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Nebraska Star Party

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Old 09-02-2018, 02:12 PM
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Jim Colyer (Offline)
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Default Nebraska Star Party

The Nebraska Star Party was at the Merritt State Recreational Area, south of Valentine. I arrived on August 8, 2018, had a good dinner & drank plenty of liquid. You can get thirsty out here.

Planets were the whole show! I first noticed Venus in the west, then Jupiter, Saturn & Mars. I had never seen 4 planets strung out along the Zodiac like that. Mars was as close as it was in 2003, and actually outshone Jupiter. Mars was at opposition (opposite the sun), meaning it rose at sunset and set at sunrise. Up all night! I tried to visualize what was happening. The planets and the sun stayed put. It was Earth that was turning west to east. Facing south, I saw Scorpius and picked out the teapot of Sagittarius. Above me was the Summer Triangle of Vega, Deneb & Altair. Seeing these stars took me back to 1961 and 1962. I felt like I was in my parents' yard on Aiken Road. I miss my parents! Toward morning, we had turned toward Orion. I saw a waning crescent moon and its earthshine, Earth lighting up the lunar night. I observed that the horns of the moon point away from the sun. As our spot on Earth again rotated toward the sun, the sun's rays were reflected to the ground by our atmosphere before the sun itself was visible. Morning twilight! Earth would continue to rotate west to east until the sun again disappeared below the horizon and the 4 planets were once more visible.

I hoped to see the Perseid meteor shower in its glory, but it was not meant to be. I realized 1964 would never be topped.

I have attended 7 star parties in 22 years going back to the one in Indiana in 1996.


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