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    The thin waxing crescent Moon shines with Venus on Friday the 15th. . .

    Friday, June 15
    As twilight fades after sunset, look very low in the west-northwest for the thin crescent Moon under Venus. Notice how Gemini (twins Castor and Pollux) are sliding lower below the western horizon each successive evening. Cancer is in between Gemini and Leo but faint and hard to see. Leo (the Lion) is the next visible constellation in the zodiac that will soon (next few weeks) begin it's decent into the western horizon at sunset. By then, Gemini will be rising out of the eastern horizon at sunrise in the morning. The Sun will have 'appeared' to have passed through Gemini. (360 degrees in a circle. 365 days in a year. Almost exactly one degree per day so one month (zodiac sign) equals 30 days (give or take).

    Sunday, June 17
    The crescent Moon, far upper left of Venus, shines near Regulus tonight.

    Thursday, June 21
    The June solstice arrives at 6:07 a.m. EDT, marking the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This is when the Sun is at its farthest north in the sky and begins its six-month return southward. It's the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the shortest day in the Southern. If you have a good view of the west-northwest horizon (from mid-northern latitudes), mark precisely where the Sun sets. In a few days you should be able to detect that it's again starting to set a little south of that point.
    • CommentAuthorgottobike
    • CommentTimeJun 15th 2018 edited
    So it is Venus that has been lighting up the evening sky!
    (Leo looks like a tri-bike with aero bars to me.)

    GTB, This one makes me think of Aries the Ram

    Google doodle representing Denmark in the World Cup.

    Gooooal! (Earlier today, Denmark 1 - Peru 0)
    • CommentAuthorShady John
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2018
    I'm not really following the World Cup, but we've already seen Argentina humbled by Iceland, Germany humbled by Mexico, and Brazil humbled by Switzerland. Could be interesting in the later rounds if this keeps up.
    • CommentAuthorgottobike
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2018 edited
    If your personal vehicle weighs more than you do, put it underground...
    • CommentAuthorgottobike
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2018 edited
    Why Little Vehicles Will Conquer the City

    This movement was previously squashed in USA & Canada by relegating a similar type of small vehicle (see Dynasty Electric Car) to 35 MPH and lower streets and then promptly raising the speed limits on most city streets to 40 MPH or more (thank you 85th percentile). So instead of funding infrastructure for more human scale vehicles, we continue to focus on enlarging, expanding and accelerating the proliferation of high speed asphalt speedways for vehicles that consume massive resources and destroy everything in their path. It will be interesting to see what barriers will be manufactured this time.
    death  barge
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2018
    China has decent EV's selling for $5000 a pop after massive subsidies. In some cases you can't even register a gasoline vehicle in some cities.

    General Motors will start selling a tiny electric car in China this week that will cost about $5,300 after national and local electric vehicle incentives, according to GM.

    The E100, which is Baojun's first electric car, is powered by a single 39-horsepower electric motor and has a top speed of 62 miles an hour. The E100 can drive about 96 miles on a fully charged battery, according to GM (GM).
    • CommentAuthorgottobike
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2018 edited
    If I could convert to 650B wheels and put a basket on the front, thought this would make a great little EV:

    The full Moon comes with a Saturn sidekick on Wednesday the 27th. As always, the Moon is drawn here three times its actual apparent size, and it's positioned for a skywatcher at latitude 40° north, 90° west: near the middle of North America.

    Saturday, June 23
    The bright "star" twirling about with the Moon tonight is Jupiter. Although they look rather close together, Jupiter is currently 1,800 times farther away — and it's 40 times larger in diameter. Jupiter (magnitude –2.4, in Libra) shines in the south in twilight and starts to decline in the southwest later in the evening. It's still 42 arcseconds in equatorial diameter.

    Wednesday, June 27
    Full Moon (exact at 8:53 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time). The Moon shines only a degree or two from Saturn this evening for North America. Companions they may seem to be, but Saturn is currently 3,400 times farther away. And it's 35 times wider in true diameter. Saturn (magnitude 0.0, just above the Sagittarius Teapot) glows low in the southeast in twilight. It stands highest in the south around 1 a.m. daylight-saving time, 34° to the upper right of much brighter Mars. Appearing so close to an exactly full Moon, Saturn of course must be very close to opposition! And indeed it is. Saturn was at opposition earlier today, around 9 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. By late evening, Saturday, June 30, the Moon and Mars are arisen together, low in the east-southeast.

