Author Archives: Tim Cole

About Tim Cole

Astronomy enthusiast and educator, all-around fancier of dark skies and starry nights

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, … Continue reading

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Learning Through Discovery

On 2012 August 31, the IAU resolved to define the AU as exactly 149,597,870,700 meters. Of course, they didn’t just pull that value out of a hat. I take it as a statement that measurements have converged enough that any … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Transit of Venus | Tagged , , , ,

Curiosity is on Mars!

Well, of course, Curiosity would on Mars in any event. But it’s down, it’s alive, and it seems to be in the right location. The 14 minute delay period was quite intense! I knew the lander was down, but the … Continue reading

Posted in Space Exploration | Tagged , ,

Rooting for Curiosity

Yup, double entendre intended! I’ve always been a curious fellow, but right at the moment, I’m referring to the Mars Science Laboratory. Very soon, we’ll find out how Curiosity did during our seven minutes of white-knuckled nerves. Gale Crater, Curiosity’s … Continue reading

Posted in Space Exploration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Stories of the Transit

Amazing! It’s coming up on two months since the Transit of Venus.  More reports of Transit observations are coming out, including one of the first professional reports I’ve seen. Early results for the Venus Twilight Experiment have recently been released.  … Continue reading

Posted in Public Outreach, Transit of Venus | Tagged , , ,

Venus Transit Retro-Blog: Visiting Gemini North

2012 June 08 – My visit to the Gemini North observatory added a new dimension to my trip. For this, my fourth visit to Mauna Kea’s summit, I’d have to drive to the summit myself. (You can see the photos … Continue reading

Posted in Facility Visits, Observatories, Retro-Blog, Transit Travel | Tagged , , , ,

Venus Transit Retro-Blog: Visiting CFHT

2012 June 07 – The Sky and Telescope Venus Transit Tour was over. A small sub-group was heading out to visit the Imiloa Astronomy Center, but most of us were leaving the group. I was staying in Hawaii for a … Continue reading

Posted in Facility Visits, Observatories, Observing, Retro-Blog, Transit Travel | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Venus Transit Retro-Blog: Mauna Kea’s Summit

There are people I know who live for their next trip. On the other hand, I put up with travel when I have a good reason. Seeing the Transit of Venus from Hawaii added up to a good enough reason. … Continue reading

Posted in Facility Visits, Observing, Retro-Blog, Transit Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Venus Transit Retro-Blog: Keck Observatory HQ

The morning after our incredible Transit experience, the Sky and Telescope Transit of Venus group visited the Keck Observatory Headquarters in Waimea. The two observatories on the summit are what get the attention, but astronomers rarely work there. Night Attendants … Continue reading

Posted in Facility Visits, Observatories, Retro-Blog, Transit Travel | Tagged , ,

Venus Transit Retro-Blog: Transit Day, Part 3

The 13 observatories on Mauna Kea are scattered at different locations around the upper mountain.  Optical and infrared observatories are on the high ridges. Just below the optical/IR telescopes is an area known informally as “Submillimeter Valley.”  The observatories here … Continue reading

Posted in Observing, Planets, Retro-Blog, Sun, Transit of Venus | Tagged , , , ,