PostHeaderIcon June 20 Summer Solstice Sunset Watch — 2016

It’s time for the 29th seasonal sunset watch!

  • When: Monday, June 20th at 9:00pm (so come at 8:45pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 9:11pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.
    • The equinox moment is Monday, June 20th at 3:34pm
  • Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts (or, if you’re not in Seattle, wherever you have a view of the western horizon!)
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual. (Please do leash your dogs as we usually have a good number of people, kids, and other dogs around.)
Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker

Come watch the sunset at Solstice Park in West Seattle. I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or a thunderstorm I’m staying home with some tea!

If you’re interested – here’s the timing of various celestial events  from Seattle, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Solstice Moment: Monday, June 20, 2016 at 3:34:00 PM
Universal Time: June 20 22 34

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Monday, June 20, 2016 Pacific Daylight Time
Sun
Begin civil twilight 4:31 a.m.
Sunrise 5:11 a.m.
Sun transit 1:11 p.m.
Sunset 9:11 p.m.
End civil twilight 9:52 p.m.
Moon
Moonrise 8:22 p.m. on preceding day
Moon transit 1:05 a.m.
Moonset 5:47 a.m.
Moonrise 9:13 p.m.
Phase of the Moon on June 20, 2016: Full Moon at 4:02 a.m. (local daylight time)

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing all of them!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon Aurora Viewing from Seattle — Basic Tips

Aurora viewing from Seattle, basic info, tips, locations and resources.
Summary: ALWAYS LOOK NORTH, and expect it to be dim.

 

Forecasts for minute-to-minute updates:

The Ovation Model – a prediction: bright green, yellow or red overlapping Seattle means go outside and look.

Soft Serve News – a prediction: Kp over 5 means possible aurora for Seattle, but the higher the better. If it hits 6 go outside.

Current Activity, Estimated Kp,  – a measurement: Kp over 5 is good news. Remember the date/time along the bottom are in Universal Time so subtract 7 or 8 hours depending on daylight savings.

Advanced Solar Wind Charge/Direction – a measurement: scroll down. On the left under “Real Time Solar Wind” is a little speedometer thing labeled “Bz.” When this is pointed towards S/-50/Red we have better auroras in the Northern Hemisphere. When it is pointed the other way, the Southern Hemisphere has better aurora.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center – LOTS of info in one place.

 

Cloudcover prediction for tonight at 11pm:

This image should have today’s date on it. If it does not, click on the image and choose “Sky Cover, 11pm” from the table on the left.

Cloudcover information from NOAA

 

Basics:

What: Possible aurora. Slight greenish tinge, perhaps brighter columns or curtains in the sky, or a diffuse red glow. Do not be tricked by the normal red/yellow glow from downtown Seattle.

When: Use Timeanddate.com to convert aurora prediction times from UTC to Pacific Daylight or Standard Time.

Where: Always look North for aurorae. When clouds are predicted over Puget Sound, so I recommend viewing from Lake Kachess just past Snoqualmie Pass, or even further East. There may also be chances from Sequim or north of Everett.

How: A digital camera with a long exposure will be better at detecting the slightest glow than your eye, but once it gets bright enough you won’t need the camera anymore.

 

Tips (from my Twitter stream):

  • Alice’s Aurora Tip #1: Be patient, keep an eye on the data (see links below) until you see something. Then turn off the data and enjoy.
  • Alice’s Aurora Tip #2: Look North. Be in a dark place.
  • Alice’s Aurora Tip #3: Bring a digital camera or phone with a long-exposure setting. Long-exposure images gather more light than your eye with long exposures you may see the aurora first in a viewfinder, and with your eye as it brightens.
  • Alice’s Aurora Tip #4: It is usually hard to see from Seattle, even when visible. Give your eyes a chance to adapt. Enjoy the stars too.

 

Advanced:

When Kp levels surpass 5 it is worth starting to check in. In Seattle, we hope for Kp levels of 6 or greater for the best chance to see the aurora. I explained Kp over here.

 

 

*NEW* Recommended Viewing Locations:

My general stargazing location recommendations.

PostHeaderIcon Where Should You Go for Stargazing or to watch the Perseids?

See the tab above that says “Seattle Stargazing“? That’s my most recent list of ideas for you.

The map can be found over on Google Maps as well.

My Perseids news coverage 2015

-Full article at West Seattle Blog.

-Interview on KUOW’s The Record for 8/12/2015.

-365 Days of Astronomy What’s Up Tonight, Southern Skies Edition August 2015 (includes tips on astrophotography)

Alan Boyle’s article at GeekWire about Seattle stargazing spots

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon Make Your Own Pluto Globe (MAPS as of 7-16-2015!)