    Mars, (a dramatic magnitude –1.9 in Capricornus), rises only about an hour after dark now. Watch for it to come up 34° lower left of Saturn. Mars is highest in the south, in best view for telescopes, just before the first light of dawn. Mars is having widespread dust storm! Dust has enveloped much of the planet (though reports of it being "global" are exaggerated), obscuring many major dark surface features and reducing contrast for many others. There are signs that the storm is losing strength, but poor visibility of much of the surface should persist for a long time.

    Mars is brightening on its way to an unusually close opposition at the end of July. It's now 19 or 20 arcseconds wide — bigger than right at most of its oppositions! — and gibbous. It will grow to 24.3 arcseconds for the week around its closest approach on the night of July 30–31.

    Mars, now brighter than Sirius and a distinctive fiery hue, climbs above the tree line in the southeastern sky on June 10th. The planet rises late — around 11:00 PM local time in late-June — and is best observed in early dawn when it stands due south on the meridian.
    (image by Bob King)

    Next month, July 2018, the full moon will appear next to a very bright red Mars as it reaches opposition. For viewers in Africa and the Middle East, there will be a total lunar eclipse. How cool would it be to see the very bright full moon, eclipsed to a reddish hue by the earth's shadow for an hour, with a very bright Mars right next to it? Wow! It will be out of view for North America but there will be some cool images and streaming video to follow. Stay tuned.

    You can follow these three planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, across the sky from west to east, one after the other. They are all relatively bright, each being so close to opposition. Be opportunistic when riding your bike and look skyward each clear night. Maybe find a hidden place with very little light pollution or a grassy park on which to lay back on. You never know if or when the June gloom will roll in and obscure your viewing. Watch as the Moon moves eastward through the zodiac night to night, passing these obviously bright planets as it does so. Let's hope for clear skies!
    • CommentAuthorgottobike
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2018 edited
    "I am a believer in that portion of the Declaration of American Independence in which it is set forth, as among self-evident truths, "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Hence, I am an abolitionist."
    - William Lloyd Garrison.

    On July 4th 1854, the Anti-Slavery Society met in a small grove in Framingham, Massachusetts to protest the hypocrisy of celebrating America’s independence while participating in the practice of American Slavery. After a series of passionate speeches from noted abolitionists including Sojourner Truth and Henry David Thoreau, William Lloyd Garrison, burned a copy of the U.S. Constitution and galvanized the abolitionist movement.

    Today, our fight is against the revolving door of the criminal justice system approximately 76.6% of all released prisoners will be rearrested within 5 years of their release. Such recidivism often contributes to crime, mass incarceration, homelessness and generational poverty.

    We seek to do more than just make quality products. We want to make a difference.

    By the Fall of 2018, we will move into our new facility where we plan to hire, train, certify and provide living wage employment to more than two dozen people, including the formerly incarcerated. There, we will begin to design, build, and repair a fleet of handcrafted electric bicycles, here in America.

    Your purchases will help us to achieve that goal.

    It’s our heritage as abolitionists.

    The 1854 Cycling Company. Freedom & Power.

    Going from the western horizon at sunset toward the east along the ecliptic. Follow the Moon as it moves from planet to planet over the course of the next few weeks. Mars will be at it's brightest the week before and the week after July 26, 2018 when it is at opposition.

    On Saturday evening the 14th, try to catch the thin crescent Moon above Mercury very low in bright twilight. Binoculars help.

    Mercury (about magnitude +0.2) is visible in bright twilight very low in the west-northwest, about 16° lower right of Venus. Catch Mercury in the narrow time window between when the sky is still too bright and when Mercury sinks too low and sets.

    Venus (magnitude –4.1, in Leo) shines brightly in the west during twilight, a trace lower every day. In a telescope Venus is a gibbous disk 17 arcseconds tall and 67% sunlit.

    Jupiter (magnitude –2.3, in Libra) shines in the south-southwest in twilight and declines in the southwest later in the evening. This week it shrinks from 41 to 40 arcseconds wide. The Moon is 1.3 light-seconds distant from us, and Jupiter is 44 light-minutes in its background. The two stars of Alpha Librae are 77 light-years behind them.

    Saturn (magnitude +0.1, just above the Sagittarius Teapot) glows in the southeast in twilight and higher in the south by midnight. It's 34° to the upper right of much brighter Mars. The Moon shines with Saturn tonight, as shown here. Saturn, the most distant bright planet, is 3,420 times farther away and 35 times as wide.

