Morning Planets at a Safe Distance

Jupiter took the lead guiding this trio across the morning sky. It is upper right at 6 am with Saturn and Mars close behind. Saturn is on top.

Three of the four Galilean Moons of Jupiter were visible at full zoom. A brisk breeze added a little camera shake. From left to right are Ganymede, Europa, and Io. Callisto was almost emerging on the upper right limb of Jupiter.

Saturn appeared as a tiny oval above Mars. It has been several days since we had a clear morning. It was a good start to the day.

Snowflake Trails

Three days into spring and it snowed. Curious, I set the iPad in a window facing a neighbor’s house. Using the NightCap app, it captured a 33 sec exposure in Light Trails mode. The fast shutter speed showed the paths of many individual flakes. Click for best view embiggened.

Taken with NightCap Light Trails mode, 33.27 second exposure, 1/110s shutter speed.

Solar Panels | Approaching Spring

The Sun is moving north again since the Winter Solstice in late December. Sunrise is earlier and sunset is later each day adding minutes of daylight. This has a beneficial effect on electricity production by our solar panels. Production still varies considerably due to clouds and weather.

For example, this chart from 18 Jan to 18 March shows our metered electricity for each day. The red line on the top is the electric energy needed by our house. The furnace motor runs less and fewer hours of lighting is needed resulting in a downward trend in household usage.

The green line along the bottom is the energy supplied by our panels charted as negative values. Panel generation was low in January. It started to increase in February and increased in March. There is a lot of variability due to changes in cloud cover.

The blue bars are daily net metered amounts for our house. The utility bill is based upon those amounts totaled over each month. Their trend clearly shows a decrease. A few days in March had panel production exceeding house needs. The blue bars are down in the negative range, reducing our monthly bill and supplying some electricity to the grid.

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There are times you need some help moving up in the world. That is when a ladder comes in handy. These at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico got us safely up to the Alcove House.

We had no trouble negotiating the climbs up and back down. The ladders were solid and securely fastened to the rock. After our trip, we sat nearby eating our lunch and watched others make their way. Some were nimble and quick. Others very cautious. One person at a time was the rule. Busy summer months must mean long lines.

Dial-a-Moon | 2020

What will the Moon look like on any date in 2020? What will it look like on your birthday? Find out at NASA Dial-a-Moon. Go here to see views for northern hemisphere and for southern hemisphere readers. Scan down that web page for much additional information about the Moon’s motions and appearance.

Enter any month and day to see a high definition image. The composite images of Dial-a-Moon are made from those of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in low altitude orbit around the Moon since 2009.

You may leave the universal time (UT) at the default value. If you wish, your local-to-Universal time conversion can be done at this link. Or, type ‘universal time’ into Google. Go back to Dial-a-Moon to enter the UT.

NASA | Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter | 1 Jan 2020

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