Friday, December 31, 2010

SkyWatch Friday, Song Sparrow, and New Year's Eve

We had snow flurries on Wednesday that quickly faded, but yesterday morning we awoke to freezing temperature and about an inch of snow in elevations 500 feet and above.

For beautiful skies from around the world,

At our feeders, we currently have the Black-capped Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Spotted Towhee; additionally a resident Song Sparrow comes and eats and eats and then just hangs out... totally undeterred by any of the other birds who arrive to eat.

As the Juncos chase one another away, interesting is to watch the sparrow who does not budge, and when he decides to move over to the suet feeder, not one bird will disturb him or nibble at the same table.

This is the best I could do with the elusive Red-shouldered Hawk in our area. I have tried repeatedly to get a photo, but he stays hundreds of feet away and perched high atop the tallest trees. As soon as he sees me... off he goes. Little does he know how patient I am. (wink)

Thanks to all of you for a wonderful 2010. It would not have been the same without you. Happy New Year's Eve, stay safe, and I guess we will see you next year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This is the photo we used this year for our Christmas card.
(A similar one was posted here.)

"Coming Home"

When we think of the many blessings in our life, our thoughts are of you.
We pray the holiday season and the coming New Year be joyful and blessed.
Merry Christmas

with love, Diana and Pete


And to each of you around the world, we wish the same.
You have touched our lives, and for that we are most grateful.

To the SkyWatch team and SkyWatch Friday,
thank you for a memorable year of beautiful skies from around the world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse Winter Solstice PNW

We were offered reprieve from the rain yesterday afternoon here in the Pacific Northwest, but as we ventured toward evening the clouds once again began to bank along the coastal range. Would that cover allow at least an occasional view of this phenomenal occurrence? I had to stay awake and find out.

9:32 pm PST

9:34 pm PST

10:49 pm PST

10:53 pm PST

11:33 pm PST
(enlarge and you can see the coppery red)

11:35 pm PST

I went out again at 11:45, but the final total eclipse was not to be seen as the moon had been veiled behind the clouds. I am hopeful that some of you had a better advantage and may have photos to share.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse

Pictured above is the eclipse on 3 March 2007 as seen in Brighton.
Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Not since 1638, 372 years ago, has the Winter Solstice and the total lunar eclipse occurred simultaneously. A Solstice Lunar Eclipse is expected on December 20 to 21, 2010 as the sun, earth and moon are almost exactly aligned.

It is to begin on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth's shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the "bite" to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.

From first to last bite, the eclipse favors observers in North America.
The entire event can be seen from all points on the continent.

Credit: F. Espenak, NASA/GSFC.

Ursids meteor shower is supposed to follow, the peak being December 22 to 23.

Currently our Pacific northwest skies hold a bit of promise as the rain subsided several hours ago, but I see clouds once again forming. Hopefully, some of you may get to see it. And just think: following this, the days begin to lengthen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

SkyWatch and Family Affairs

In order to get to this evenings beautiful sunset, we first had to venture through quite a variety the past ten days: gray and overcast to heavy rainfall and mid-40 temperatures; a delightful surprise with several days of 62 degrees, sunshine, and an opportunity to work in the garden; wind, rain, and cooler temperatures once again, and plans to travel to see family; 2 inches of precipitation over a three-day period, hydroplaning while traveling north as geese fought the elements flying south...

... our granddaughter's basketball game (Megan scored four for the team!);

dinner with family, and birthday celebrations. (honey I won't tell them how old you are... wink)

Dinners with friends; and this morning we awoke to a freezing 30 degrees F.

But tonight as we come in from the garden, we are granted this.

For beautiful skies from around the world
Thank you Klaus, Sandy, Wren, and Sylvia for hosting this

PS: I can only imagine that you are busy as we this month of December,
and hope you are all doing well

Friday, December 3, 2010

SkyWatch, Friday Morn

For beautiful skies from around the world
Thank you Klaus, Sandy, Wren, and Sylvia for hosting this