Skies Over West Seattle – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 24 May 2018 05:08:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 HELLO, SPRING! Sun shows up for Alice Enevoldsen’s 36th seasonal sunset watch http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/hello-spring-sun-shows-up-for-alice-enevoldsens-36th-seasonal-sunset-watch/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/hello-spring-sun-shows-up-for-alice-enevoldsens-36th-seasonal-sunset-watch/#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2018 06:59:44 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=911919 Photos by Leda Costa for WSB

For the first time since 2014, the sun was out for Alice Enevoldsen‘s spring-equinox sunset watch at Solstice Park. That meant everyone could gather along the park’s designated path to view the seasonal sunset alignment:

A special feature for tonight’s viewing: Alice’s daughter and friends set up a stick so that its shadow would align with the sunset:

A regular feature of Alice’s gatherings: Learning about the relationship between the sun and earth as the seasons change:

Another way to learn: Alice brought books so early-ish arrivals could read while awaiting the sunset:

Not to rush through spring, but … if you feel like setting your calendar for Alice’s next sunset-watch event, it’ll mark the first sunset after the summer solstice, on Thursday, June 21st, 8:45 pm-9:45 pm. Alice has been leading sunset watches for nine years now!

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TUESDAY: Watch spring’s first sunset with Alice Enevoldsen http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/tuesday-watch-springs-first-sunset-with-alice-enevoldsen/ Sun, 18 Mar 2018 23:28:05 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=911727

(March 2014 WSB photo)

That was the spectacular sunset on March 20, 2014, as seen from West Seattle’s Solstice Park, during NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen‘s spring-equinox event. Our archived coverage shows that was the most-recent time the sun cooperated with Alice’s spring sunset watches – but the forecast for the next one, 6:30-7:30 pm Tuesday (March 20th), looks promising! You’re invited to join Alice for the free and fun informational all-ages gathering Tuesday night – here’s how to get to Solstice Park (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW, uphill from the tennis courts) if you haven’t been there before.

P.S. Spring officially arrives at 9:15 am our time Tuesday. While the official sunset time will be around 7:20 pm, Alice has noted over the years that the moment of disappearance behind the Olympic Mountains is usually about 10 minutes earlier.

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WEST SEATTLE WINTER: ‘Solstice yoga’ at Alice Enevoldsen’s sunset watch http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/west-seattle-winter-solstice-yoga-at-alice-enevoldsens-sunset-watch/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 02:16:13 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=904344

At Solstice Park late today, the mountains showed up, the holiday cheer showed up, more than 40 people showed up … but the sun was a no-show for Alice Enevoldsen‘s winter-solstice sunset watch. Nonetheless, she led attendees through what she jokingly called “solstice yoga,” as part of her explanation of the solar-system phenomenon that brings the change of seasons:

(Added: For a longer version, see Scott Scowcroft‘s video here.)

There was also a bit of cloud observation due to the formations in the south sky:

Thanks to @WestSeaWx for informing us via Twitter that those were Undulatus Asperatus. Alice has led more than 30 solstice/equinox sunset watches as part of her commitment as a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador:

She always schedules them for the same date the equinox or solstice arrives in our time zone, so it’s easy to remember – that means you can plan to join her at Solstice Park for the arrival of spring on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018. Watch her website alicesastroinfo.com for more info on that and other things you might see in the sky.

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THURSDAY: Watch the first post-Winter Solstice sunset with Alice Enevoldsen http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/thursday-watch-the-first-post-winter-solstice-sunset-with-alice-enevoldsen/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:29:42 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=904015 solsticeset
(December 2016 WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

One year ago, the sun decided to show up for Alice Enevoldsen‘s Winter Solstice sunset watch at West Seattle’s Solstice Park. Will we see it happen this year? The forecast so far is inconclusive. But Alice, who’s been a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador since 2010, will be at the park for Thursday’s sunset, 4-5 pm, presenting her quarterly info-and-demonstration event marking the changing of the seasons. All welcome! If you haven’t been there, here’s how to find the park. (The actual solstice moment is on Thursday morning – just before 8:30 am our time – but Alice’s events are always at sunset, taking advantage of the park’s unique markers showing where the sunset lines up at solstices and equinoxes.)

