Venus at Maximum Elongation

Crescent Venus
Venus approaching inferior conjunction, 24Dec2013

Today Venus is passing through maximum elongation, the highest elevation it will attain in the dawn sky for this apparition.

The planet is currently 47° ahead of the rising Sun. After today the brilliant planet will slide back into the glow of dawn headed for superior conjunction on August 13th, and an evening apparition starting in mid-September.

Jan 20th Total Lunar Eclipse

The next full Moon on January 20th, will feature a sunset total lunar eclipse visible across the islands. The eclipsed Moon will rise just as the Sun sets on the opposite horizon.

Total Lunar Eclipse Aug 28,2007
Total lunar eclipse August 28, 2007

The eclipse will be just underway as the Moon rises on the island of Hawaii, with the Moon rising at almost exactly 18:00HST and the total phase of the eclipse starting 41 minutes later. Maximum will occur at 19:12HST with the Moon 14° above the horizon.

January 20, 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse
Event ContactUT HST
Penumbral BeginsP1 02:36:2816:36:28
Partial Begins U1 03:33:5517:33:55
Total Begins U2 04:41:1818:41:18
Greatest EclipseMax05:12:1819:12:18
Total Ends U3 05:43:1819:43:18
Partial Ends U4 06:50:4220:50:42
Penumbral Ends P4 07:48:0521:48:05
Data from Fred Espenak’s eclipse website

Many references state that the eclipse will occur on January 21st, and it will, in time zones further east than us here in Hawaii. We are ten hours behind UT, thus it will be the evening of the 20th when the eclipse occurs in the islands.

An easy to view evening eclipse, no reason not to get out and view this one, no need for an alarm clock!

Perihelion

Earth’s perihelion will occur at 19:20HST today.

Sunrise over Georgia Strait
Sunrise over Georgia Strait

Perihelion occurs when the Earth reaches its closest distance to the Sun for the year.

It may seem odd to some the perihelion occurs in the middle of winter. One must recall that the distance from the Sun is not the cause of our seasons, that is the effects of axial tilt.

2019 Apsides and Seasons
Event Universal TimeHawaii Standard Time
Perihelion Jan 0305:20UTJan 0219:20HST
Spring Equinox Mar 2021:58UTMar 2011:58HST
Summer SolsticeJun 2115:54UTJun 2105:54HST
Aphelion Jul 0422:11UTJul 0412:11HST
Fall Equinox Sep 2307:50UTSep 2221:50HST
Winter SolsticeDec 2204:19UTDec 2118:19HST
Data from US Naval Observatory Data Services

The Island Sky for 2019

2019 is looking to be a pretty ordinary year for events, with a few decent events to look forward to. The highlights will be a sunset total lunar eclipse on January 20th, the η-Aquariids meteor shower in early May, a transit of Mercury in November, and a nice set of planetary conjunctions in the sunset and sunrise.

Awaiting dark with the 20" telescope
Andrew Unger beside the 20″ Obsession while waiting for properly dark skies at Kaʻohe

There are dozens of posts scheduled here on DarkerView to remind my readers of these and many more events before they occur. Frankly, I need the reminder myself. Stay tuned for all of the great events the sky of 2019 will offer us.

The remainder of this post is a quick summary of the events our sky has to offer in 2019.

Continue reading “The Island Sky for 2019”

Saturn at Superior Conjunction

Today Saturn passes through superior conjunction, rounding the far side of the Sun as seen from our earthbound vantage point.

Saturn
Saturn on April 15th, 2016

Saturn will re-emerge in the dawn sky towards the end of the month. Look for the planet low in the glow of dawn, rising higher each day. It will swing by Venus on February 18th, passing about a degree away.

Saturn will pass through opposition on July 9th, crossing into the evening sky.

Favorite Posts of 2018

While the top posts of 2018 are interesting, the list is quite different when treated to a list of my favorite posts of 2018. The posts chronicle a very eventful year, a little too eventful perhaps. Fire and destruction was brought to a large section of the island, the entire island shaking and shuddering as the volcano erupted.

Fissure 8 Lava Fountain
The lava fountain at fissure 8 in Leilani Estates throwing lava hundreds of feet in the air on June 4th, 2018

As I compile this list I relive 2018 a bit, recalling good memories and the year’s many adventures. As I often state… DarkerView is a blog in the old sense, a web-log or online diary. It may be public, but it is also quite personal, a record of my life.

That is a long list!  I find myself unable to shorten that list by much, indeed, there are good posts that should be added.  The length of that list states one thing very clearly…  2018 was an eventful, interesting year.

A distinct change in this year was my increased political activity, particularly as it surrounds Mauna Kea. I am not just discussing blogging here, there was more… From submitting written testimony on state legislative actions, to attending public meetings, and testifying on issues I feel strongly about. The blog posts record some of that, but by no means all.

The year was eventful on the mauna. With record bad weather in the beginning of the year ruining many night of observing. there was plenty to keep my busy through the year. There is much to feel satisfied about, a few nice accomplishments, even a small victory or two.

The annual Alaskan voyage may very well be my last, my father is considering selling the boat, something that was always part of his plan. Certainly this was my last run along the Inside Passage, a milestone that I mark with some sorrow.

I re-read my written memories here, recall much of what has happened this year. I suspect that 2018 will stand out in my memory when other years have grown dim with fading memory.

Kiholo Bay by Drone
Kiholo Bay taken by the Mavic Air

2018 In Photos

The Moon and Venus

e Moon, Venus and Aldebaran
The Moon, Venus and Aldebaran join up for an evening conjunction

The year begins with a nice pairing of a 17% crescent Moon and a brilliant Venus just 2° apart before dawn tomorrow on New year’s Day. Jupiter and Mercury are also visible in the glow of sunrise below the pair.

The month of January will feature a clutch of bright planets in the dawn. Mercury will disappear into the sun’s glare to be replaced by Saturn emerging from superior conjunction mid-month, joining Venus and Jupiter.

Top Posts of 2018

Examining the most popular posts for the year shows trends we have seen in the past. Certain subjects have a very long lifetime, with steady interest and thus search engine hits. The backyard telescope pier plans continue to be one of my all time most popular posts, it has been in the top spot for a few years running. In general a number of amateur astronomy how-to articles are represented on the list.

Other articles reflect what was popular this year. Getting to the lava may now be obsolete, but the eruptions and the news boosted this post into my top rankings. Canon mirrorless cameras also garner a lot of news this year, and thus more hits on DarkerView.

1A Backyard Telescope Pier2,358
2Repairing a Wii Balance Board1,085
3Astrophotography with the EOS-M889
4Restoring an Orange Tube Celestron C8644
5Viewing the ISS599
6Rewiring a Celestron NexStar Telescope595
7Starscape Photography568
8Visiting the Summit of Mauna Kea529
9Light-years, Light-minutes and Light-seconds524
10Old School Drive Corrector503
11Shooting the Canon EOS M5487
12Emergency Alert Fatigue397
13Tragedy on Mauna Kea380
14End-of-Road Puakō374
15Getting to the Lava374

The message is clear, while the new articles on DarkerView are popular, it is the old articles that form a legacy here. People continue to search for and read a lot of the old material on the blog, a result that gives me some satisfaction.