Pluto-Foldable-Globe-2015-07-16

This thumbnail links to the latest globe activity PDF

My dad has been hard at work on a project for my Plutopalooza New Horizons Phone Home event tomorrow. I promised you crafts, and for those of our who cannot attend the event in person, I’m posting this one here.

This is currently a globe of the very latest map available of Pluto from Björn Jónsson. We will be posting one update tomorrow (July 14, 2015) morning, and possibly one more tomorrow evening. Check back on this post for the final update.

Pluto Foldable Globe 2015-07-13 (First post)

Pluto Foldable Globe 2015-07-14 (Second post — updated 10am Pacific Time Tuesday 7-14-2015)

Pluto Foldable Globe 2015-07-16 (Third post — updated 7-16-2015 with better Charon, probably the last post for several months. I hope to do one more when there’s a high-res map available.)

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon Where to Find AstroInfo?

What’s become of me? Like many other vaguely-successful authors, you can now find my work in more places and less often back here at home. This is great news for me, tough news for trying to follow me. I’m not gone for good, but check these locations for more recent articles:

Thanks for keeping up!

-Alice

PostHeaderIcon March 19 Spring Equinox Sunset Watch — 2016

It’s time for the 28th seasonal sunset watch!

  • When: Saturday, March 19th at 7:10pm (so come at 6:45pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 7:22pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.
    • The equinox moment is Saturday, March 19th at 9:30pm
  • Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts (or, if you’re not in Seattle, wherever you have a view of the western horizon!)
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual.
  • Bring (optional): Your smartphone or tablet with a stargazing app. If you do, I’ll spend a few minutes showing you how to use the app. Well, I’ll try anyway, this part of the evening is in beta testing. ;)
Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker

Come watch the sunset at Solstice Park in West Seattle. I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or sleet I’m staying home with some hot tea!

If you’re interested – here’s the timing of various celestial events  from Seattle, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Solstice Moment: Saturday, March 19th at 9:30:00 PM
Universal Time: Mar 20 04 30

Seattle, King County, WA (Longitude W122° 20′, Latitude N47° 38′)

Saturday, March 19, 2016 Pacific Daylight Time

Sun
Begin civil twilight 6:42 a.m.
Sunrise 7:13 a.m.
Sun transit 1:17 p.m.
Sunset 7:22 p.m.
End civil twilight 7:52 p.m.

Moon
Moonset 5:25 a.m.
Moonrise 3:52 p.m.
Moon transit 10:59 p.m.
Moonset 5:57 a.m. on following day
Closest Primary Moon Phase: Full Moon on March 23, 2016 at 5:01 a.m. (local daylight time)

Phase of the Moon on March 19, 2016: Waxing Gibbous with 88% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing all of them!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon LIGO Gravitational Wave Detection – KOMO Radio Interview

I was interviewed on KOMO Radio on February 11, 2016 about the LIGO detection of Gravitational Waves. Listen here!

 

PostHeaderIcon December 21st Winter Solstice Sunset Watch – 2015

It’s time for the 27th seasonal sunset watch!

  • When: Monday, December 21st at 4:05pm (so come at 3:45pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 7:05pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.
    • The equinox moment is at Monday, December 21st at 8:40pm
  • Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts (or, if you’re not in Seattle, wherever you have a view of the western horizon!)
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual.
Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker

Come watch the sunset at Solstice Park in West Seattle. I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or sleet I’m staying home with some hot tea!

If you’re interested – here’s the timing of various celestial events  from Seattle, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Solstice Moment: Monday, December 21, 2015 at 8:40:00 PM
Universal Time: Dec 22 04 48

Seattle, King County, WA (Longitude W122° 20′, Latitude N47° 38′)

December 21, 2015 Pacific Standard Time
Sun
Begin civil twilight 7:19 a.m.
Sunrise 7:55 a.m.
Sun transit 12:07 p.m.
Sunset 4:20 p.m.
End civil twilight 4:56 p.m.

Moon
Moonset 3:19 a.m.
Moonrise 2:01 p.m.
Moon transit 9:11 p.m.
Moonset 4:31 a.m. on following day
Closest Primary Moon Phase: First Quarter on December 18, 2015 at 7:14 a.m. (local standard time)

Phase of the Moon on December 21, 2015: Waxing Gibbous with 84% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing all of them!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon September 23 Fall Equinox Sunset Watch – 2015

It’s time for the 26th seasonal sunset watch!

