Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, December 4, 2016

permit denied!

The good news that the permit for the pipeline has been denied may not last long. After all, Trump has said he supports it and he has a business interest in the pipeline. I don't see what is so hard about re-routing the pipeline around the Sioux nation. It's long past time we quit fucking over the Indians.

It's the "official" video.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

SNL 3 Dec

Humor and truth are the only weapons we have left, I suppose. Perhaps satire, because we know it really gets to the orange clown.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December stargazing, Pt. 2

There is always more.
Indulge in the fantasy.
Build a better world. - The Night Sky, December 2016

Venus and Mars After Sunset, Geminids 'Rain' And More In Dec. 2016 Skywatching | Video
Venus and Mars can be viewed in the southwestern skies after sunset. The Perseus and Cassiopeia constellations are excellent skywatching targets. Also in mid-December, the Geminid meteor shower will peak. 

The December full moon, known as the Oak Moon, Cold Moon or Long Nights Moon, always shines in or near the stars of Taurus. It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky. This month's full moon occurs only one day after the moon reaches perigee, the point in its orbit closest to earth. As a result, this full moon will appear slightly larger and brighter, sometimes referred to as a supermoon, and we'll also experience extra high tides. This full moon coincides with the peak of the Geminid meteor shower, spoiling the show. 

On Wednesday, December 21 at 5:44 a.m. EST, the sun reaches its southernmost declination for the year, resulting in the shortest day of the year for the northern hemisphere and the longest day of the year for the southern hemisphere. 

The Ursid meteor shower runs from December 17 to 23. It peaks in the wee hours of Thursday, December 22, so the best time to observe will be from midnight to dawn that morning. The moon will be a waning crescent in the sky during the peak. The shower's radiant is above the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) near Polaris. 
  • Adjust to the dark: If you wish to observe faint objects, such as meteors or dim stars, give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness.
  • Light Pollution: Even from a big city, one can see the moon, a handful of bright stars and sometimes the brightest planets. But to fully enjoy the heavens — especially a meteor shower, the constellations, or to see the amazing swath across the sky that represents our view toward the center of the Milky Way Galaxy — rural areas are best for night sky viewing. If you're stuck in a city or suburban area, a building can be used to block ambient light (or moonlight) to help reveal fainter objects. If you're in the suburbs, simply turning off outdoor lights can help.
  • Prepare for skywatching: If you plan to be out for more than a few minutes, and it's not a warm summer evening, dress warmer than you think necessary. An hour of observing a winter meteor shower can chill you to the bone. A blanket or lounge chair will prove much more comfortable than standing or sitting in a chair and craning your neck to see overhead.
  • Daytime skywatching: When Venus is visible (that is, not in front of or behind the sun) it can often be spotted during the day. But you'll need to know where to look. A sky map is helpful. When the sun has large sunspots, they can be seen without a telescope. However, it's unsafe to look at the sun without protective eyewear. See our video on how to safely observe the sun, or our safe sunwatching infographic.
Much more at the original. Good luck to everyone.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Stargazing

The end of 2016 is upon us and much change is in store. Despite the events of the previous month, keep looking up!

Earliest Sunsets
The year's earliest sunsets come over the next couple of weeks, even though the shortest day of the year isn't until December 21, the winter solstice. The date of earliest sunset happens first at southern latitudes, then works northward.

Stargazing Summary
The Summer Triangle takes a bow as it prepares to exit the evening sky for another year. It's well up in the west as night falls, with Vega, its brightest member, forming the lower right point. It drops from view before midnight. In the meantime, Gemini climbs higher into the evening sky. Look for its "twins," the stars Pollux and Castor, low in the east at nightfall, with the rest of the constellation spreading above and to the right. The planets Venus and Mars move toward each other this month, with orange Mars to the upper left of Venus, the Evening Star. They'll pass each other in early 2017.

More stargazing information

Radio Program Highlights
If you want to start hearing the StarDate program in your area, you can request a station to carry our program by emailing the request to

December 1-4: Early to bed. The Sun is heading for bed earlier than at any other time of year about now, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about some super-fast clouds on the planet Venus. Join us for this and much more.

December 5-11: Off to war. The United States entered World War II 75 years ago this week, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Many astronomers joined the war effort, while a few kept their eyes on the stars. Join us for this and more.

December 12-18: Dark giant. A galaxy that glides across the southern sky on December nights is home to one of the biggest black holes yet seen — one that's thousands of times bigger than the central black hole in the Milky Way. Join us for this and more.

December 19-25: Holiday skies. This is a great week to enjoy the beautiful night sky, as the Moon passes by a bright star and planet, and the brilliant constellations of winter climb into view. Join us for holiday skies, plus a preview of spring skies.

December 26-31: Deep freeze. The realm beyond the Sun's major planets is filled with frigid balls of ice and rock, including the most famous of them all, Pluto. Join us for Pluto and much more in the deep freeze of the outer solar system.

Program schedule »

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Coming up in StarDate Magazine
Our next issue is the 2017 Sky Almanac. We'll bring you a year's worth of skywatching tips, skymaps, anniversaries in astronomy and space flight, and more.

Subscribe today

News from the Observatory
Massey, Armandroff to Lead GMT Board
The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) announced the appointment of Walter E. Massey, PhD, and McDonald Observatory Director Taft Armandroff, PhD, to the positions of Board Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Continuing their involvement in new leadership capacities, Massey and Armandroff will guide the GMTO Board, overseeing the construction of the 24.5 meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in the Chilean Andes and working to complete the partnership of universities, research institutions and private donors who will contribute to the construction and operation of the GMT.



Mother Jones - Politics