Skies Over West Seattle 153 results

SUMMER: Alice’s solstice-sunset watch on one-day delay this time

(WSB photos from Alice’s 2023 solstice–sunset watch)

If you were planning on celebrating the change of seasons by attending NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen‘s quarterly sunset watch at Solstice Park – note that she’s having it one day later this time. Due to a conflict, Alice will be gathering sunset-watchers at 8:30 pm next Friday (June 21) rather than on the actual solstice date Thursday. The setting sun will still be visible in line with the park’s marker – assuming the forecast holds. If you haven’t been before, this is in upper Solstice Park, upslope from the tennis courts at 7400 Fauntleroy Way SW. (Actual sunset time is just after 9 pm, but the sun will drop behind the Olympics about 10 minutes before that. And the actual solstice moment, for the record, will be 1:50 pm Thursday.)

PHOTOS: Aurora paints the sky over West Seattle

9:05 PM: You might have heard about the solar storm that’s led to a strong possibility of the aurora – aka Northern Lights – over our area tonight. West Seattle’s expert skywatcher/educator Alice Enevoldsen has a standing page of links you can use to check the forecast – including one that points to this:

That should be the newest image from the NOAA site, looking ahead about half an hour; also note that UTC is seven hours later than our time. Alice’s page also has viewing advice; let us know what you see – we’ll be watching too, and updating.

10:14 PM: Haven’t heard/seen any WS reports yet, but the National Weather Service office up on Sand Point says they’ve got a bit of color in the sky.

10:52 PM: In comments, Liz reports seeing it. And via Twitter/X, so does Alicia.

10:58 PM: Texter says this is what they’re seeing from the West Seattle Golf Course:

11:03 PM: Another texted photo, looking toward downtown from Blair DeWeese:

11:14 PM: Now getting lots of reports. People are seeing it from Hamilton Viewpoint (Blair’s pic above) and Myrtle Reservoir parks, among other places. Here’s one just texted from Myrtle:

11:29 PM: From Hoa Vong at Delridge/Brandon:

11:52 PM: Many more photos in comments below (thank you!).

EARLY AM NOTE: We’ve received more pics in email too and will add some here later this morning. And we’ll be on watch to see if the aurora returns tonight, given that the solar storm apparently isn’t over yet.

SEEN OVER WEST SEATTLE: Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, approaching peak brightness

Kevin Freitas sent this comet photo in early April; we decided to save it for a stretch of clear nights – which we’re experiencing now!

Kevin wrote: “This is comet 12P/Pons-Brooks as viewed with a small digital telescope from our deck here in West Seattle. This beauty can be seen with binoculars after sunset as it heads out of the inner solar system not to return for 71 years. An app like ‘Night Sky’ or various websites will show you where to look for this green gem currently in our night skies.” In fact, Space.com reports that Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is reaching peak brightness this weekend.

ADDED THURSDAY: From Kevin – “For anyone interested I’ll be down at Emma Schmitz Overlook by 8:30 pm tonight to try to photograph the comet again. Bring your binoculars and let’s see what we can see!” Look for him across from Me-Kwa-Mooks.

UPDATE: Alice’s solar-eclipse event at South Seattle College – indoors

(WSB photos)

11:15 AM: With unbroken clouds overhead, expert skywatcher/educator Alice Enevoldsen is hosting her solar-eclipse-viewing event inside Olympic Hall at the south end of the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) campus, room 105. She’s tuning in feeds from other areas of the nation/hemisphere (so far, Texas, Missouri, Mexico, Canada) that are seeing a total eclipse (even if we weren’t socked in here, we’d be seeing only 20 percent coverage).

11:27 AM: Alice has sent out scouts to check outside every few minutes. Still “totally socked in.” (If that changes, though, she promises, “we’re going outside.”) The feeds onscreen have varied from totality in Mexico to “just getting started” in Maine (where totality is a little over an hour away).

(Maine feed shown onscreen – this is close to what it peaked at here, above the clouds)

11:45 AM: If you could see through the clouds here, we’d already be more than 15 minutes past the partial-eclipse peak here, so this is definitely remaining an indoor viewing event. Alice, who is an instructor here at SSC, has explained that one of the feeds is from a North Seattle College instructor, Tracy Furutani, who traveled to Missouri to see it and provide a livestream.

12:04 PM: The Missouri location dimmed noticeably on the live feed and is now coming out of totality. (One total-eclipse image also revealed a couple of planets, too, which Alice jumped up to point out.) Other areas are still heading for complete coverage so Alice will be here a while longer; we’re moving on.