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WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Wild-looking cloud formation now; maybe meteors later http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/west-seattle-weather-clouds-now-maybe-meteors-later/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/west-seattle-weather-clouds-now-maybe-meteors-later/#comments Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:56:33 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=903669

2:56 PM: Two sky notes: First, that cloud formation – Byron asked us on Twitter about a “vortex” and we had no idea what he was referring to until we saw that photo e-mailed by Jeff Kaufer. Official name for this formation, anyone? (Update: See comments.)

Also: Possible meteor-watching tonight, Alice Enevoldsen reminds us via Twitter:

ADDED 3:10 PM: Another view, from Tori:

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If you saw what looked like a meteor … http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/if-you-saw-what-looked-like-a-meteor/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/if-you-saw-what-looked-like-a-meteor/#comments Wed, 25 Oct 2017 03:56:56 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=898611 … it might have been. Our hotline received two voicemails from people who saw what looked like a meteor or fireball around 7:35 pm. Looking around online, we saw a Reddit mention of a sighting from Ballard. We asked around on Twitter, and got replies including:

Here’s more on the Orionids.

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PHOTOS: Autumn arrives with Alice Enevoldsen’s equinox sunset watch http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/photos-autumn-arrives-with-alice-enevoldsens-equinox-sunset-watch/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/photos-autumn-arrives-with-alice-enevoldsens-equinox-sunset-watch/#comments Sat, 23 Sep 2017 18:53:25 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=895811

Many times over her seven-plus years of explaining equinoxes and solstices at West Seattle’s Solstice Park, Alice Enevoldsen has had young volunteers from the crowd assist. Last night, her daughter Vera wielded Alice’s legendary globe-on-a-stick last night during the sunset gathering hours after autumn arrived (1:02 pm Friday, if you’re keeping track). Alice is a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador, and these events are part of what she does to fulfill that role. Solstice Park – uphill from the tennis courts by north Lincoln Park – is a perfect one-of-a-kind place for this because of its markers and paths that line up with where the sunset should be on those four season-change dates each year. Most of the more than 70 attendees gathered with Alice at the back of the appropriate path at the sunset moment:

Clouds prevented a clear view, but it was a pretty sunset just the same.

Alice also folds in the most-recent skywatching highlights – so this time, that meant some talk about last month’s eclipse, and the recent end of contact with Cassini.

Next seasonal-change sunset watch, meantime, will mark the start of winter – keep watch on Alice’s website in the meantime. And on the sky, which showed some color before event’s end:

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CELEBRATE FALL: Equinox Sunset Watch Friday at Solstice Park with Alice Enevoldsen http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/celebrate-fall-equinox-sunset-watch-friday-at-solstice-park-with-alice-enevoldsen/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/celebrate-fall-equinox-sunset-watch-friday-at-solstice-park-with-alice-enevoldsen/#comments Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:39:50 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=895536

Will we see the sun this Friday evening, lining up with that marker at Solstice Park, hours after the Fall Equinox? Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen at the park to find out! Here’s her announcement:

It’s time for the 34th seasonal sunset watch!

We’ll also share eclipse stories and favorite moments or pictures from Cassini (RIP, now part of Saturn). If you drew a picture of the eclipse, either before or after, I would absolutely love to see it.

When: Friday, September 22 at 6:55 pm (so come at 6:35 pm)
Actual sunset is supposed to be at 7:06 pm, but we have noticed that the Sun sets about 10 minutes earlier than the USNO says, because of the horizon altitude.

The equinox moment is Friday, September 22 at 1:02 pm.

Where: Solstice Park – all the way up the hill from the tennis courts

Who: Everyone welcome, as usual. (Please do leash your dogs as we usually have a good number of people, kids, and other dogs around.)

I’ll be there even if it is cloudy because sometimes the Sun peeks through just as it begins to set, but if it is driving rain or a thunderstorm I’m staying home with some tea!