    See Mars at Its Best Since 2003
    Bob King July 24, 2018
    We've waited 15 long years, and now it's time to party. Mars reaches perihelic opposition — coming its closest to both the Sun and Earth at the same time — on July 27th. This hasn't happened since August 2003, meaning that Mars is bigger and bolder in the night sky than it's been in more than a decade.

    Thursday, July 26, 2018
    Mars is at opposition tonight, opposite the Sun as seen from Earth. It will actually be closest to Earth, and its absolute biggest and brightest, four days from now on the night of the 30th. But really, the difference between now and then is so tiny it'll be undetectable. Enjoy!

    Mars will be easy to spot low in the southeastern sky in late evening. On the night of the 27th, it will be joined by the full Moon.
    Sky & Telescope / Gregg Dinderman

    Mars is the "star" planet of the summer (see post above: June 25, 2018) — and it comes to opposition at the end of this week! It's a firespot blazing like nothing else in the late-night sky. At magnitude –2.7 or –2.8, it's a half magnitude brighter than even Jupiter. And its color lends it extra drama.

    Mars and its reflection look serene on a recent night, rising in the east.
    (Notice second brightest planet in this image, Saturn, above the Sagittarius "teapot" toward the upper right; and it's reflection in the water.)
    Bob King

    Spot Mars appearing low in the southeast near the end of twilight. After dark it rises higher and shifts southward, a weird anomaly like no celestial object you normally see. Mars is highest in the south, in best telescopic view, around 1 a.m. daylight-saving time, though it's at a southerly declination (—26°) in southern Capricornus. Mars is nearly at its closest, biggest and brightest. It will maintain its peak size of 24.3 arcseconds for about a week around its closest approach on the night of July 30-31, 2018.

    Friday, July 27, 2018
    Full Moon (exact at 1:20 p.m. PDT). Full Moon is opposition Moon, so it shines with brilliant Mars, which is just a day past its opposition. Mars is 143 times farther from us than the Moon (and twice as large). Total eclipse of the Moon, but not for the Americas! (or Hawaii). The best views will be from Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. This will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, with totality lasting 1 hour 43 minutes. Next to reddish Mars, the Moon will turn from white to (presumably) a much redder hue and then back to white during the almost two hour event.

    The June/July gloom seems to have ended and we're fortunate to have clear nights again (barring any fire smoke). If you're out and about on your bikes, under the night time dome of stars and planets, be sure to notice the changing celestial display. The Sun has started it's journey southward and will pass the 'due west' point on the September 21st Equinox. The bright planets are migrating westward into the evening sunset more and more each day. Venus is getting brighter as it swings around between the Sun and Earth. Jupiter and Saturn are fading slowly as is Mars as Earth speeds away from them in our faster, inner orbit.

    The Sun now appears to be "in Leo" as seen from Earth. Virgo is just above the sunSET point in the western evening sky and Cancer is emerging just above the sunRISE point in the eastern, morning sky. As Earth continues around the Sun in it's yearly cycle, Virgo sinks into the Sun by 1 degree each day. 30 Degrees = 30 days = 1 month = one zodiac constellation (give or take a smidgen).

    This is also the time of year when Sirius, the dog star (also the brightest night time star in all the sky), rises out of the sunRise point in the morning sky. The dog days of summer refer to this yearly event. This ancient knowledge was used to predict the flooding of the Nile River and the time to get ready to plant crops there. (I'm very old school!) For us in SoCal, it's fire season and doggedly hot. Time for dog beach.

    The evening crescent Moon marks another lunar cycle gone by and so another constellation of the zodiac (Leo) has sunk into the Sun. Virgo is next to set into the western horizon. Next month, we'll see Leo emerging in the dawn sky, rising out of the Sun just before sunrise. The thin crescent Moon waxes through Virgo whenever it's August.

    Tuesday, August 14:
    The waxing crescent Moon shines over Venus in twilight. Look left of the Moon for fainter Spica. Farther upper left of Spica shines bright Jupiter (out of the frame here). The Moon will march eastward above these celestial landmarks for the next three nights.

    Saturday, August 18:
    Lined up nearly vertically below the Moon this evening are the stars marking the head of Scorpius. Lower left of the Moon is brighter Antares, one of the brightest orange-red supergiant stars in the sky.(Antares means 'rival of Mars'. Can you see any similarities in the color or brightness between the two?) Farther left of the Moon are Jupiter, Saturn, and then bright Mars.