ECLIPSE: If the weather cooperates, here’s where to watch – safely – in West Seattle

Current forecast for midday Monday is mostly cloudy – but things can change, so here’s the place to be for guided viewing of the partial solar eclipse, if there’s a break in the clouds. Educator/expert skywatcher Alice Enevoldsen – who gave away eclipse-viewing glasses at her spring-equinox sunset event (photo at right) – will be at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor), in the grassy field near Olympic Hall on the south end of the campus. She’s planning to be there 10:35 am-12:25 pm Monday (April 8), with the maximum eclipse – 20% coverage – expected at 11:29 am. See the eclipse page on her Alice’s Astro Info website here. And wherever you’re looking from. remember, do it safely (Alice’s page explains how).

PHOTOS: Marvelous moonset, seen from West Seattle

Thanks to everyone who sent photos of this morning’s moonset,seen over the Olympics before 7 am. Here are some of them! The top photo was texted anonymously; next one is from Stephanie Bruno on Atlas Place:

From Michael Burke in Fauntlee Hills:

And from Patricia, just before it went out of view:

Again, big thanks! Best way to send us photos if you can is westseattleblog@gmail.com – texting to 206-293-6302 also works, especially if it’s urgent (breaking news).

P.S. The current moon phase is part of the info on our West Seattle Weather page (recently added at a reader’s suggestion).

SPRING ARRIVES: Equinox eclipsed by eclipses at Alice’s sunset watch

March 19, 2024 10:28 pm
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 |   Skies Over West Seattle | West Seattle news

West Seattle skywatching expert/educator Alice Enevoldsen was looking ahead to eclipses as well as the spring equinox during her change-of-seasons sunset watch tonight at Solstice Park. The upcoming solar eclipse will peak at 20 percent coverage in our area, and unless the day/time (11:29 am Monday, April 8) arrives with heavy rain/fog, she’ll be leading a viewing event somewhere. (Here’s the eclipse-info page on her website.) She brought special viewing glasses to tonight’s event. Alice also talked about an upcoming lunar eclipse, overnight next Sunday to Monday (March 24-25) – explained here by Space.com, which says it’ll be “underwhelming” because it’s a shadow eclipse, not total coverage. Now, back to the spring equinox (which officially arrived less than an hour after tonight’s sunset):

As tonight’s attendees got to see firsthand, Alice hosts her gatherings at Solstice Park because of its unique features – paths and stone markers that line up with the setting sun at equinoxes and solstices, as seen in this photo (which also shows the globe she uses to explain planetary positions at those season-change moments):

The setting sun will be in almost the same path tomorrow night too – but likely not visible, as the forecast says clouds are on their way back.

VIDEO: Welcoming winter at Alice Enevoldsen’s solstice sunset watch, with extra reason to be excited about spring

Welcome to the first full day of winter! Three hours before the season started with the solstice moment at 7:27 pm Thursday, more than 50 people joined educator/expert skywatcher Alice Enevoldsen for her 59th change-of-seasons sunset watch. This time, those gathered at Solstice Park saw the sun slip behind the tall trees of Lincoln Park across the way:

Key attributes at upper Solstice Park are the paths and stones that align with the sunset on the solstices and equinoxes, so checking out those views was popular just before sunset:

Then it was time for a centerpiece of the sunset watches – Alice’s interactive explanation of the earth’s tilt at solstices and equinoxes, with young volunteer Meredith at the center of the circle, portraying the sun:

Alice also explained how your views of constellations change during the year, responding to an attendee’s question, and talked a bit about the solar eclipse coming up on April 8th – only 20 percent coverage or so in our area, “but a nice partial eclipse,” she said. But before then, her 60th quarterly sunset watch will mark the arrival of spring – be at Solstice Park at 6:30 pm March 19,

PHOTOS: Here’s what solar-eclipse watchers saw from West Seattle

Thanks to everyone who sent photos! The clouds made for some dramatic views of this morning’s partial solar eclipse. Above is what Coleman Smith saw from 35th and Holden. Below, Brian‘s view from Highland Park:

Highland Park is also where West Seattle skywatching expert/educator Alice Enevoldsen hosted an eclipse-viewing event at Westcrest Park. Jason Enevoldsen shared this photo:

For a closeup view of the mostly-covered sun, here’s what Jamie Kinney saw:

And another look through the clouds, via William Wright‘s photo:

(added) From Scott Nelson:

And from Kevin Freitas:

The eclipse peaked in our area with 80 percent coverage at 9:20 am. Next spring, April 8th, 2024, will bring another partial solar eclipse – 20 percent coverage in that area – watch Alice’s website for viewing info (and advice).

END OF SUMMER: Change-of-seasons sunset watch Friday, with bonus solar-eclipse info

(Photo by Lynn Hall)

Tonight’s sunset ended the last weekend of summer. Autumn arrives at the equinox moment of 11:49 pm Friday (September 22nd). A few hours before that, educator and expert skywatcher Alice Enevoldsen will lead her next change-of-season sunset watch, starting at 6:30 pm at Solstice Park (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW, upslope). Not only will Alice explain the equinox, she’ll be talking about how to get ready to view the October 14th solar eclipse (partial in our area). Free eclipse-viewing glasses, too!

