Showing posts with label Felton Davis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Felton Davis. Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2019

Today's transit of Mercury from 2nd Avenue

Exciting day for fans of the planet Mercury, which passed directly between Earth and the Sun in an event that won’t happen again until 2032.

As this photo by Derek Berg shows, Felton Davis of the Second Avenue Star Watchers was set up near the F stop... from here, you could spot the small silhouette of Mercury moving across the Sun. (A very thick black filter blocked out 99 percent of the Sun's light, and made it safe to view.)

Here's a photo that I took with my iPhone via NASA today ...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

About the Moon passing through Orion, and other upcoming 2nd Avenue Star Watcher events

Here's a dispatch about last evening via East Village astronomy buff Felton Davis...

As Virgo rises in the East, Orion sets in the West, and the seasons change. (At last, after weeks and weeks of nothing but clouds and rain!) When the light from Aldebaran left the star 65 years ago,"Guys and Dolls" was playing at the Shubert Theater on Broadway. When the light from the Pleiades left the star cluster 400 years ago, Shakespeare was writing his plays. When the light from the Orion Nebula set forth 1,600 years ago, Rome was sacked by the Visigoths (later defeated by Attila the Hun). The crescent Moon tonight was passing through Orion between Taurus and Gemini, but was repeatedly blocked by passing clouds.

However, there will be more opportunities for sky gazing from Second Avenue and Third Street...

Upcoming events:

May 7 — near conjunction of waxing Moon and Jupiter in Virgo

June 3 — another near conjunction of waxing Moon and Jupiter

June 9 — near conjunction of full Moon and Saturn in Sagittarius

July 6 — near conjunction of waxing Moon and Saturn

August 21 — total eclipse of the Sun in the afternoon. (A partial in NYC.)

Find more 2nd Avenue Star Watcher pics here.

Illustrations/photos here courtesy of Felton Davis

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Your chance to see the Moon and Jupiter meet in Virgo from 3rd Street

Last night, Felton Davis had his telescope set up on Third Street as "the almost-full waxing gibbous moon begins its monthly sweep in front of the constellation Virgo, where, it so happens, the dazzling planet Jupiter also resides."

Felton will be back out this evening at 8:30 ... outside Maryhouse at 55 Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. As he said in the comments, "prepare to watch Europa (in the news lately because of its detectable atmosphere) pass in front of Jupiter, casting a shadow!"

And thanks to Grant Shaffer for these photos.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

For views of the Moon and Jupiter this weekend

Via East Village astronomy buff Felton Davis...

For the next three nights, the Moon will grow to full sliding through the constellation Virgo, and passing by the bright star Spica, and the planet Jupiter. If the weather is clear I will set up directly in front of Maryhouse at 55 E 3rd St. (between First Avenue and Second Avenue) starting at 8:30 pm for the Moon and hoping for a good view of Jupiter by 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Some big nights ahead for the Second Avenue Star Watchers

Via East Village astronomy buff Felton Davis...

Amazing lineup of planets setting in the southwest this week: the sun in Ophiuchus setting at 4:30 pm, Saturn in Ophiuchus setting at 4:55 pm, Mercury in Sagittarius setting at 5:34 pm, Pluto in Sagittarius setting at 6:56 pm, Venus in Sagittarius setting at 7:30 pm, Mars in Capricorn setting at 9:30 pm, and Neptune in Capricorn setting at 11:19 pm. What a spectacle for people viewing over the Hudson from High Line Park or from Battery Park.

What does that leave for Second Avenue Star Watchers? It leaves a nice four-day old waxing crescent Moon about seven degrees north of Venus in the constellation Capricorn, and if it doesn't cloud over, later in the evening the famous Pleiades star cluster rising high in the heavens between Aries and Taurus.

If it stays clear I'll set up outside The Bean (East Third Street & Second Avenue) at 5:30 pm to show the Moon going down, but don't get your hopes up for the Pleiades, because that one is difficult to spot from the street.

Updated: Unfortunately, the cloud coverage made all this impossible this evening... Felton says he will try again tomorrow night...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Hunter’s Supermoon, night 1

[Photo by Liza Béar]

Let's start by cutting-n-pasting this from National Geographic:

Sky-watchers are gearing up for a super-sized moon that will grace evening skies this Sunday, October 16. The so-called hunter’s supermoon kicks off a lunar triple play happening over the next three months.