Moonset on Friday, by the way, is 8:40 pm, and Alice notes that it’ll be a waxing crescent with seven percent of its disk illuminated.

P.S. If you don’t know where to find Solstice Park – Alice explains on her website.

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2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE: Where to watch it in/near West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2017/08/2017-solar-eclipse-where-to-watch-it-innear-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/08/2017-solar-eclipse-where-to-watch-it-innear-west-seattle/#comments Mon, 21 Aug 2017 02:44:43 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=892517 (Photo by Jamie Kinney, who got this view of the sun – with sunspots – while practicing telescope photography in advance of tomorrow)

If you haven’t finalized where you’re watching tomorrow morning’s solar eclipse, here’s a list of nearby gatherings – some of which you might already have found in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.

First – as expert skywatcher Alice Enevoldsen has warned (among many others) – DON’T LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT SPECIAL EQUIPMENT! If you didn’t already get viewing glasses (the comment section on our original report from last weekend morphed into a marketplace of sorts), some viewing parties will have glasses – sharing might be required.

Second – from Alice’s “eclipse basics” report here on WSB, the West Seattle timeline for tomorrow:

Start of partial eclipse: 9:08 am

Maximum eclipse: 10:20 am — Coverage of the Sun: 92%

End of partial eclipse: 11:56 am

HIGH POINT LIBRARY: 8:30-11:30 am – here rae the details. (35th SW/SW Raymond)

SOUTH PARK COMMUNITY CENTER: 8:30-11:30 am – here are the details. (8319 8th Ave. S.)

NEW – WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION VIEWING PARTY: 9-11:30 am – the invitation from the WS Junction Association:

Solar Eclipse viewing party at Junction Plaza Park.

On the event that could be the largest scientific viewing in human history, the total solar eclipse will occur at 10:20 am. During a total solar eclipse, the Sun is entirely blocked by the Moon, and in totality, night appears in the middle of the day. While Seattle is not on the path of totality we will experience a partial eclipse with over 92% of the Sun blocked, still an event to behold.

BYOSG (bring your own solar glasses). We’ll have refreshments and snacks.

(42nd SW/SW Alaska)

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT: Watch outside the Museum of Flight‘s entrance for free 9:30-10:30 am; NASA broadcast inside as it moves across the country, included with museum admission. And then see the NASA plane that will be up over Oregon during totality, as it arrives back at Boeing Field. Full details here. (9404 E. Marginal Way S.)

WATCHING ON THE WATER: Thinking about watching on a state ferry, since you won’t have to worry about buildings blocking your view if you’re out in the middle of Puget Sound? Here’s the official bulletin sent by Washington State Ferries today:

ALL ROUTES: Between approximately 9:05 and 11:40 a.m. on Monday, August 21, the moon will block a portion of the sun — with a peak of 92-percent coverage at 10:20 a.m. Some of the best views of this solar eclipse will be aboard a Washington State Ferry. However, all passengers are advised to take precautions before viewing the eclipse, as looking directly at the sun is extremely harmful to your eyes. Seattle’s Pacific Science Center advises everyone to view the eclipse with an approved special solar filter, such as glasses or a pinhole projector. Please protect yourself, and we hope you enjoy this rare event.

Nearest route to our area is Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth – the schedule is here. If you walk on, keep in mind that you do have to disembark at Southworth, even if you are walking right back on to finish the round trip.

Anything in the area that we’ve missed? Please comment, or e-mail us (editor@westseattleblog.com) so we can add!

P.S. From Alice’s previous eclipse previews, a resource list, including how to watch online:

NASA Eclipse 2017
Interactive Google Map #1
Interactive Google Map #2 (works better on phones than #1)
American Astronomical Society Eclipse 2017
Mr. Eclipse
Clear Sky Chart: the astronomer’s forecast for the next couple days. Cloudcover, darkness, and “seeing” which is how nice it is to view the stars, all on one handy chart.

