the most spectacular [...]

My first view of Comet PanSTARRS 3/11/13

Sunday morning (Sunday March 10) we drove home from a wonderful Amboy Crater observing night. As we drove up our street, we have a good view of Mt. Wilson and the telescopes, as you can see here. My Comet PanSTARRS sketches (and astrophotos tomorrow) from near the Mt. Wilson Observatory (but on the other side [...]

Kemble's Cascade: the joy of observing with binoculars

Start your night with binoculars

Here’s Mojo’s atrophotography post from the same evening.

After some months away from dark skies, everything looks foreign, even to long time observers like me. I recognize the familiar constellations, but sometimes I forget where some of my favorite telescopic targets are located. On nights like this, I don’t just revisit [...]

Missing Susan every day

2012 Monrovia Relay for Life Luminaria in honor of Susan Niebur, @whymommy

Saturn cut from Susan's Luminaria

Luminaria for Mojo (that’s a cutout galaxy which was super difficult to cut out)

I started writing this just after Susan died, but couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Today is the one year anniversary of [...]

What's Up in 2013 - at a glance

All year long, astronomers have been writing about Comet ISON: will it sizzle or will it fizzle? Both! Here’s my What’s Up video, with December status (written in mid November, but luckily, the comet didn’t completely fizzle)

ISON in December 2013

Comet ISON first spotted by amateur astronomer Bruce Gary and has been imaged by many [...]

Observing in the neighborhood

Summer Milky Way, Scorpius and dark nebulae, image by Morris Jones

Observing near the summer solstice means a short observing night sandwiched between a late sunset and an early dawn. Rather than rush through an observing project I find it’s a great time of the year to sit back and trace familiar constellations in my [...]

NASA Social at Dryden Flight Research Center, May 4, 2012

This way to the first @DrydenSocial

New NASA Social lanyard, badge and patch, old tweetup pins

Here I am inside the Astronaut CTV (Crew Transport Vehicle) I would have laid down on the bed I’m sitting on, but I was too excited!

Here are the fabulous handouts and books for the attendees

My other [...]

Counting meteors from Amboy Crater - Lyrids 2012

Amboy Crater at dawn

2012 Lyrid Meteor Shower Meteor Profile showing peak near 04h-06h UTC

My visual meteor observing report with 30 minute (or less) intervals, and magnitude distribution

Saturday night, April 21, Mojo and I headed to our new favorite dark sky spot, Amboy Crater, one of the darkest observing locations in the US. [...]

Viewing meteor showers from light polluted LA - not impossible!

The white area is greater Los Angeles. I observed from my driveway in Monrovia, indicated at the "red/white" border zone marked with cross-hairs

My meteor watching setup – comfortable chair, blanket, clipboard, red flashlights, clock, binoculars, snacks

The graph shows the ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate), which is the number of meteors an observer would [...]