Moon, Planets & Constellations In August 2019

Last night, while I’ve waited for Katelynn to come home from Band Camp, I spent some time outside in the frontyard. Right now, the Moon is at its waxing crescent stage, while Jupiter and Saturn are bright in the sky next to the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius. Unfortunately, due the high light pollution in the suburbs of Dallas, my camera can’t catch all the stars of Sagittarius. But it still shows a good portion of it, “The Teapot” & “The Teaspoon”. When you have a clear sky, go and take a look tonight. Scorpius and Jupiter can be seen towards south, while Sagittarius or “The Teapot/Teaspoon” and Saturn can be seen southeast. On the photos, I’ve mapped it out for anyone, who is interested to take closer look in the Celestial Sphere. Enjoy stargazing this August! 🌙🔭📡

Spring Constellations In The Northern Hemisphere

Both our girls have friends for a sleep over, tonight. Unfortunately, their friends are not aware, how sneaky our cats can be. Joshua and Chewbacca saw an opportunity, when one of the girls opened the patio door. As soon as Kevin and I got both cats back in, Joshua sneaked/snuck out the front door. Since he was out again, I let him check out the backyard for a bit. While I waited for Joshua doing his rounds, I observed the night sky, sitting on the patio for a while. The Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major can clearly be seen north from our backyard. Constellation “sits” above our house, while the Waxing Gibbous Moon shines bright in the night sky.

For a better resolution of the star constellations: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132943299@N07/32449287327/in/album-72157678416071305/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/132943299@N07/40425526113/in/album-72157678416071305/

Orion, The Hunter (2)

On Sunday evening, while I was waiting for the Moon to get behind the Earth’s shadow, I took another shot of the constellation Orion. Waiting for the big event of a Lunar Eclipse can be very boring . Meanwhile I always try to make the time feel shorter by capturing photos of the night sky. Orion was the perfect object in the January Winter sky.

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Constellation Orion

http://www.flickr.com/photos/132943299@N07/31914476687/in/album-72157678416071305/

Orion, The Hunter (1)

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Orion, the Hunter, in the Winter sky

Orion shines bright in the January sky. It is so bright, that it is one of the few constellations, I can see in the Dallas suburb. What I’ve noticed, that this constellation is directly above our house on New Years night at 12 a.m. Since Orion is on the celestial equator, it’s belt can be seen on Earth from pole to pole at this time of the year. The belt, Betelgeuse and Rigel (the brightest star in Orion) can be seen very easily in the southern sky.

The Dog Days of Summer*

Damn, it is hot! The last few days, we had temperatures of 106ºF (41ºC) here in the northern part of the DFW Metroplex. The next few days suppose to reach 108/109ºF (42/43ºC), before we get a break and hopefully some rain. Every night, when I water my home garden I also refill the bird baths. One of them, I put lower to the ground. The bunnies and other critters need water in this heat, too. My pets are “lazy” all day, and they won’t move a muscle until 7 PM. When I tell Lexi and Luis to go for a short potty break outside, they look at me as I had stolen their milk bones. Lexi goes in our bedroom, while Luis cools off on our leather couch.

*Original meaning behind “The Dog Days of Summer”:
When Sirius (the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major/Greater Dog, therefore called “The Dog Star”, rises with the Sun on those hot Summer mornings, we call the days from early July until the End of September “The Dog Days of Summer”.

“Night At The Museum” Curriculum

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As the title gives it away, the theme of Sara’s Elementary School Curriculum was “Night At The Museum” last night. Katelynn was actually more excited about last night’s event, than Sara. Sara saw it coming together over a couple of weeks. Katelynn knew it was about dinosaurs.

When we got up to the school, we still had to wait to let in. We showed up early to get a good parking spot. Once they let us in, Katelynn wanted to go straight to the exhibit in the cafeteria. As soon as she entered the room, her eyes went wide open. There were so many fossils and bones of Mesozoic Era. Dinosaur George was leading the exhibit. And there was a lot to look at for all of us. Katelynn and Sara could look and touch at a skull from a turtle that roamed the seas, when Texas was still covered by an ocean.

But there was more to see and to try out. After we all had a hotdog, we went to check out Egyptian history in the library. The girls tried to write their names in hieroglyphs. They also learned, that the ancient Egyptians were great Mathematicians, Scientists, and Astronomers. Speaking of astronomy: On the other side of the hallway was a little Planetarium. The students got a template with a constellation and a tooth pick. When they entered the tent, which was a black tarp, they could poke holes in the form of a star constellation. There was light above the tent, and it really looked like they are stargazing. I loved that idea, since it is in my alley. 😉

Since the school is in its second year of the Texas Motor Speedway/NASCAR reading competition, some parents, students and teachers made box cars last week. A lot of them had really cool designs and were funny as well.

The 6th Curriculum Night of Sara’s Elementary school turned out very good. They also seem to improve and have a higher turnout, every year. We really enjoyed it. Katelynn was very excited. And Sara has lots of study material for future school projects.