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SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017: What you need to know http://westseattleblog.com/2017/08/solar-eclipse-2017-what-you-need-to-know/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/08/solar-eclipse-2017-what-you-need-to-know/#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 05:11:21 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=891861 EDITOR’S NOTE: With one week until the solar eclipse, West Seattle’s best-known sky-watcher is continuing to offer helpful info – in this report, the basics about the eclipse and safely watching it. Still to come, a list of where to eclipse-watch in West Seattle!

By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog

Are you ready for the big solar eclipse that’s now one week away, on August 21?

No?

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

QUICK FACTS

Date:
Monday, August 21, 2017

Times:
Start of partial eclipse: 9:08 am

Maximum eclipse: 10:20 am — Coverage of the Sun: 92%

End of partial eclipse: 11:56 am

Visible from West Seattle? Yes … but read on for caveats

Special Equipment Needed? Yes: safe observing glasses or a pinhole viewer. (Here’s where to look and, in the comment section, where WSB readers are finding them.) Read on!

VIEWING FROM WEST SEATTLE

This event will be visible from West Seattle (and all of Seattle), but from here it will be a partial eclipse. It will not get dark. This is why I and a million — I mean that literally — other people are planning to drive to Oregon to see the total eclipse.

During the eclipse, the Moon will cover 92% of the Sun as seen from West Seattle. For comparison, the annular eclipse of 2012 had the Moon covering 94% of the Sun if you were in the path of the umbra, the darkest part of the shadow. I was in California in the umbra during that eclipse, and it got noticeably less bright outside, like a cloudy day, and a lot cooler suddenly. I predict similar effects in Seattle: not total darkness.

This shows approximately how much of the Sun will show behind the Moon when the Moon covers 90% of the Sun.

Where should you look to see this event? At the Sun, which brings me to my next section:

SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING SAFETY

You absolutely need special equipment to see this event safely. Luckily the special equipment isn’t spendy, and some can be made at home.

Option 1: Eclipse Glasses

Eclipse glasses are also called solar observing glasses and they are not related to sunglasses. There are only a handful of companies that make glasses that meet the current international standard of safety. Luckily, those companies make most of the glasses that are sold.

There has been a scare about fakes being sold online, many through conglomerate vendors like Amazon. This does NOT mean that all glasses purchased through Amazon are fakes. Amazon hosts individual vendors, and many of those vendors are entirely reputable. The list maintained by the American Astronomical Society includes the names of several sub-vendors within Amazon that are safe.

To use glasses safely:

Check that they are marked compliant with the safety standard ISO 12312-2:2015

Check that the lenses are flat and free from scratches, punctures, or damage. Discard them if there are problems.

Stand still, looking away from the Sun.

Put on the glasses.

Look toward the Sun.

If the Sun looks bright, or your eyes get tired from the glare, then the filter is letting too much light though. Look away and use a different filter.

When finished viewing:

Turn away from the Sun.

Remove the glasses.

(Again, here’s updated availability information from eclipse-glasses-shopping WSB readers.)

Children must be supervised when viewing the Sun using any method. That said, even children as young as 2½ or 3 can safely use eclipse glasses with a little help. You do not need a different size of glasses for children, but you will need to modify them. To keep the glasses positioned correctly, punch holes in the back of the temples of the glasses, behind the ears. Attach a string, elastic (a cut hairband works well), or a pipe cleaner to both ends while your child is wearing the glasses.

(Eclipse glasses modified for young children)

(Kids demonstrating the correct usage of “adult-sized” solar viewing glasses)

Option 2: Pinhole Projection

The second method I will mention is called pinhole projection. You already have, in your hands, all the tools you need to do this method.

Rule #1 of pinhole projection: NEVER look at the Sun.

Turn your back to the Sun and look at your shadow.

Next make a “pinhole,” or several: if you cross the fingers of one hand over the fingers of the other you make a waffle pattern. Keep your fingers spaced far enough apart to make visible holes between them.

You can also use a colander/spaghetti strainer or something similar.

Look at the shadow of your hands on the ground, or perhaps something smoother like a piece of paper. Every space between your fingers will cast an image of the eclipsed Sun on the ground.

You’ll find yourself “holding” half a dozen eclipses!

