Observing Sketch

15 04 2017

April 14, 2017, around 8:30 p.m. Diameter of Jupiter = 43 arcseconds. Meade DS-10 Newtonian refractor @ 35×. Image: JR

Observing Sketch

23 02 2017

Recreating Matt’s bino tour from the March 2017 issue of Sky & Telescope:

The “Fertile Crescent” region of Monoceros. 15×70 binos. February 22, 2017. Image: JR

Scenes from a Cruise Ship

11 02 2017

View from Norwegian Escape, 8 × 42 binos, February 9, 2017. Image: JR

Penumbral Eclipse, February 10, 2017. Image: JR

Charioteer’s Cross

6 01 2017

In the November 2016 issue of Sky & Telescope, Matt Wedel wrote about his observations of a crucifom asterism on the Auriga / Lynx border. I took a few minutes last week to sketch the field as seen with small binos (8 × 42s). I was unable to resolve any stars in NGC 2281, of course; it was more of a suggestion than anything when viewed with handhelds. My goal on our next clear night is to return to the view with the 12 × 70s on a tripod.

Sketch of Charioteer's Cross asterism

View of Psi (Ψ) Aurigae through 8 × 42 binoculars, 6.5° field of view. January 1, 2017. Image: JR

Neptune-Mars Conjunction

2 01 2017

January 1, 2017, around 8:30 p.m. Celestron Nexstar 130, Maynard, MA. Image: JR

New England Fall Astronomy Festival 2016

8 09 2016

NEFAFNEFAF is back! The New England Fall Astronomy Festival is this weekend, September 9 & 10 (Friday and Saturday) at the Durham campus of University of New Hampshire. This year’s special guest and keynote speaker is Dr. Seth Shostak (SETI). He’ll be talking to students and faculty on Friday, September 9th at 1:00 PM in the Strafford Room on the UNH-Durham campus and also giving the Keynote Address from 7:00-8:15 p.m. at the Main Tent at UNH Observatory.

There are tons of activities on the schedule for kids (building rockets!) this weekend, in addition to lectures from notable amateur and professional astronomers aimed at the adults in the crowd. Don’t miss the Saturday afternoon discussion panel with John Gianforte (The Sky Guy), Dr. David Kipping, Dr. Seth Shostak, Dr. Suzanne Young, and Dr. Harlan Spence. And stick around: S&T‘s Kelly Beatty will be talking about the 2017 total solar eclipse. 

On Friday night, Joel Harris will give a tour of the night sky for novice observers. Marc Stowbridge will be giving the Saturday night sky tour. I’ve been looking at the sky my entire life, and I still haven’t gotten tired of listening to/watching sky tours. The UNH Observatory will be open, so this is your chance to look through a 14-inch telescope.

I’m reprinting the full NEFAF schedule here, but you should check out the NEFAF facebook page for more details.

NEFAF Program Listing for Friday, September 9

1:00-2:15 PM: Dr. Seth Shostak Lecture (Strafford Room MUB-UNH)
4:00-6:00 PM: Special Reception for Dr. Shostak (tickets required) (Three Chimneys Inn)
7:00-8:15 PM: Keynote Address NEFAF Kick-Off (Main Tent UNH Observatory)
8:15 PM- ?: General Night Sky Observing (UNH Observatory & Surrounding Fields)
8:15-8:45 PM: Joel Harris (NHAS) Beginners’ Laser Pointer Sky Tour (UNH Observatory & Surrounding Fields)
9:00-9:30 PM: Joel Harris (NHAS) Beginners’ Laser Pointer Sky Tour (UNH Observatory & Surrounding Fields)

NEFAF Program Listing for Saturday, Sept 10, 2016

10:00 AM: NEFAF Gates Open
*Ramon’s Food & Coffee Cart Open Morning, Noon and Night
10:00-4:30 PM: Kids’ Hands On Science Activity Center (Main Tent)
10:00-6:30 PM: Search the NEFAF Universe for Clues! NEFAF AstroScavenger Hunt! Start your hunt in the Main Tent.
10:00-4:30 PM: Kids’ AstroGames Outside Game Venue (East of Observatory)
11:00-12:00 PM: NHAS Telescope Clinic – Care for neglected or uncooperative telescopes (NHAS Booth in the Main Tent)
10:00 AM: Raffle Ticket Sales Open – Front Gate, Main Tent near microphone and roving sales throughout the day!
10:00-6:30 PM: A Walk Through the Solar System (North Field)
11:00 AM: Safe Solar Observing (Observatory & just outside the NHAS Booth – Main Tent)
11:00-12:15 PM: Want to be a Rocketeer? Join a class to build and launch your own rocket! (Main Tent) (each of three classes is limited to 15; sign-up is required on site)
12:30-1:45 PM: Want to be a Rocketeer? Join a class to build and launch your own rocket! (Main Tent) (each of three classes is limited to 15; sign-up is required on site)
2:00-3:15 PM: Want to be a Rocketeer? Join a class to build and launch your own rocket! (Main Tent) (each of three classes is limited to 15; sign-up is required on site)
3:00 PM: Solar Oven Cook-Off! Whose solar oven design is best at cooking a snack? (Outside of Main Tent)


11:00 AM: Bob Villeux NHAS Rocks From Space!
12:00 PM: Jeff Baumgardner Boston University Everything you Wanted to Know About Telescopes
1:00 PM: Rich DeMidio NHAS About the New Hampshire Astronomical Society
1:30 PM: ASTRO PANEL Dr. David Kipping, Dr. Seth Shostak, Dr. Suzanne Young, Dr. Harlan Spence and John Gianforte
2:45 PM: J. Kelly Beatty Sky & Telescope Magazine Where and How to View the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
3:45 PM: Dr. David Mattingly UNH, Physics Gravity Waves – What They Tell us About the Universe
4:35 PM: John Blackwell Phillips Exeter Academy A Look at LARGE Telescopes in Chile!
5:15 PM: RAFFLE DRAWINGS! (Outside Main Tent)
6:00 PM -?: Night Sky Observing (UNH Observatory and Surrounding Observing Areas)
7:30-8:00 PM: Marc Stowbridge (NHAS) Laser Pointer Sky Tour (Beginners’ Observatory Area)
9:00-9:30 PM: Marc Stowbridge (NHAS) Laser Pointer Sky Tour (Advanced Observatory Area)


  • New Hampshire Astronomical Society (NHAS)
  • University of New Hampshire Physics Department
  • Mount Washington Observatory (MWO)
  • McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (M-SDC)
  • UNH Society of Black Engineers
  • University of New Hampshire Techcamp
  • Gloucester Area Astronomy Club (GAAC)

Beta Scorpii

17 06 2016

Beta Scorpii, June 26, 2016, Maynard, MA, 8×42 binoculars. Image: JR

Transit of Mercury

9 05 2016

The day started out a bit cool, with me running around the house trying to find a good spot to set up. Started on the front sidewalk, but soon moved to the backyard. Spent most of the day observing, punctuated with frisbee breaks. I wish I had sketched more carefully to capture the effects of Earth-Sun rotation.

Backyard. 130-mm reflector w/white light filter, Coronado PST.


21 12 2015

iPhone image through Sky Watcher 90-mm Mak, December 20, 2015. Image: JR



12 12 2015

Binocular observations of Uranus. November 3rd was actually my 2nd attempt, as 1st attempt was thwarted by scavenging skunk. Cool but not cold, light haze, Metrowest light pollution. Pisces is dim dim dim.

November 3, 2015, Maynard, MA, 8×42 binos. Image: JR