    Jupiter (magnitude –2.0, in Libra) shines in the southwest in twilight. It's between Spica about 20° to its lower right and the head of Scorpius nearly as far to its left.

    Saturn (magnitude +0.2, above the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot) glows yellow in the south at nightfall, almost 30° to the right or upper right of much brighter Mars. In a telescope Saturn's rings remain tilted 26° to our line of night, as open as we ever see them.

    Mars is beginning to fade very slightly, from magnitude –2.8 when it was closest to Earth around the turn of the month to –2.6 now. On the other hand, it rises higher in the southeast earlier in the evening. Mars is at its highest in the south around 11 or midnight daylight-saving time, though it's not very high at all for us mid-northern observers; it's at a very southerly declination (–26°) in southern Capricornus. Mars also shrinks very slightly this week, from 24 to 23 arcseconds wide — really not enough to notice. Take advantage of Mars this large while you can! It won't appear this big again until 2035.
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2018
    I spent the evening of the 10th watching meteors under a perfect Idaho sky with Mars shining bright. It was awesome!
    New Moon, cool, elevated and clear, dark skies, for just about peak Perseid time. Nice!
    Any views of the Milky Way? From so far north, it can be challenging to see Scorpius, Sagittarius and the Milky Way so far to the south and thus very low (as is Mars).
    Dark skies and a clear, low southern horizon help.

    Viewers pointing toward red Antares in Scorpius with the 'teapot' of Sagittarius to the left.
    The Milky Way runs south through them above. (Ali Matinfar image)
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2018

    Milky Way was visible for sure, but nothing like in that pic. Wow.

    Monday, August 20, 2018: Saturn is the "star" left of the Moon this evening, as shown.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018:
    The waxing gibbous Moon shines upper right of Mars this evening. Unlike Mars, the Moon lies in a nearly straight line with Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus (running from the right of the Moon very far to the west). To see how straight this line really is, hold a yardstick or a tightly stretched string along it. Why is this so? The Moon is nearly on the ecliptic tonight, but Mars is a good 6.1° south of the ecliptic.

    Saturday, August 25, 2018:
    Full Moon tonight and tomorrow (it's exactly full at 4:56 a.m. August 26th Pacific Daylight Time). This evening the Moon shines far left of Mars; they're on opposite sides of Capricornus.

    "Objective reality exists. Facts are often determinable. Vaccines save lives. Carbon dioxide warms the globe. Science and reason are not a political conspiracy. They are how we determine facts. Civilization's survival depends on our ability, and willingness, to do this."
    — Alan MacRobert, Sky at a Glance editor
    • CommentAuthorShady John
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2018
    Old Knotty Buoy:

    "Objective reality exists. Facts are often determinable. Vaccines save lives. Carbon dioxide warms the globe. Science and reason are not a political conspiracy. They are how we determine facts. Civilization's survival depends on our ability, and willingness, to do this."
    — Alan MacRobert, Sky at a Glance editor

    I look forward to the day when such statements will not be necessary, but for now, they are. Thanks OKB.

    As dawn brightens on Saturday morning the 8th, the waning crescent Moon points down to Mercury. Mercury is dropping very low in the glow of sunrise. The Moon passes between the Sun and Earth on Sunday (New Moon) and will reappear in the evening sky around the 11th or 12th at sunset (dusk) next week.

    Four bright planets still shine during evening twilight, though one is getting very low and tricky. From west to east, they are Venus very low in the west-southwest, Jupiter upper left of Venus, Saturn higher in the south, and Mars well to the east of Saturn. Best viewing time that includes Venus: 30 or 40 minutes after sunset.

    Sunday, September 9
    Mars shines fire-color in the south-southeast after dusk. New Moon (exact at 11:01 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time).

    Tide Times for San Diego
    Very high tides in the evening this time of year, around the time of the New Moon. If you're out and about, riding the bays or shore fronts, notice the extreme high's around 8:00 to 10:00 PM depending on the day. The following negative low tides are always extreme as well. They usually follow ~ 6 hours later and provide lots of hard sandy beach for balloon tire beach cruisers. Avoid low lying areas that are flooded. The salt water will aggressively corrode your steel frames, e-bike motors, dyno-hubs and other such bits and bobs. Next high Spring Tide at San Diego will be on Saturday 08 September: 9:11 PM (height:2.20m = 7.2ft). (Spring Tide doesn't refer to the season, but to the spring-like gravitational pull of the aligned masses of the Sun, Moon and Earth. A good indicator of coming sea level rise.)