(Using a colander to project an array of images of the Sun on the flat surface of an open umbrella)

There are ways to improve this, of course, such as building a simple pinhole projector. Find the longest box you can, width doesn’t matter, and cut two holes: one in one flat end and one “window” on the side of the far end. Cover the first end with aluminum foil and poke one tiny hole in it with a pushpin. Place white paper inside the far end. There are detailed instructions all over the internet, just don’t look through the pinhole.

To use your pinhole projector:

Don’t forget Rule #1! NEVER look at the Sun!

Turn your back on the Sun, and hold your projector so the pinhole points behind you.

Watch the “far” end of your projector and tilt it around until the shadow of your projector on the ground is as small as possible.

Once the shadow looks just like the shape of the end of your box, look inside your window, down at the white paper: away from the Sun.

Keep moving the projector slightly up and down or side to side until you see a small bright dot shine on the white paper. If your projector is 4½ feet long, like mine, the dot will be about the size of the tip of your pinky finger, but it is an image of the Sun!

(Viewing a projected image of the Sun using a pinhole projector)

SAFETY DURING THE ECLIPSE

Please remember that it is the peak of August, and use appropriate heat and Sun-exposure precautions when viewing the eclipse.

*Drink plenty of water

*Wear sunscreen or sun-protective clothing

*Watch for signs of heat-exhaustion

If you are travelling to Oregon for the eclipse, be aware that the Office of Emergency Management is expecting significantly more visitors than usual to the area.

*Be prepared for traffic jams as if entering or exiting an area in a state of emergency.

*Be prepared to stay hours or even a day longer than you planned.

*Be prepared for significant heat, wildfires, and long waits anywhere that provides services.

Resources:

NASA Eclipse 2017
Interactive Google Map #1*
Interactive Google Map #2 (works better on phones than #1)
American Astronomical Society Eclipse 2017
Mr. Eclipse
Stellarium: free planetarium software for your home computer, or Android device. Bring up the sky for anywhere in the world, any time and date in history or the future.
Clear Sky Chart: the astronomer’s forecast for the next couple days. Cloudcover, darkness, and “seeing” which is how nice it is to view the stars, all on one handy chart.
USNO: dates and times of astronomical happenings.
International Dark Sky Association: how to help your neighbors enjoy the night sky.

Who is Alice?
Although she is an astronomy instructor for South Seattle College and a volunteer with NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors program, the suggestions and opinions put forth in this article are Alice’s own and not those of any of those organizations. You can find more about astronomy from Alice at alicesastroinfo.com or on Twitter as @AlicesAstroInfo and Facebook.

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WEST SEATTLE ECLIPSE WATCHING: Where to look for special glasses http://westseattleblog.com/2017/08/west-seattle-eclipse-watching-where-to-look-for-special-glasses/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/08/west-seattle-eclipse-watching-where-to-look-for-special-glasses/#comments Sat, 12 Aug 2017 23:17:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=891711 EDITOR’S NOTE: With nine days until the solar eclipse, we’re getting questions about where to get viewing glasses, and West Seattle’s best-known sky-watcher has put together a list. Watch for more pre-eclipse coverage here tomorrow and beyond, too.

By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog

I will tell you where you can get safe eclipse glasses after two short paragraphs of safety information; my conscience won’t let me skip the safety warnings.

Eclipse Glasses

You absolutely need special equipment to see this event safely.

Eclipse glasses are also called solar-observing glasses and they are not related to sunglasses. There are only a handful of companies that make glasses that meet the current international standard of safety.

To use glasses safely:

*Check that they are marked compliant with the safety standard ISO 12312-2:2015

*Check that the lenses are flat and free from scratches, punctures, or damage. Discard them if there are problems.

*Stand still, looking away from the Sun.

*Put on the glasses.

*Look toward the Sun.

*If the Sun looks bright, or your eyes get tired from the glare, then the filter is letting too much light though. Look away and use a different filter.

“West” Seattle Sources for Eclipse Glasses

I’ve included some farther than West Seattle because everywhere has limited supplies. Most of these locations have the glasses behind the main counter.

Seattle Public Library Branches — FREE!

