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A slightly blurry view of Mount Princeton from Buena Vista
|| 12/29/2008 || 9:00 pm || Comments Off on A slightly blurry view of Mount Princeton from Buena Vista || ||

Today we drove to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs near the ghost town of Nathrop, Colorado, nine miles outside of Buena Vista, Colorado. There are about are forty springs around the resort, with two main pools, that have a flow of hot water aggregating to about 1,000,000 gallons daily (in 1904). The springs are known to be beneficial for rheumatism, cutaneous diseases, and paralysis. It was wonderful sitting in the 104 degree water on the banks of the ice cold river. When I was playing in the rocks, I cut my cuticle on my thumb and I noticed how quickly it healed in the mineral-rich water! While I am not going to post any of the photographs of the hot springs, today’s photographs are of Mount Princeton at night.



Time-Lapse Video of the Conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and a Crescent Moon in Washington, DC
|| 12/2/2008 || 3:26 pm || Comments Off on Time-Lapse Video of the Conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and a Crescent Moon in Washington, DC || ||

Before I took the photographs last night I first recorded this timelapse video. The video consists of hundreds of frames taken exactly two seconds apart using my Canon SD750 digital camera mounted on my tripod. I started recording the video around dusk before I could see Jupiter through the twilight and let it record until the planets were out of frame. The music is Transit of Venus by John Phillip Sousa (1893) and performed by the Virginia Grand Military Band (2003). I’ve used this music before when filming other planets and it’s pretty much become my de-facto music for all my astronomy related videos.


Related Venus Entries:

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Astrophotography of the conjunction of the Crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter
|| 12/1/2008 || 10:02 pm || Comments Off on Astrophotography of the conjunction of the Crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter || ||

This evening I took a series of photographs of what I feel to be one of the most beautiful planetary alignments I’ve seen in my life. Below are the rest of the photographs and tomorrow I’ll post the timelapse video I recorded of the planet’s slow transit through the night sky.

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Harvest Moon in Washington, DC Timelapse Video
|| 9/16/2008 || 11:04 pm || Comments Off on Harvest Moon in Washington, DC Timelapse Video || ||

Harvest Moon in Washington, DC Timelapse Video from Nikolas Schiller on Vimeo.
Click here to view the video on YouTube

This video was recorded this morning using a tripod and a Canon SD750 on 2 second shutter speed. The Harvest moon‘s apparent size & luminosity change as the clouds drift by her slow transit through the night sky of Washington, DC. The music is “The Transit of Venus” by John Phillip Sousa (1893) performed by the Virginia Grand Military Band (2003).


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Staring at the Sun in Stellarium
|| 1/15/2008 || 12:34 pm || Comments Off on Staring at the Sun in Stellarium || ||

Screen grab of Stellarium with the constellations art layer turned on

Two screen grabs below with the azimuthal & equatorial grids turned on:

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Moon Mars Conjunction
|| 12/24/2007 || 3:06 pm || Comments Off on Moon Mars Conjunction || ||

Screen grab from the Astroprof’s Page (Image produced using Stellarium)

Last night my next door neighbor and I lugged the telescope to my rooftop to look at the night sky. It was an exceptional night for celestial observations too. My neighbor had been letting me borrow the telescope for the last 3 months and I must say its been an absolute pleasure looking off into the cosmos– even through the dense light pollution surrounding Washington, DC.

Last night’s conjunction was definitely a high point of my celestial viewings, followed closely by seeing Saturn. In the telescope, Mars was visible but rather hard to see because of the relative brightness of the moon! My neighbor commented on Mars, “Is that brown spot a storm?” I laughed and said that was probably the surface of Mars that he was seeing. What was really neat was watching the conjunction take place. Around dusk, Mars was on the left of the Moon and by 10pm he was on the other side of the Moon.

Below is some text copied from the Astroprof’s Page:

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Seen in the night sky last week
|| 12/1/2007 || 11:05 pm || Comments Off on Seen in the night sky last week || ||

Two weeks ago I finished reading “Fated Sky” by Benson Bobrick. The book is a historical overview of prominent astrologers thoughout history like Ptolemy, Dee, Brahe, and Sibley (to name but a few). I am quite happy I read it. It’s given me a new appreciation for the ancient art of astrology. It’s also helped to support my recent interest in the night sky.

This last week was quite a busy, productive, and exciting week. Some emotional loss, some financial gain, travel to a new place, research of the old and new and, well, quite a lot of fun.

This week also coincided with the viewing of two planets for the first time. With both my naked eye and using a telescope, I gazed upon Mars & Saturn for the first time.

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An updated Armillary Sphere
|| 9/28/2007 || 8:54 pm || Comments Off on An updated Armillary Sphere || ||

Above is an Armillary Sphere, which was used in ancient times as a celestial calendar. Created prior to the orrey, which is a helio-centric model, the Armillary Sphere allowed it’s user to know where the moon was in relation to the earth. It also featured a zodiac, which I’ve been playing with earlier this year.

To make the above image, I edited the public domain engraving on the Wikipedia page and added a very tiny NASA Blue Marble satellite image of the western hemisphere of the earth. I am probably going to add this image to this website’s splash page, which will knock the total number of visual combinations to over 3,000! I’d like to make a few more first. The U.S. Naval Observatory’s logo gave me some ideas :-).

Since May I’ve been very interested in old maps and the scientific instruments that were used. When I discovered Julius Schiller, who published Coelum Stellatum Christianum (which replaced pagan constellations with biblical and early Christian figures), I began to take quite an interest in celestial cartography.

Around that same time my next door neighbor, thinking that my cartographic expertise had to do with astronomy, offered to let me borrow his children’s telescope. Since then (about mid-August) I’ve been looking to the night sky about once a week; much to my enjoyment. Last week was a highlight because we met on the rooftop and set up the telescope. I showed him and his kids how to use the telescope and was able to show them the moon for the first time. DC has quite a bit of light pollution which makes celestial observances quite tough. The neighborhood watch was even in effect because my housemate said people from the street over knocked on our door warning her about people on the roof.

My favorite night sites are Venus and the Moon, simply because they are the easiest to find. I really want to see Mars, Saturn, or Jupiter. But I’ll just have to wait until the night’s right (or I have ample patience). Ironically, a week after my neighbor brought over the telescope, the new version of Google Earth came out with an integrated celestial viewer.

I have more to write about my nightly observations and research I’ve been dabbling in at a later date.

Related Antique Entries:

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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