  • When: Wednesday, September 23 at 6:55pm (so come at 6:40pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 7:05pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.
    • The equinox moment is at Wednesday, September 23 at 1:20am … but we’re watching the sunset the night before not the sunrise because of how the park lines up.
  • Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts (or, if you’re not in Seattle, wherever you have a view of the western horizon!)
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual.
Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker

Come watch the sunset at Solstice Park in West Seattle. I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or sleet I’m staying home with some hot tea!

If you’re interested – here’s the timing of various celestial events  from Seattle, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Seattle, King County, WA (Longitude W122° 20′, Latitude N47° 38′)

September 23, 2015 Pacific Daylight Time
Sun
Begin civil twilight 6:26 a.m.
Sunrise 6:57 a.m.
Sun transit 1:02 p.m.
Sunset 7:05 p.m.
End civil twilight 7:36 p.m.
Moon
Moonset 1:28 a.m.
Moonrise 4:27 p.m.
Moon transit 9:29 p.m.
Moonset 2:36 a.m. on following day
Closest Primary Moon Phase: First Quarter on September 21, 2015 at 1:59 a.m. (local daylight time)

Phase of the Moon on September 23, 2015: Waxing Gibbous with 76% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing all of them!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon EVENT: Plutopalooza Phone Home

PlutoPaloozaBannerUp1

NASA’s New Horizon’s mission will flyby Pluto on the morning of July 14th at 4:49am Pacific Time. As it will spend the full period of the flyby taking photos and data, we won’t hear from the craft about its success until 6:02pm when it “phones home.”

Join me for this nailbiting moment of suspense at High Point Branch Library. As far as I’ve been able to determine at this time, this is the only live local event taking place in Seattle for the Pluto flyby.

  • When: 5pm-7pm (phone home broadcast at 6:02pm)
  • Where: High Point Branch Library, 3411 S.W. Raymond St., Seattle, WA 98126
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual.
    • Themed craft activity for children approximately ages 3-14
    • Short talk about New Horizons aimed at upper elementary through adult
    • NASA TV phone home broadcast for everyone (their broadcast commentary is aimed at a teen-adult audience)

P.S. If you want to build a model of the New Horizons craft and bring it with you to the event, I would love to see it. You can also post your West Seattle PlutoTime photos to social media, and tag me: @AlicesAstroInfo.

Pluto_backdrop_Postcard small

Wish You Were Here!

Here are some useful links:

Other Pluto Events:

7-1-15_Pluto_Charon_color_hemispheres_unannotated_JHUAPL_NASA_SWRI

Pluto and Charon in full color–July 1, 2015

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing all of them, and to Seattle Public Libraries for hosting!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

PostHeaderIcon June 20 Summer Solstice Sunset Watch – 2015

It’s time for the 25th seasonal sunset watch! Wow. That’s a lot. We should probably have some kind quadrans-quarter-ennial, or icosipenta-seasonal-versary, or quasqui-quadmensiversary celebration, don’t you think?

  • When: Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 9:00pm (so come at 8:45pm)
    • Actual sunset is supposed to be at 9:11pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.
    • The equinox moment is at Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 9:38 AM … but we’re watching the sunset the night before not the sunrise because of how the park lines up.
  • Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts (or, if you’re not in Seattle, wherever you have a view of the western horizon!)
  • Who: Everyone welcome, as usual.
Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Parent and Child at Sunset by Kazuhiko Teramoto, skyseeker

Come watch the sunset at Solstice Park in West Seattle. The stone markers have been removed for upkeep, so if they aren’t back yet, we’ll mark the location of the sunset ourselves. The earthworks are still in place, so we can definitely still see the alignment. I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or sleet I’m staying home with some hot tea!

If you’re interested – here’s the timing of various celestial events  from Seattle, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Seattle, King County, WA (Longitude W122° 20′, Latitude N47° 38′)

June 20, 2015 Pacific Daylight Time
SUN
Begin civil twilight 4:30 a.m.
Sunrise 5:11 a.m.
Sun transit 1:11 p.m.
Sunset 9:11 p.m.
End civil twilight 9:51 p.m.

MOON
Moonrise 9:38 a.m.
Moon transit 4:44 p.m.
Moonset 11:41 p.m.

Closest Primary Moon Phase: First Quarter on June 24, 2015 at 4:02 a.m. (local daylight time)

Phase of the Moon on June 20, 2015: Waxing Crescent with 18% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.

This event is my part of the NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program, and thanks to West Seattle Blog for publicizing all of them!

Everyone is welcome, see you there!

~ A l i c e !

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