All the branches of the Seattle Public Library are participating in the Space Science Institute’s STAR_Net Initiative with support from NASA, Google, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. You can pick up one pair per family while supplies last.

(UPDATE: Since we published this – we’ve been told Seattle Public Library branches are OUT. So scroll down to the other suggestions. Ken @ High Point Library says that branch’s eclipse-viewing gathering 8:30-11:30 am on the 21st will have glasses to share. ALSO see comments below this story for additional locations reported by readers.)

(Friendly local librarians at High Point Branch are standing by to assist you in staying safe during the eclipse!)

High Point Branch
3411 SW Raymond
206-684-7454

Delridge Library
5423 Delridge Way SW
206-733-9125

South Park Branch
8604 8th Ave. S.
206-615-1688

West Seattle (Admiral) Branch
2306 42nd SW
206-684-7444

Southwest Branch
9010 35th SW
206-684-7455

South Seattle College Bookstore — $3-$4
6000 16th Ave SW, at Jerry Brockey Center (not the Library!)
See website for hours

(South Seattle Bookstore’s glasses, showcasing the safety information and ISO compliance)

Museum of Flight Store — $5-$6 (with map)
9404 E. Marginal Way South
206-764-5700

(Museum of Flight’s Solar Viewing Glasses + Map combo)

Cloud Break Optics — $10 for 5 (in Ballard)
2821 NW Market Street, STE G
206-327-9826

Cloud Break Optics is locally-owned, and also has all options for safely viewing the eclipse including eclipse binoculars, solar scopes, and solar filters for telescopes.

Pacific Science Center Store
200 2nd Ave N
206-448-2627

7-Eleven?

All 7-Elevens received solar viewing glasses, but I have yet to find a local 7-Eleven store that is not sold out.

Online

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific still has stock as of publication.
Lunt Solar Systems also still has stock, and they have a smaller size available as well.
The American Astronomical Society lists many other sources, but does not track availability.

Resources:

NASA Eclipse 2017
Interactive Google Map #1*
Interactive Google Map #2 (works better on phones than #1)
American Astronomical Society Eclipse 2017
Mr. Eclipse
Stellarium: free planetarium software for your home computer, or Android device. Bring up the sky for anywhere in the world, any time and date in history or the future.
Clear Sky Chart: the astronomer’s forecast for the next couple days. Cloudcover, darkness, and “seeing” which is how nice it is to view the stars, all on one handy chart.
USNO: dates and times of astronomical happenings.
International Dark Sky Association: how to help your neighbors enjoy the night sky.

Who is Alice?
Although she is an astronomy instructor for South Seattle College and a volunteer with NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors program, the suggestions and opinions put forth in this article are Alice’s own and not those of any of those organizations. You can find more about astronomy from Alice at alicesastroinfo.com or on Twitter as @AlicesAstroInfo and Facebook

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UPDATE: Sight in the sky over West Seattle – meteor? (or maybe the missile-defense test?) http://westseattleblog.com/2017/07/sight-in-the-sky-over-west-seattle-meteor-or/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/07/sight-in-the-sky-over-west-seattle-meteor-or/#comments Sun, 30 Jul 2017 05:08:36 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=890362 ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:08 PM SATURDAY: Getting multiple messages about a sight in the sky over West Seattle in the past 15 minutes or so – Jill described it as “an awesome meteor traveling northward, looking east from Admiral/Belvidere.” Anyone else?

10:15 PM: Checking Twitter – still the best place to check real-time reports – we see reports from all over the Northwest – Astoria, OR, to Victoria, B.C., among others.

10:48 PM: Our local sky specialist Alice Enevoldsen points us to the American Meteor Society website, where you can report sightings, and that site in turn reminds us we’re just 2 weeks from the Perseid shower’s peak.

11:05 AM SUNDAY: We don’t know yet if the time frame matches, but the government announced this morning that it conducted a missile-defense test in Alaska overnight – here’s one of the reports, and here’s the government news release. Worth noting that one of the Missile Defense Agency‘s radar vessels, SS Pacific Tracker, was in West Seattle recently; the day it left (July 21st), MarineTraffic.com last showed it headed north, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The test was preceded by an alert, according to this report that includes video of a test earlier this month.

