Tag Archives: Stephen Ramsden

Weather Update For International SUNday On The Onondaga Creekwalk – Scheduled For Saturday Afternoon, 4 to 6 p.m.

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

Weather update: The forecast for CNY does not look promising for the official Int’l SUNDay on the 21st, so we’re going to instead run a session on Saturday afternoon at our usual downtown location. We’ll be providing a final weather update on Saturday, 12:00 p.m.

11174816_10155510931665088_9158140535153847873_nWith special thanks to Stephen W. Ramsden, The Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project, Rainbow Symphony and Lunt Solar Systems, CNYO’s second hosting of International SUNday is going to include (for the first 100 people, anyway) an extra dose of solar safety. Stephen et al. have made available 100 solar glasses to send off to organizations hosting International SUNday events!

CNYO ran a session for International SUNday on the Onondaga Creekwalk last June 22nd (see the observing log HERE), complete with H-alpha and Baader scopes (and we even had a good day for it, which is a bit of a rarity in CNY). I learned about the event from Stephen’s talk at NEAF 2014, where I found his lecture to be equally informative and inspiring.

I urge you to check out the website and Facebook page for the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project – the amount of outreach Stephen does is tremendous (I am also happy to direct your attention to the Donate Button on the Project’s website to show a little love).

We’ll again host the session along the Armory Square slice of the Creekwalk – again next to Walt The Loch West Monster.

We hope you can join us on Saturday, June 20st in giving a little extra attention to our nearest star and reason why we’re all here!

CNYO Saw The March 20th Total Eclipse With Barlow Bob Shining Bright

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

It’s almost impossible in today’s super-connected world to not see astronomical events, even when they’re several time zones away. The March 20th total eclipse over the UK and Northern Europe was certainly evidence of that, with video, aerial video, and thousands and thousands of pictures taken (see the gallery on this eclipse’s wikipedia page for a nice summary).

As a fun aside, the visit summary for the last few weeks is shown below, courtesy of our WordPress Jetpack plug-in.

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As you can see, we’re usually in the 50’s and 60’s every day (mostly directed from search engines). On March 20th, we spiked like gamma ray burst, reaching 328 visitors. A noticeable bump that returned to normal on the 23rd.

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The large number of visitors (219) all seemed to favor a single page – the late, great Barlow Bob’s two articles on the benefits and use of the Sunspotter. I’ve no idea if the Sunspotter is a big hit in Europe or if people were simply searching frantically for anything solar safety and eclipse-related, but the numbers (for the 20th, anyway), don’t lie. It is my suspicion that many a google’er came across one article or another from Barlow Bob in their solar searches, and we’re happy to have a few of his articles hosted here for others to find as the upcoming eclipses occur.

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Barlow Bob as captured at NEAF. Image courtesy of stargeezerradio.com.

2015march21_11069934_907214125998103_6014315920335880905_nFrom the “I wouldn’t have ever thought of that” department, and as an even more fun aside, the following image came across my Facebook feed courtesy of Stephen W. Ramsden, the main man behind the great Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project. Someone outside of The Feathers Inn in Stocksfield, UK captured the image at right (click the image for a larger view) of the eclipse being projected through a pasta strainer. A capital(-saving) idea!

And to show the importance of search terms to google, the searches for “eclipse strainer” and “eclipse colander” produce some very different results favoring the “eclipse colander” (for the purpose highlighted here, anyway). The UK version of the Huffington Post even featured an article for the March eclipse on their site (Solar Eclipse 2015 Sees The Humble Colander Come Into Its Own).

I think the kids below explain the procedure simply enough. One can only assume that some seriously ornate eclipse observing will happen if the Moon ever finds itself between the Sun and Tuscany.

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This all remarks back to a point we cannot stress enough – Solar observing is fun, but definitely not a game! Never-never-never stare directly at the Sun through any kind of magnifying optics! Don’t noodle around if you don’t have proper filters – solar projection is the way to go. Just as Bob Piekiel and Larry Slosberg demonstrate below.

CNYO Observing Log: Two Solar Highlights – International SUN-Day And A Space Science Morning At The MOST

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

A post to the CNYO Facebook Page by Pamela Shivak of International SUN-Day and the equally great Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project about the 2015 Int. SUN-Day reminded me that the CNYO event for 22 June 2014 hadn’t been posted yet. Ergo…

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Dave Wormuth and passers-by at Larry’s NMT. Click for a larger view.

There for the duration of CNY’s edition of the International SUN-Day 2014 were Larry Slosberg, Bob Piekiel, Dave Wormuth, George Wong, and myself, plus Larry’s Baader-ized 12″ New Moon Telescope Dob, Bob’s 60 mm Coronado SolarMax II, my trusty Coronado PST, and a few pairs of official Charlie Bates Solar Astro solar glasses direct from Stephen Ramsden’s lecture at NEAF 2014 (George demonstrating their usage below).

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George demonstrating proper technique. Click for a larger view.

The day was excellent for solar observing (made so by the presence of a few trees to provide a little shade) and our two hour session ended up hosting about 30 people, a few of whom definitely took their time to enjoy the view, then many who took a quick glance, then another out of surprise, then attempted the ritual smart phone documentation of the view. As one can see below, the Coronado PST lets in more than enough red light to saturate the iPhone CCD camera. Whereas your eye is insensitive enough to provide you some very nice surface and prominence detail, the image below just barely gives you a view of otherwise wispy visual prominences.

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The H-alpha’ed Sun saturating a CCD. Click for a larger view.

Only a few of the attendees knew in advance from the website, twitter feed, or Facebook page. The others were simply caught as passers-by taking in the Creekwalk and Armory Square. The busy weekend being what it was, I even managed a short music conversation with the tour manager for Don Felder (who’d played with Foreigner and Styx the night before), himself taking in a bike tour of the Creekwalk and greater Syracuse area. And, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t get a couple of the leisurely strollers to veer our way to take in views. If you ever see us set up and observing, we hope you’ll line right up behind an eyepiece and take a look!

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Larry explaining everything. Click for a larger view.

Not too long after Int. SUN-Day, CNYO members received a request from Nancy Volk at The MOST to lend our solar scopes to a group of area 8th graders taking in a series of Space Science demos on the morning of 18 July 2014. Friday’s being what they are, I was left to sneak out on my own to run a mini solar session with just the Coronado PST and Bates Solar Glasses.

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The last of four outdoor sessions. Click for a larger view.

The morning session ended 3 hours later with no small amount of Armory Square drama unrelated to the session, the telling and re-telling of every solar fact I could come up with, and 70 enlightened students and teachers.

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Demonstrating the relative motions of the inner planets. Click for a larger view.

Instructive Demo Of The Day: Solar glasses and a +100 lumen flashlight are themselves an excellent combination in a pinch, as all can agree that the pre-filtered light is blindingly bright, while everyone around the glasses-wearing test subject gets a good laugh from seeing the flashlight waved within an inch of thin Baader film separating the wearer from a really bad case of temporary blindness.

We’ve now the official word on International SUN-Day 2015 – June 21st to be exact. Expect CNYO members to be somewhere (likely the Creekwalk again) hosting another session (weather-permitting, as usual)!