Sunday, July 2, 2017

Seeking Artist for Blog Title Image

For awhile now, I have had an idea for a new image for this blog. The challenge is that although I have a little bit of artistic skill, this will be beyond what I can do on my own so I am seeking an artist interested in developing it.

I'm checking with friends for help in finding someone to work on this but to simplify sharing a description of the project, I am posting it here. Regardless of how you heard about it, if you have an interest in helping with this project, please post a reply.

Project Description

Title Image for Wind And Sky, a blog on my personal interests.

Primary theme: astronomy, science
Secondary theme: sailing, wind, weather
Across both themes: photography

  • Long run GIF (10-20 seconds)
  • Have end of animation transition into beginning, making the change seamless
  • Images:
    • Day time, water foreground, sailboat (heeling over) at left with Sun above
    • Day time image repeating with Sun and sailboat moving left to right
    • Evening twilight, sailboat disappearing off horizon as Sun sets and Moon rises
    • Night time with stars, Milky Way stretching across, Moon at left
    • Night time image repeating with Moon, stars and Milky Way moving left to right
    • Morning twilight, sailboat appearing over horizon with Sun rising and Moon setting
  • Image dimensions (alternative is in case necessary to make image layout, transitions fit smoothly):
    800px by 150px
    800px by 200px
  • Title text (to be layered over image, already included in blog design)
    WIND & SKY
  • Color formatting:
    • Should fit, not clash, with blog background color: #000033
    • Title text is white so shouldn’t disappear into the image
    • Image background transition from a dark sky blue in daytime through purplish twilight to black night and back
  • Image content and sequence should be reasonably scientifically accurate (no having Sun or Moon move wrong direction, Milky Way movement being unnatural, etc.)
  • If animation and transitions problematic:
    • Non-repeating GIF, i.e., start at middle of night image, run full animation back to that point and end without repeating
      - or -
    • Instead of GIF, do image where it’s daylight with sailboat on left transitioning through twilight to night with Milky Way on right
  • Optional:
    • Possibly revise blog layout theme, making text (and title image) wider
    • Meteor across night sky

Animation examples:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - First to Cross Mainland USA Since 1979

It may seem hard to believe but solar eclipses are technically fairly common, at least one a year, many times two in a year. What makes them seem rare though has to do with the relatively small portion of the Earth over which they pass; for any given spot on the globe, solar eclipses are rare. For example, there hasn't been a solar eclipse crossing America since 1991, hasn't been one crossing any part of the contiguous United States since 1979 and there hasn't been a solar eclipse cross the entire continent since 1918.

On August 21st of this year, all three of those dates reset: a solar eclipse will cross from Oregon to South Carolina. Anyone along the centerline of the track will get to observe (weather permitting) the glory of a total eclipse. Everyone else in the country will see a partial eclipse (less of one the further from the centerline you are).

The last time I saw a solar eclipse was an annular eclipse in 2012 viewed from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The image included here is from my post on that event. For the 2017 total eclipse, I'm planning to observe from the centerline. More on that in future posts. In the meantime, here are a few links for more information on the event.

NASA 2017 Eclipse Site Site
Alan Dyer's Tips for the Solar Eclipse

Friday, August 12, 2016

2016 Perseids

Named for the constellation from which they appear to originate, Perseus, the Perseid meteor shower is the result of the Earth plowing into dust and particles left behind by past journeys through the Solar System of comet Swift-Tuttle. 

Read more about the Perseids on

This is a blend of four images captured with Nikon D7000 and Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 between 4:30 and 5:30am in Garland, Texas. Thanks to David Kingham for the blending technique (here).

Image shared by EarthSky (tweet, Facebook)

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Two Perseid meteors over Sunnyvale, Texas pre-dawn Aug 11th (top one cut off mid-flight).

Raw, unedited image

More on the 2016 Perseid meteor shower here.

Monday, May 9, 2016

2016 Mercury Transit: Video Clips

After starting the morning watching the transit online, there were finally a few breaks in the clouds, allowing me to capture portions of the transit myself, assembled into the video below. High wind also hampered things, making it tough to get a sharp focus and steady image, but it was still an incredible thing to watch.

60mm Parks refractor on German equatorial mount
Baader film solar filter from Kendrick Astro Instruments
Orion EQ-1M drive (for solar tracking)
Nikon D7000 (attached with T-adapter)
dslrDashboard on Nexus 9 tablet for remote viewing and camera control

Music: Mercury, the Winged Messenger from The Planets by Gustav Holst

Created with iMovie on a Macbook Pro