About that line of lights in the sky

The photo is from Nick, one of several people who emailed/texted late Friday night about that sight in the sky. It was another Starlink sighting. SpaceX launched another 22 internet-service satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida, just after 8:30 pm our time Friday, and that was the fourth Starlink launch this month. However, that’s not what we were seeing here, according to FindStarlink.com – this “satellite train” was from Starlink 104, launched a week ago.

READER REPORT: Alki aurora-watching

Just received from Emily Burleson:

Tonight the NOAA space weather forecast showed a potential for Aurora borealis over Seattle tonight. Went down to Alki Beach to try to catch a glimpse and saw … Something! To the naked eye it was mostly colorless, but the long exposure phone photos showed a lot more … taken around 11 pm.

Here’s a dramatic view from about an hour and a half north.

West Seattle photographer shows you how to safely capture the International Space Station as it crosses the sun

The image was sent by Kevin Freitas, who’s offering you the chance to capture something similar, safely. Here’s his announcement:

Join local amateur photographer, sky watcher, and meteor hunter Kevin Freitas to learn how to capture a solar transit of the International Space Station. We’ll talk through how to set up your photo or video gear and apps to use to find transits and measure precise time. Then, just before 3:30, we’ll try to capture a transit!

The most important item you need is a solar filter to put atop your camera lens to filter out most of the Sun’s burning light. Don’t have a filter? Make your own with these filter sheets and some black tape. CAUTION: Never stare at or photograph the Sun without a proper solar filter!

When: Monday, July 31, 2:30-3:30 pm
Where: (update) New location – Magnolia Boulevard Viewpoint (map) – see comment discussion
RSVP: kevinfreitas.net@gmail.com or text 253-229-5093

SUMMER STARTS: 100 watch solstice sunset with Alice Enevoldsen

(Photo by James Bratsanos)

No matter where you watched summer’s first sunset from, it was beautiful. We were at Solstice Park with Alice Enevoldsen and about 100 people who came to the park for her change-of-seasons sunset watch.

(WSB photos from here)

Alice explained “why we have seasons” after inviting everyone to watch the sunset line up with the park paths that point to precisely placed markers:

As usual, she enlisted a volunteer helper from the crowd – this time, a young sunset-watcher named June – to help her demonstrate how the tilting of the Earth factors into the seasons.

Alice noted some datapoints, such as the fact that the sun never reaches the highest possible point in our sky – it peaks at 66 degrees, and then in winter, only gets to 14 degrees above the horizon. Speaking of which, 8:58 was the exact moment the last visible bit of the Sun slipped behind the Olympics:

Alice – an educator who leads these gatherings as a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador – explains that the actual sunset moment is about 10 minutes earlier than the “official” sunset time (which tonight was 9:11 pm). Her next sunset watch will be in on the fall-equinox date, September 22nd, when sunset will be just before 7 pm.

P.S. A sky show followed the sunset watch – crescent moon with Venus right below it in the western sky.

VIDEO: Meteor over West Seattle, caught on camera

Thanks to Kevin Freitas for sharing the video from last night – a meteor fireball streaking across the sky, seen on his sky-watching setup near The Mount. The American Meteor Society‘s page for this “event” shows dozens of reports around the region. (If you ever see one, here’s how to report it.) Kevin describes his setup as a “modified Wyze v3 cam” atop the roof of his home.

PHOTOS: Northern Lights, visible from West Seattle!

11:37 PM: On Twitter, some are reporting an aurora (Northern Lights) view – looking north from Alki, for example – so we thought we’d share the alert.

That was tweeted by @Ben_Wooley from the beach near Alki Bathhouse a short time ago. (added) And from @MoogleChemist in Seaview:

(added) Another photo from Alki, by Jon McAllister:

Here are Alice Enevoldsen‘s tips on aurora-viewing from Seattle.

2:20 PM: Another to add, sent by Ryan Bruels, from Alki:

Thanks to everyone who sent photos! And to Lara G, who provided the first heads-up via Twitter.

WELCOME, SPRING! Alice Enevoldsen’s vernal-equinox sunset watch

(WSB photos)

The sun made a partial appearance for Alice Enevoldsen‘s equinox-sunset watch tonight, just under five hours after the official arrival of spring. The West Seattle educator/expert skywatcher, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, has led gatherings like this at Fauntleroy’s Solstice Park four times a year since 2009, missing just a few, even hosting some remotely during the peak of the pandemic.