This month’s full moon is known in North America as the hunter’s moon. That’s because in other months, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, while the October moon rises just 30 minutes later. That offers more light overall during a 24-hour day, which came in handy for traditional hunters. [Ed note: Does this make it paleo?]

This month, the moon officially reaches its full phase at 12:23 a.m. ET (4:23 UT) on October 16, which means that the lunar disk will appear nearly equally full on the nights of both October 15 and 16.

Last night, local astronomy buff Felton Davis has his rig up on Second Avenue and East Houston for some supermoon viewing (top photo) ... Unfortunately, not everyone was buying it...

And here's a view after midnight and early this morning via Bobby Williams...

And why does the moon have a reddish tint in the first photo from Bobby? It's sunburnt, of course.

Via EarthSky:

"The orange colour of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that - when you look toward the horizon - you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead.

The atmosphere scatters blue light - that’s why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a full moon near the horizon — any full moon near the horizon — takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue."

Anyway, keep an eye up tonight... and I believe Felton will be back on Second Avenue and East Houston for a better view...

Friday, October 7, 2016

In brief, the waxing crescent moon

Via local astronomy buff Felton Davis and the Second Avenue Star Watchers...

Thanks to all who stopped by for last night's brief showing of the waxing crescent moon ... Craters Theophilus, Cyrilus, Catharna, Polybius and Piccolomini stood out in their extraordinary jaggedness as they only do on the fifth day of the lunar cycle.

Sadly the moon is still below the celestial equator, and disappeared behind the buildings by 8:15 pm. If it's clear tonight, then I'll be back out on Second Avenue and East Third Street at around 8 to show the moon passing through the center of the galaxy and into the constellation Sagittarius.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Taking in Mercury's trip across the Sun from 2nd Avenue

As previously noted, local astronomy buff Felton Davis was out at his usual spot on Second Avenue and East Third Street this morning ...

Today's event was the rare transit of Mercury across the face of the sun...EVG regular jdx shared these photos... Felton used a very thick filter to reduce the bright light of the sun for safe viewing...

[Photo by Steven]

The transit of Mercury across the sun only occurs about 13 times in a century.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Where you can watch the transit of Mercury tomorrow

Local astronomy buff Felton Davis passed along the following...

The forecast for tomorrow is partly cloudy, so we will just have to watch the skies for an opportunity to witness the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. Mercury will begin crossing at 7:13 in the morning, reach the mid-point at 10:57 am, and conclude at 2:42 in the afternoon.

I hope to show it for a couple of hours in the morning, take a lunch break, and then resume showing at 1 pm. My usual location at Second Avenue and East Third Street, or down at First Street by the F Train stop if the buildings are getting in the way of the sun. And yes, a very thick filter will be in place to reduce the bright light of the sun — that is the only safe way to view this unique event.

Here's more via an article in The Miami Herald.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Watch the Occultation of Aldebaran tonight from 2nd Avenue

East Village astronomy aficionado Felton Davis sends along the following...

High drama in the skies tonight, as Orion's long pursuit of the Pleiades is interrupted by Aldebaran disappearing behind the 10-day-old waxing Moon. Orion has been chasing the "Seven Sisters" across the winter heavens since antiquity, and will not catch them for another 30 million years. Of course by that time, both the hunter and the sisters will be 30 million years older, and the urgency of the chase somewhat dimmed.

In the meantime, the Moon passes through Taurus tonight and will occult Aldebaran — the 14th brightest star after the Sun — at about 9:30 p.m. Join me in front of The Bean at 2nd Avenue and East 3rd Street, at 9 p.m., to witness the occultation.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A pre-dawn planetary show over East 3rd Street

Local astronomy buff Felton Davis writes in this morning ...

Fantastic pre-dawn lineup of planets in the east over 3rd Street: Jupiter in Leo, Mars and Venus in Virgo, and last but not least the waning crescent Moon coming up just before the Sun.

