Out in Space, Back on Land

Out in Space – Now With More Clusters!

Last night, we went to the Goethe Link Observatory for some star gazing with fellow star geeks. Keep in mind, I am more or less just along for the ride when it comes to star gazing. I enjoy staring up into space, to be sure, and I especially appreciate stars of the shooting variety. Chris is really the expert, though, when it comes to all things telescope-y; he needs to do a proper update about sun funnels, Venus transits, and all that lovely jazz (hint, hint).

20120611. Goethe Link Observatory, Martinsville, IN.

My favorite finds of the evening: M7, or Ptolemy’s Cluster. I found this cluster by accident with Chris’ awesome binoculars. My method of star gazing basically means I wildly scan all over the sky with the scope or binoculars until something different crosses my field of vision. This was definitely something different. M7 is a relatively close 800 to 1000 light-years away and resides within the Orion spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. You can see it with the naked eye at the end of the stinger on Scorpio. Ptolemy first mentioned it in 130 AD.

From NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day.

Saturn never ceases to amaze, too. I actually found this one the other night from our backyard. I pointed the telescope at what looked like just another bright star… and realized something was off. It had a RING. And that is how we found Saturn. While it wasn’t QUITE this clear, we could see the rings and several of Saturn’s bazillion moons.

From NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day.

Chris’ fave: the Coat Hanger Asterism. This was totally viewable with binoculars (actually, we couldn’t see it with the telescope because it zoomed in too far). Like the Big Dipper, this is really just a chance alignment of stars rather than a cluster. So sparkly, so pretty.

From NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day.

Back on Land

Last night, our heads were in the stars. This morning, I was decidedly back on Earth, digging in the dirt first thing (er… at 10:30 AM – hey, whatever, we didn’t even get home until 3 AM!) and planting beet seeds, turnips, and cabbage. Our garden is starting to get its legs, and I have green tomatoes, tons of baby yellow squash, harvestable green beans, hot peppers, and basil that is just screaming to be made into gallons upon gallons of pesto.

Which brings me to the updated canning report, now with hot peppers!

June 2012:

  • Honeyed Green Hot Peppers (2 jars) – Canned today, I used a modified recipe for honeyed jalapeno pepper halves from my Canning for a New Generation book (I cut out the allspice). This is one of the best things I canned last fall when, faced with a killer frost, I was forced to harvest over 200 green cayenne peppers. I am totally not sure if I’m using the right recipe, but I really hope I am!
  • Pickled Beets (2 jars)
  • Classic Pickle Spears (3 jars)
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5 thoughts on “Out in Space, Back on Land

  1. I’ve never looked at the night sky with a telescope. Yet another thing that I hope to do during my life. I do have an excellent view of the stars where I’m at, though. Very little pollution and light make for some beautiful night skies. :)

    • You’ve never looked at the stars through a telescope?! MY DEAR!!! This must be remedied! Particularly in your neck of the woods – I am SO JEALOUS of how many stars and amazing things you can likely see up there! We are headed out to Colorado soon and are packing the fancy binoculars and tripod just so we can see a little bit. You can actually see some pretty cool stuff with a good set of binocs, to be honest. I saw Jupiter and its moons a couple of winters ago for the first time with them.

      • I never thought to try it with binoculars! My father just gave me his first pair (whoa – synchronicity??), so the next clear night, I’m going for it!

    • So very true – but we do what we can! We are able to see really bright things (like planets) from the backyard, but it was so amazing to see clusters and much dimmer objects. Where we were wasn’t even that excellent, to be honest – I wish we could drag the telescope out to Colorado!

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