The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Project 365: Week 46 November 20, 2012

Filed under: Project 365 — Sheena @ 10:35 am
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First time I saw Jupiter and her moons

imagePhil trying to stay warm while looking at the stars

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My Father-in-Law got all the girls a rose at dinner at Barleys

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Someone stole my pillows

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Bye Bye Twinkies

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Made pumpkin puree from a baking a pumpkin

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Oh boy, here we go again

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Stargazing in Cades Cove November 15, 2012


We, the husband and I, are members of the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society and we held our annual star party and picnic in Cades Cove last Saturday. For non-local readers, Cades Cove is 6,800 acres nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most people visit Cades Cove to observe the wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, turkeys, woodchucks, and other animals. This is a great place for a star party because people can gaze at the star-studded sky without the obstruction of artificial light as you would have in the city.

We set up our telescopes in the first field on the right as you enter loop. The parks rangers allow us drive our vehicles on to the field and unload our supplies and then park along the side. It is pretty neat because our club are the only ones the park ever allowed to drive on that field plus when we leave we are allowed to drive backwards in the loop, pretty neat. We arrived at 3:00 and setup about 3:30 pm. All the members brought food or items for the picnic. About 5:00 pm we finished our club things and calmly waited for the visitors to arrive. The sun set at 5:30 that day and that was when the visitors started gathering in the field.

There were a total of 9 telescopes, including mine, setup in a circle. We were all given an object to locate in the sky and explain to the people what they were looking at as they made their way around. I was assigned the double cluster. Great, right? I know what you’re thinking as well as I was. What and where is the double cluster. After some investigation, I found that these two clusters of stars are located at about the same distance from the sun, 7,000 light-years, and are about the same age, 10 million years. I still didn’t know where it was in the sky or how to find it. People were starting to line up to see my scope and I didn’t have anything to show them. I was getting a bit frustrated after 20 minutes with no luck. I went and got another more knowledgeable member to help me out. Finally, I could show and tell over 300 people what they were looking at. That was a bit stressful.

We really enjoyed ourselves but it was a bit cold once the sun went down. Thank goodness we took hand warmers with us. I think the rangers counted 355 visitors that night. Last year we had over 800 people but that star party was also earlier in the year and when the leaves were starting to change. I think I liked having the smaller crowd. I would have been more stressed if there were 800 people waiting on me 😉

 

 

Amazing Astronomy! September 11, 2012


As some of you may know, this year I have been very fascinated with Astronomy. I purchased my first telescope off Craigslist in the spring of this year and recently purchased another kick butt telescope last week. I am now the proud mommy of the Meade LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. This thing does everything! I will not bore you to tears you with the spec but just know it is remarkable! High-quality telescopes are not inexpensive and this one came at a high price. I had to sell my tanning bed, which I never used as you can see from my pictures.

Back to the reason I started this blog. I wanted to share what I have learned about the universe over the past few months. What I learned blew my mind. There is so much to learn and I feel like I just started and never will stop. Here are a few basic Astronomy facts:

  • Only one side of the Moon faces the Earth. The moons period of rotation is exactly the same as its period of orbit.
  • All the dents you see on the Moon are caused by asteroids and meteors colliding with it. The Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere to burn them up like the earth does.
  • All the stars in the sky could be suns. The only difference between a sun and star is a sun has planets rotating around them. Only 55% of Americans know the Sun is a star, sad.
  • Some of the stars in the sky are so far away that the light from them takes million of years to reach us.
  • All the planets pass Mars are gas giants. We couldn’t even land on them if we wanted to.
  • Saturn isn’t the only planet in our galaxy that has rings, Neptune does too.
  • We can see our own galaxy! Most people don’t know this mainly because they have never seen it due to light pollution, but we can see outer lining of the Milky Way on a clear dark night. It looks like a cloud in the night sky; however, if you use a good camera and let it collect a lot of light, it will show many different colors of the gases. 
  • Just because it is night time doesn’t mean the moon is out. Many people think the Moon only comes out at night and the Sun in the day. Well, they can both be out at the same time. Tonight the Moon will raise at 2:39 am and will set at 4:52 pm, so look in the sky today, you should see the moon with the sun.
  • We are so small in comparison to the universe! Look at the picture below that I borrowed from weirdwarp.com. Every picture has the Earth in it. At first we look big but then we end up looking like a spec of dust. 
  • There is a star, called Betelgeuse, that is 450,000,000 miles in diameter, and the Sun is just a dot compared to it. Now that’s really big.
  • Jupiter has 63 moons and Saturn has 60. The planet with the 3rd most moons is Uranus with only 27 moons, but that’s still a lot compared to Earth with only 1.
  • Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, temperatures can reach -280 degrees F. Since Mercury has almost no atmosphere, there is nothing to trap heat near the surface. Thus, the dark side of Mercury (the side facing away from the Sun) is very cold.
  • All the Planets are the same age, 4.5 billion years old.
  • The star Lucy is a huge diamond of 10 billion trillion trillion carats. That would make one large ring!

I guess that is enough facts for now. I could keep going and going but I don’t want to bore you to death. I just think the Universe is such an interesting place. If you find it as interesting as I. please let me know. I would love to chat and exchange knowledge.

 

Project 365: Week 44 August 26, 2012


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Sent all day Sunday learning the art of canning.

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Went to Circle G Ranch, again. I just love that place.

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Girls night out, painting at Spirited Art.

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Found this bad boy at Walgreens. It was green in the middle.

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If it fits, it ships!

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Finally got a clear night to try out my new eye pieces.

Umm, ok?

 

Project 365: Week 42 August 13, 2012


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If you look where I am pointing I noticed Google didn’t forget about the Mars rover landing.

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Just received my new eye pieces and camera attachments for my telescope

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As you can see, it was a big week for science.

 

The husband smoked a pork butt and we used the leftovers to make a pizza. It was so good!

 

Phil and I joined the SMAS club this week and had our first meeting

This picture is of a Perseid Meteor Shower flying past the Milky Way. Awesome shot by one of the SMAS members at the start party this Saturday at Look Rock.

Had some great weather this week. Getting my dose of Vitamin D.

 

 

 

Project 365: Week 41 August 5, 2012

Filed under: Project 365 — Sheena @ 6:21 pm
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Trying to stargaze on a cloudy night. Didn’t go too well 😦

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I was trying to find a part for my telescope, look whose link came up first 🙂

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Perfect timing

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Mr Peyton making friends

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Gave Malachi a raw hide and he was walking around looking like he was smoking a cigar.

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Movie Night

 

Project 365: Week 38 July 15, 2012


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Amish farm finds

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Really hot peppers

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These are from MY Garden. My first picks of the summer! They could be my children, cause I am so proud of them.

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Playing pool at a local craft beer place. Really liked it there.

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Mr. Mal and his snack.

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This is my newest baby my Orion Skyquest Reflector telescope.

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My finds at the Earthbound Trading Company

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Brushing up on my Astronomy.