September 5, 2018

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Carefully Observing the Sky

Originally published June 23, 2009 LPOD-June23-09.jpg
image by Jay Brausch, Glen Ullin, North Dakota, USA

ALERT: Streaming video as LRO swings past Moon begins at 8:20 AM EST! Click here! Later: flyby streaming is complete - hope they make it available again...

Every day LPOD features a Moon-related image and a short interpretation of its geologic history or perhaps human history of understanding. There is another daily blog that also commonly features the Moon. For most days since September 2003 Observing the Sky has described what was visible in the sky, including planets, meteors, constellations, comets, aurora, noctilucent clouds (NLC) and often that old favorite, the Moon. I started OtS with a small NASA grant and the idea that NASA's science results would be more meaningful if normal people, in their own backyards using eyes, binocs and small telescopes, could see the things or the places in the sky where specific discoveries took place. After a while LPOD came along and my attention shifted, finally permanently, there. But OtS still keeps going, long after the funding ended because of the remarkable observational skills, graphic writing ability and dedication of it's cofounder Jay Brausch. Jay is probably the most persistent observer in the world today. He has counted sunspots, photographed aurora and NLC, and counted shooting stars nearly every day and night since the early 1980s. He has won international recognition for his observing skill and feats, and he just keeps going outside (and this is in North Dakota which has perhaps the harshest weather in the USA) every night, carefully observing the sky. For lunar observers Jay's comments are a treat in the style of writers from 125 years ago. There are descriptions of inky voids for craters largely lost beyond the terminator, and nightly notices of which features are visible and a little of how they look. Jay has documented the Moon nearly every night through more than 60 lunations - he really knows what is visible every night. Jay has little money and a hard life, but he has a more intimate relation with the cosmos than any one I've ever met.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
June 19, 2009. Digital camera, 4-sec exposure.

Related Links
C.A. Wood, J. Brausch, R. Kramer and A. Ayiomamitis, Observing the Sky and Lunar Photo of the Day: Two New Astronomy Education Web Sites. Abstracts, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, March 2004
Charles A. Wood, Jay Brausch: Observer Extraordinaire, Sky and Telescope, volume 108, number 2, page 123 (August, 2004).

Yesterday's LPOD: Inconstant Boltzmann

Tomorrow's LPOD: A Really Big Moon


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