Attendees leave with a better understanding of what exactly happens at the equinox – in short, the day and night are of equal length, though there’s more to it. Bonus attraction for visiting Solstice Park on these days – there are paths and markers that line up with th setting sun on the equinoxes and solstices, and you can see for yourself.

Missed it? Just three months until the summer-solstice gathering – Wednesday, June 21st. (The solstice moment will be 7:57 am; sunset will be around 9 pm.

MONDAY: Spring equinox sunset watch with Alice at Solstice Park

March 19, 2023 11:14 am
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 |   Skies Over West Seattle | West Seattle news

(December 2022 photo by Jason A.G. Enevoldsen)

Snow was on the ground when educator/expert skywatcher Alice Enevoldsen led her change-of-seasons sunset watch for winter three months ago at West Seattle’s Solstice Park. Now the days are warmer and longer and it’s time to welcome spring. The equinox moment is at 2:24 pm tomorrow (Monday, March 20th) and a few hours later, Alice welcomes you to the park (uphill from the tennis courts at 7400 Fauntleroy Way SW) to learn about what “equinox” really means, and to see how the sunset lines up with the precisely placed rocks at the park. She’ll be there 6:30 pm-7:30 pm; whether it’s in view or not, the sun will set behind the Olympics around 7 pm (usually 10 minutes or so before the “official” sunset time). All ages welcome; serious rain cancels.

SKYWATCHING: How – and where – to see Comet ZTF from West Seattle tonight

2:07 PM: Late last night, the sky cleared and Comet ZTF (its abbreviated name) was visible from West Seattle. Expert skywatcher/educator Alice Enevoldsen tweeted about it, including photos:

Today, Alice says things are looking good for tonight – but you’ll need binoculars and something to steady yourself against, like a railing or tripod. In this tweet, she explains that “it will still be neatly between Polaris and the cup of the Big Dipper, so scan from the North Star (Polaris) slowly towards the Big Dipper.” Here’s a link she suggests for more info on how to find it; here’s what Space.com says about it, including some backstory.

9:08 PM: Alice is working on a pop-up comet-viewing opportunity for later tonight. We’ll add the info here as soon as she decides (or you can follow her on Twitter, where she’ll announce it).

9:52 PM: Alice is at Alki Playfield near Alki Elementary.

WINTER ARRIVES: Alice Enevoldsen’s solstice sunset watch in West Seattle

December 21, 2022 5:57 pm
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 |   Skies Over West Seattle | West Seattle news

(Photos by Jason A.G. Enevoldsen)

This year, winter arrived in West Seattle amid truly wintry weather – and two hours after the 1:47 pm solstice moment, dozens of people commemorated the change of seasons with a tradition. Educator and skywatching expert Alice Enevoldsen drew more than two dozen people to Solstice Park for her quarterly sunset watch. It’s a chance to learn what actually happens in the solar system at the solstice moment – or, in the spring and fall, the equinox moment.

This time, the sun even made an appearance!

You can set your calendar to join Alice at the park for the spring equinox on March 20, 2023.

WEST SEATTLE SKY: Smoky sunset, moon

The Bolt Creek Fire to the east is still sending smoke this way, and that has worsened air quality, as shown on both the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and PurpleAir maps. But it’s also intensified the sunset color, as shown in James Bratsanos‘ photo from tonight (above). Meantime. Eddie caught the moon with a bit of a tinge last night:

The fire is currently about a third contained, according to this update.

Sights in the sky: Those were Starlink satellites, again

(Photo tweeted by Yolanda, looking west from Fauntleroy)

Thanks for the tips and pics. Once again, a SpaceX rocket launch deploying Starlink satellites has led to a startling sighting in the West Seattle sky. This time, they launched 52 satellites for more internet connectivity in certain regions of the world. Another launch last month led to a similar sighting. Today’s launch was at 4:32 pm our time; the next one, according to EarthSky, could be as soon as Friday (September 30th).

AUTUMN ARRIVES: Equinox sunset with Alice

September 23, 2022 1:59 am
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 |   Skies Over West Seattle | West Seattle news

For the first sunset of fall, the sun glowed between the Lincoln Park trees, and Solstice Park‘s equinox marker sparkled.

These were all among the sights at Alice Enevoldsen‘s change-of-seasons sunset watch, along with Alice’s interactive explanation of what happens at the equinox moment (which this time happened less than an hour before sunset):

As a volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador and professional educator, Alice has been leading these events quarterly for more than a decade. You never know who will show up. Kristina, an artist, was capturing the moment this time:

And with the sun fully visible, that meant a chance to view how it lined up with the designated equinox-aligned park path:

If you want to plan ahead for winter-solstice sunset watch, that’s already on Alice’s website – 3:45 pm December 21st, which will be about two hours after the solstice moment.