Meanwhile, you can check out some photos of the 2nd Avenue Star Watchers right here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The planets are lining up tonight for your viewing pleasure (hopefully)

Local astronomy buff Felton Davis passed along the following …

Furnerius, Petavius, Vendelinus, and Langrenus were so jagged last night on the rim of the 2nd day old crescent moon that they looked like scabs about to be broken off. Tonight there will be a fascinating arrangement as Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Mars and the Moon all line up in the southwest at sunset.

I will set up on the corner of 2nd Avenue and East 3rd Street as usual, at about 5 p.m., but we don't have a really clear perspective toward the southwest. People may want to check out other locations.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

And now, the waxing crescent moon

Local astronomy buff Felton Davis had his gear set up earlier on Second Avenue and East Third Street ... here's a shot of the waxing crescent moon via Brian Van ...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Staring at the sun

An update from local astronomy buff Felton Davis...

We have located the "monster sunspot," and stared it down all afternoon!

A huge cluster of spots almost ten times the diameter of the Earth appeared a few days ago, and fortunately the skies cleared in time for a long session on Saturday afternoon. Many of my fans said they were disappointed that Thursday's eclipse was rained out, but this was something new for us all. Thanks to Ranjit and Chelsea for taking spectacular cellphone photos.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Capturing the lunar eclipse before it 'sank into the haze'

East Village resident and astronomy buff Felton Davis set the alarm early to capture the lunar eclipse.

He shared the following:

"Magnificent pre-dawn spectacle at Battery Park, with enormous cloud banks passing over the full moon, but occasionally parting to show the progress of the eclipse. Had to hold my hands over the tripod to keep the camera from shaking in the cold wind coming down the Hudson. The first shadow appeared at about 4:45 a.m., and the moon darkened steadily until it was no more than a sliver, and sank into the haze at 6:15 a.m."

And what about the blood moon the media is taking about today?

"There was no reddish or turquoise moon over the Hudson, just silver and grey, and most of the time behind the clouds."

Our next shot at a blood moon is April 4, 2015.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Last night's waxing moon

Here's a report from local astronomy buff Felton Davis:

It rained all day Saturday, and that must have washed a lot of soot out of the atmosphere, because the waxing moon came up unusually sharp and clear. Gassendi Crater on the edge of the Mare Humorum was spectacular as the shadow of the sun receded across its sharp edges and central blip. And down and to the left of Tycho was another stretch of jagged craters that will all look smooth on Tuesday night when the moon is full.

The eclipse of the moon will take place just before dawn on Wednesday, Oct. 8, as the earth passes directly between the rising sun and setting moon.

We've had a whole lot of partly-cloudy-chance-of-showers in the last week, so don't get your hopes up for anything different on Wednesday. If it is clear, all the way down to the horizon, I plan to get on the #5 Train to Bowling Green at 4:30 am, and walk over to Battery Park. The moon will set long before the eclipse is over.

It's too cold and too far away to bring the telescope, but anyone with a camera and a tripod should be able to get some amazing photos. Will the darkened moon set over the Statue of Liberty, over Ellis Island, or north of Ellis Island? I have no idea!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crescent moon over 2nd Avenue last evening

Here's a report from local astronomy buff Felton Davis… from last night:

A crystal clear night, and the crescent moon was out and over 2nd Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Later tonight it will pass directly over the planet Saturn — a rare occultation — but not visible from the streets of Manhattan. How high would a person have to be to see this occultation? About 2,548 miles. Let's be grateful for what we can see at street level!

… and Bobby Williams took this photo at 7:42 p.m. from his observatory…

Friday, September 5, 2014

Waxing moon over 2nd Avenue

Local astronomy buff Felton Davis was out last night on Second Avenue near East First Street for some moon gazing. It's a warm-up of sorts for next week.

"I only hope that the Full Moon on Monday will be as cool and clear."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Last night's nearly full moon over 2nd Avenue

Local astronomy buff Felton Davis was out last night with his telescope.

A quick report from him: "The nearly full moon rose up over 2nd Avenue and East 1st Street by 8 pm, and three hours later there was still a long line of people waiting to see it as it slowly arced over the intersection."

… and another view from a different location via @heathterry

In other moon news, via

"The largest full moon of 2014 rises tonight (Aug. 10) … August's full moon, a so-called "supermoon," rises when the natural satellite is at perigee — the closest point to Earth in its orbit. It is the second of three supermoons this summer, according to NASA."