Archive for the 'Astronomy' Category

April Star Maps

Star Map Vancouver, BC, Local time: Apr23 at 9PM The days are becoming longer, and there are more clear evenings ahead. Is this the summer when you will learn the constellations?

If there is interest, I’ll post free star maps which you are welcome to print and take outside.

This evening, as the daylight fades, here is what you can expect to see overhead. The map is for tonight around Vancouver, BC… but will work for any mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere.

Star Map showing constellations on Apr23 at 9PMSaturn is the only visible planet.

You will probably recognize the Big Dipper high overhead… but on the Constellation Map you will see that the Dipper is actually part of Ursa Major (the Big Bear).

The last map is for around 11 PM when the sky is darker. All of these maps are thumbs — please click them to see them at full-size.

Please let me know if these maps are useful.
Star Map showing the constellations about 11 PM April 23


My first legacy blog – Halley’s Comet

Comet Halley 1910

Comet Halley 1910

This is my first attempt at a true Legacy Blog. I believe I created the concept, and researched it with the post, An experiment in time travel. That article (seemingly posted in 1988), and the correspondence with WordPress (included in the comments below that post) showed that blog articles can be dated at any time in history after 1970.

For two years  in the mid-80s I wrote a weekly astronomy column for the Winnipeg Free Press. I began with my reports about the approach of Comet Halley. Those articles are now nowhere on the Internet. The newspaper informed me that we own joint copyright to that material. So, my plan is to gradually post those articles as if I was blogging at the time. They will be date stamped with the actual date of publication. You can find them at The Return of Comet Halley.

Winnipeg Total Solar Eclipse February 26, 1979

At the planetarium, we’ve been planning for this event for over two years. The doctors (Medical Association) said there  is no safe way to watch the eclipse—so there is considerable fear about the dangerous eclipse rays. This silly announcement has created considerable confusion and hysteria. Many schools would not permit their students to watch the eclipse, as a result many families kept their children at home.

At the Manitoba Planetarium we knew that thousands of people would be travelling here to observe the eclipse, and that there were some simple measures that people could take to observe and enjoy the whole event. We ran planetarium programs, courses, and distributed Eclipse Visors — glasses in cardboard frames to permit safe viewing of the partial phases. The most important part of the Visors was the information printed on the glasses and the package. I wrote it. If anyone in a group had one of the Visors, everyone would have the information to view the event safely. After the eclipse, a study by the Optometric Society announced that no one in our region suffered permanent eye damage.

With CBC’s Bill Guest, I co-hosted the live coverage of the total eclipse. Yes we were outdoors — on the roof of the CBC building in Winnipeg.

The recording of that program is here:

A simulation of the eclipse and the timings of the events is here:

Robert's professional sites:
Ballantyne and Associates

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