    Monday, September 10
    Before the Moon comes back into the evening sky later this week, make the most of observing the Milky Way in however dark a sky you have. When Deneb crosses your zenith in mid-evening, you know the Milky Way does too — running straight up from the southwest horizon and straight down to the northeast horizon.

    A thin crescent Moon pairs nicely first with Venus and then Jupiter during the second week of September. Watch the waxing Moon step eastward above Venus, Jupiter, and Antares day by day. (New Moon on the 9th, then 7 days to first-quarter Moon; 14 days to Full Moon; 21 days to third-quarter Moon and 28 days back to New Moon = a full lunar cycle, once around the Earth.)

    Friday, September 14
    In twilight, catch the crescent Moon in the southwest with Jupiter to its lower right. A line from the Moon through Jupiter points toward Venus, much lower. (look far to Jupiter's lower right to catch Venus before it sets.)

    As Venus orbits around the Sun, it is getting to the point (left side here) where it will pass between the Earth and the Sun (inferior conjunction). It will re-emerge in the morning sky becoming the 'morning star", west of the Sun, in early November. It will climb higher in the eastern, morning sky very quickly through the New Year.

    Venus (magnitude –4.7) shines low in the west-southwest in evening twilight and sets before twilight is over. Find it lower right of Jupiter; their separation diminishes from 20° to 16° this week. In a telescope Venus is a crescent about 1/3 sunlit and 33 arcseconds tall.

    Mars, between Capricornus and Sagittarius, continues to fade in magnitude/brightness, but still brighter than Sirius (brightest star in the night sky). Mars shines at its highest in the south for the two hours after dark.

    Jupiter (in Libra) shines in the southwest in twilight, lower every week.

    Saturn (above the spout-tip of the Sagittarius Teapot) glows yellow in the south at nightfall, well to the west (right) of brighter Mars.

    This year, September’s equinox takes place on the 22nd at 6:54 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. At that moment the Sun shines directly overhead as seen from the equator. Days and nights are both 12 hours long — that’s where the word equinox comes from — and no matter where you live on planet Earth, the Sun rises due east and sets due west.

    As the Moon waxes through first quarter, it moves eastward daily over Jupiter, Scorpius, Saturn, and the Sagittarius Teapot...

    …and by Wednesday September 19th, the Moon hangs over Mars during twilight. (In these scenes the Moon is always shown three times its actual apparent size, and it's positioned for an observer near the middle of North America - exactly for latitude 40° north, longitude 90° west.)

    Wednesday, September 19
    The Moon and Mars travel across the southern sky together this evening. Mars is currently 200 times farther away than the Moon. Find Saturn almost three fists to their right or lower right. Saturn is almost 20 times farther now than Mars.

    Friday, September 21
    The closing days of summer (the equinox is tomorrow) always find the Sagittarius Teapot moving west of south during evening and tipping increasingly far over to the right, as if pouring out the last of summer.

    Saturday, September 22
    The September equinox occurs at 6:54 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, when the Sun crosses the equator heading south for the season. This moment marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. And the Sun sets almost exactly due west.

    Monday, September 24
    Harvest Full Moon (exact at 7:52 p.m. PDT). The Moon rises almost exactly due east (opposite the Sun) soon after sunset.

    Venus (magnitude –4.7) shines very low in the west-southwest in evening twilight and sets before twilight is over. Don't confuse it with Jupiter, which will probably catch your attention first. Venus is to Jupiter's lower right, and brighter. Their separation diminishes slightly this week, from 16° to 14°.

    Mars, in southern Capricornus, fades from magnitude –1.7 to –1.5 this week, still a trace brighter than Sirius. It shines highest in the south about an hour after dark and sets around 2 a.m.

    Jupiter (magnitude –1.8, in Libra) shines ever lower in the southwest in twilight, upper left of Venus.

    Saturn (magnitude +0.4, above the spout-tip of the Sagittarius Teapot) glows yellow in the south at dusk, well to the right of brighter Mars. It sets by midnight.
    • CommentTime6 days ago
    Bike commuting in a brand new pair of Levis does slow down one's speed a bit.