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Daylight Saturn

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This is an old photo I took of Saturn next to the moon, right at the moment of sunrise, give or take seconds. Check out the larger sizes for the rings. The timing of the photo (at sunrise) was an accident since I was photographing something else before the sun came up. I had no idea that Saturn was up there, next to the Moon. The date was December 10, 2006. I took it from Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Closing up shop

I'm closing up shop at this blog as of today. I will continue to post photos -- astronomical and otherwise -- at my Flickr homepage . As I mentioned a little while ago, my handwritten astronomy journals stopped when I started Catching the Sky. I plan to resume writing in them now; handwritten journaling is one of the underrated joys. I don't ever plan to delete this page, and it's certainly possible that I will pick it up again at a future date. But for the time being, think of it as a closed shop. If I update The Conjunction Project , it will be a regular web page. Many thanks to all who have stopped by to read and/or comment. Clear skies to you!

The Conjunction Project

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For those who remember the Moon-Venus-Jupiter conjunction of September 2005, this will be a treat: below I've collected a few links to photos of that event as seen over the course of four days from various places around the world. 111 links to be precise, from 96 photographers in 21 countries. I've organized the links so that you can check out the photos in roughly the order that they were taken. As the Earth turned in an eastwardly direction, photographers farther to the west got to see the conjunction when dusk fell on their part of their world. So the links are ordered according to the longitudes of the photographers (to the best of my information). This does not produce an exact chronological order, as I discuss in the essay that follows, but it suffices to give a sense of the Moon moving across the sky in its monthlong orbit around the Earth. On each of the four days of the conjunction, the Moon appears in a new place with relation to Jupiter and Venus, as in the two

Record new moon

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Very exciting news tonight. I caught sight of the new moon this evening when it was only 19 hours and 19 minutes old. This is beyond what I had ever expected to see from New York, and it completely shattered my old personal record of 26 hours and 41 minutes, from June 7, 2005 . But what I'm particularly happy about is getting a shot of this one, not just in the 9x63 binoculars, but in the telescope (thanks to our friend Kate's roof!) I watched from Brooklyn as always. The sun set at 8:17 p.m., and after waiting a little while I started sweeping the skies near the point where the sun had gone down. At 8:45 I actually saw Mercury first, and holding my binoculars at that height, I moved just slightly to the right, and saw the moon instantly. Four minutes later I took this shot through the telescope, at a magnification of about 30 (the orientation is adjusted here to a right-side-up view): SkyView Cafe has Mercury at an altitude of 4 degrees, 25 minutes at 8:45, and the moon sl

Missing the morning moon

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Because of my new night job, I rarely get on the roof anymore to do morning astronomy. So it was a delight to make the effort and get up this morning for the Moon-Venus conjunction. Click on the photos for the best views of the two bodies. I plan to go back to taking down precise notes of what I see in the sky, as I used to do before I started this blog. My astronomy journals ended when this blog began, and that can't be good. So I will have to change this blog to become more detail-oriented, or else retire it. But I do have one conjunction project to publish here -- and it's almost finished. For those still reading, I hope you'll stay tuned.

Warehouse blaze

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These are some pictures I took of a large fire that broke out in an abandoned 3-story warehouse along the East River at 5:30 this morning. The warehouse is the site of the old Greenpoint Terminal Market, and it collapsed around 9:30. It's one of three buildings that have caught fire. The local television news called it New York's largest fire in 10 years, including 9-11, in terms of manpower. I don't know how that can be true, but 350 firefighers were reported to be at this fire . It's 1:30 now and, although the fire is under control, I am still hearing fire engines rushing past our apartment, which is about 3/4 of a mile from the fire. I saw some EMS on the scene, but it's not known whether there were any squatters living in the warehouse. A shot from our roof, followed by photos that are self-explanatory: This is how the main warehouse looked immediately after its collapse, which I saw from about 500 feet away, corner of Franklin and Oak: In this last sh