Venus Transit iPhoto Contest

One more reason to view the transit…you could win an iPad!  details and instructions are here.  Be sure to protect your eyes.  There is a lot of good information for viewing and photographing the transit with a smartphone.  If you have checked out my previous posts I was actually able to capture this image with my smartphone during the eclipse.  So it can be done.  I think I will run a contest in my office for the event and see who can come up with the best photo.

This time I hope to capture better images with my smartphone and my solar scope!  Safe viewing!

– Ex astris, scientia –

Ready for the Transit!

Count down to the Venus transit.  I have everything ready and I hope the weather will play along.  Sometimes it feels like Mother Nature says “Hmmmm…how can I annoy Norman this time.”  Really, I can’t tell you how many times a great astronomical event comes along and the one lone cloud in the sky blocks the event.  Yes, this has actually happened to me.  Hours of preparation down the tubes and then you get to watch it on YouTube.  I’m not sure about the rest of you, but there is nothing like doing your own observing.  Seeing events in real time is the ultimate.  If only watching a sunset or a moonrise was as big a draw as a football, basketball or baseball game, everyone would be into astronomy.  The image below from NASA shows when you can see the transit from the west coast.  Remember to never look at the Sun without protection.  It will damage your eyes!  Good viewing!

Featured image credit: Paul Hyndman

– Ex astris, scientia –


Lamentation for a Friend

Sad news.  A friend of mine and fellow amateur astronomer Gordon Tyler was killed in a motorcycle accident on Friday.  Gordon had been an active member of the Riverside Astronomical Society for many years.  He ran our beginners corner to help budding astronomers both young and old learn to love the night sky and help them along.  Recently he stepped up to become the club’s chief observer.  He gave presentations each month on interesting astronomical news and viewing of the night sky.   He was always willing to stop what he was doing at a star party and help any/everyone in need.  He will be sorely missed.  My heart goes out to Gordon’s wife and family.

“there’ll be two dates on your tombstone everyone
will read them..but the only thing that matters
is the little [ dash between them ]”




Off to the Riverside Astronomical Society Meeting

Tonight’s topic is Mars Science Laboratory by Rob Sweet, NASA Software Engineer and Ground Data Systems Analyst for MSL.  I have found these talks to be very invigorating and you might want to check it out.  More information and directions to the meeting can be found on the RAS website here.

– Ex astris, scientia –

If  you need help determining how best to protect your ideas, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.  Thanks for reading.