11:20 AM SUNDAY: Again, we don’t know if this was or wasn’t what was seen here – but the Missile Defense Agency website now has video of the test:

Still haven’t seen any word on exactly when the test happened.

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WELCOME, SUMMER! Solstice sunset views, including Alice’s eclipse-enhanced event http://westseattleblog.com/2017/06/welcome-summer-solstice-sunset-views-including-alices-eclipse-enhanced-event/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/06/welcome-summer-solstice-sunset-views-including-alices-eclipse-enhanced-event/#comments Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:08:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=886530 David Hutchinson saw it from Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza

Jen Popp was looking toward downtown …

And Alice Enevoldsen was at Solstice Park, as summer arrived after 9 o’clock tonight:

During her 33rd quarterly seasonal sunset watch, Alice was mostly looking ahead to the rare sight that’s now exactly two months away – the August 21st solar eclipse that will be visible in totality as close as parts of Oregon.

Those who joined her at the park of course also got the chance to learn about and commemorate the changing of the seasons – this year, the solstice moment was less than half an hour after sunset, which was mostly obscured by clouds, aside from the show of pink in the photos atop our story.

So, back to the eclipse: While it won’t be total up here, you’ll still see it at about 90 percent, Alice pointed out. The most important thing is HOW you view it, so you don’t damage your eyes. You can create pinhole viewers or else get a special type of eyewear – cardboard glasses like the ones she showed are on sale at the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) library – they look cheap, she acknowledged, but they get the job done.

The most important thing in eclipse eyewear, she said, is to adhere to ISO 12312-2 – explained on this NASA webpage that’s all about safe eclipse viewing. For general eclipse info, she recommends MrEclipse.com.

P.S. Alice won’t be in West Seattle to lead an eclipse-viewing party but she’ll be talking with local skywatchers and will let us know if anyone else plans to.

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TUESDAY: Summer Solstice sunset watch – plus eclipse info – with Alice Enevoldsen http://westseattleblog.com/2017/06/tuesday-summer-solstice-sunset-watch-plus-eclipse-info-with-alice-enevoldsen/ Sun, 18 Jun 2017 02:22:47 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=886314 IMG_4267
(WSB photo: Summer solstice sunset watch 2016)

Summer officially starts at 9:24 pm next Tuesday (June 20th) – and that’s less than half an hour after sunset, so Alice Enevoldsen‘s 33rd seasonal sunset watch will be close to the actual solstice moment. You’re invited to watch it with her at Solstice Park (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW) as usual, and there’s an informational bonus this time:

This is also my last currently scheduled event before the solar eclipse in August! Come and I’ll give tips and resources on safely observing the eclipse from Seattle, as well as at sites in Oregon. I’ve got more resources than anyone (practically) on safe observing for kids aged 18-months to 6 years, so bring the kiddos.

Alice’s events are free, fun, and informative, and part of what she does as a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador.

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PHOTOS: Aurora, seen from West Seattle! http://westseattleblog.com/2017/05/happening-now-aurora-visible-from-west-seattle-look-north/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/05/happening-now-aurora-visible-from-west-seattle-look-north/#comments Sun, 28 May 2017 06:15:59 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=884134 11:15 PM: Expert skywatcher Alice Enevoldsen just tweeted the news of an aurora visible right here, right now:

She had been talking earlier about the possibility, and we were about to fold it in with some beautiful sunset photos we’d received, when she called to say it’s happening now. Here are her viewing tips (main one, “always look north”). More to come!

11:23 PM: If you’re interested in expert guidance while trying to get a look at the aurora, Alice is considering heading to Don Armeni Boat Ramp (1222 Harbor SW).

12:35 AM: Alice reports an International Space Station sighting too.

12:50 AM: She’s moving on to Myrtle Reservoir Park.

ADDED 7:11 AM SUNDAY MORNING: More photos – first, from Jason Enevoldsen:

And from Jamie Kinney:

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