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Star Talk for September 2022

By Astronomer Jim Higgs

Astronomer Jim Higgs was our special guest at Camp Blue Spruce this summer! As pictured below, he led a rocketry and propulsion interest group, he also brought in meteorites and minerals for campers to view. Campers and staff viewed a full moon as well as Saturn and its rings with a telescope at the star viewing party that he and his friends from Rose City Astronomers hosted. 

In The Evening Sky:

• As you can see from the below star chart, the Milky Way will be overhead, roughly arching from the southwest to the northeastern sky. The Milky Way is dim, seen best in a dark sky, but it is only observable as a faint glow. It is comprised of more stars than can be counted! By looking at the Milky Way, we are looking at our galaxy from the edge (where we live) in toward our galaxy’s center. The Milky Way is huge, comprised of about 250 billion stars. It’s length is about 100,000 light years (each light year is 6 trillion miles). All the stars that we can see all reside in the Milky Way—the stars that are in other galaxies are too dim and far away for us to see individually! Yet, with giant telescopes, we know that there hundreds of billions of other galaxies, and many of those are much bigger than the Milky Way!
• The summer triangle, visible last month, is still in the sky. At the “top” of the triangle and nearly straight up is the star Vega, a very bright star in the constellation of Lyra; Lyra is shaped like a rhombus (see the below chart). To the left (east) of Vega you’ll see Deneb, the brightest star in Cygnus. And the third star of the triangle, below the other two, is Altair, the brightest star in Aquila the Eagle.
• Saturn will be yellow-ish and bright, nearly directly due south. In a small telescope you can see the rings!
• This month Jupiter rises about sunset and will be spectacular. On the 26th , Jupiter will be in “opposition,” which means that Earth will be almost exactly between Jupiter and the sun. As a result, Jupiter will appear particularly “big” (through a telescope or even binoculars) and will be very bright. With binoculars and a very steady hand, you may be able to see as many as four of Jupiter’s moons!
• On the 7th, Saturn and the moon appeared very close.
• On the 9th, the moon was half-way between Saturn and Jupiter, making for a very bright trio!
• On the 15th, the Pleiades (a bright star cluster) rose late in the night, followed by the moon, and then followed by Mars.
• On the 30th, the moon will be only 1.5 degrees above Antares, the giant red star in the constellation of Scorpius!

In The Morning Sky:

• Venus will be the bright morning star, but is now once again getting closer to the sun.
• Mars will also be in the early morning sky.

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General News

Come to Our Anniversary Party!

We’re celebrating 10 YEARS of providing fun for youth and teens living with food allergies! Please join us as we thank YOU, and all of our Camp Blue Spruce family, for helping us reach this milestone.

If you are one of our generous donors, passionate volunteers, product sponsor, or former camper family or camp counselor, this evening is meant to celebrate you as the guest of honor.

This is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends from the past or find new ones in the food allergy community.

Tickets are $25/person and include a delicious top-9 allergen free catered dinner, games and activities, free kayaks, pedal boards, SUPS, and a large float mat. In the evening, be ready for fun around a “campfire,” with memories from the past ten years, camp songs, raffle ticket prizes, and more!

We can’t wait to bring the community together and celebrate!

  • Saturday, October 1, 2022 from 3 – 8 pm
  • Willamette Park, 1100 12th St., West Linn, OR
  • Games, activities, arts & crafts
  • A delicious top-9 free, catered dinner is included in the ticket price! (free of: dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat/all gluten and sesame.)
  • Paddle Linn will be onsite providing FREE kayaks, pedalboards, SUPS,and a large float mat. Life jackets are provided.
  • “Campfire” presentation, including memories from the past ten years, raffle ticket prizes, camp songs, and more!
  • Tickets are $25/person and include dinner and all the activities
  • Questions? events@campbluespruce.org

Questions? events@campbluespruce.org

Help Make the Party a BLAST!

WE NEED YOU! Check out the volunteer sign up form for lots of small, but important, ways you can help make our 10th Anniversary Party a blast.

From donating a raffle prize to helping keep the Giant Jenga game stacked- there’s something for everyone.

The best part is that you can still enjoy the event while contributing to Camp Blue Spruce.

Categories
General News

Star Talk for August 2022

By Astronomer Jim Higgs

The big deal in the sky for the month of August is the Perseid meteor shower! And it’s maximum typically occurs the night of August 11th every year. Meteors are best seen after midnight, but for Blue Spruce Campers on August 11th, we saw an occasional bright meteor that night! There have been a few meteors at camp this year.

In The Evening Sky:

  • All month, the “Summer Triangle” of three bright stars will be clearly visible in the southern sky. Vega is near “the top” (the zenith) of the sky and is the most brilliant. Off to the left will be the bright star Deneb and the most southern is the bright star Altair. You can find all three on the below star chart.
  • Anchored by bright Vega, we have the constellation Lyra, shaped like a rhombus. Can you find Lyra? See the below photo and star chart. Between the two stars in the bottom of Lyra’s rhombus is the “Ring Nebula.” Hopefully, we’ll be able to see the dim ring nebula with telescopes at Blue Spruce, but the bright moon may prevent that. 
  • One of the fun “binary stars” to see in the sky is Albireo, in the constellation of Cygnus. Albireo looks like a very normal, not very bright star with a naked eye. But through a telescope, you can see that Albireo is really two stars, one that is yellow and the other one is blue!

In The Morning Sky:

  • Throughout the month, Venus is still the brightest non-moon object in the sky, serving as the “morning star.”
  • On August 15th, the waning (decreasing in phase size) moon was very close to brilliant Jupiter in the morning sky.
     

Star Chart for August, from Orion Telescopes website:

Categories
General News

Camp Blue Spruce’s 10 Year Anniversary Party

RSVP for Camp Blue Spruce’s 10-year Anniversary party!

Event: 10-year Anniversary Party
Date: Saturday, October 1, 2022
Time: 3 PM to 8 PM
Location: Willamette Park, 1100 12th Street, West Linn, Oregon

Dinner will be provided and free of the top 9 food allergens. Please bring a blanket or camp chairs for viewing the main stage.

Paddle Linn will be onsite, providing free kayaks, pedalboards, SUPS, and a large float mat. Life jackets are provided.

Get your 10 year anniversary party tickets here!

Reach out to events@campbluespruce.org for any questions or additional information.

Categories
General News

Star Talk for July 2022

By Astronomer Jim Higgs

July will be a very good month for several astronomy observations. There will be swath of planets visible in the early morning sky, several pretty moon-planet conjunctions, meteors, and bright star clusters. So let’s get started:

In The Early Pre-dawn Morning:

  • The Planet Show that was so visible in late June is still in the sky, although the compactness of the group is a bit more spread out. Nonetheless, the following schematic still applies, stretching several planets out between Saturn and Mercury:
  • On July 17th, a waning (getting smaller) gibbous moon (this means about 2/3 of a full moon) joins the array of planets in the early morning sky, making for a pretty observation.
  • On July 24th, there will be a pretty line-up of Venus, the moon (now a crescent), Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

In The Evening:

  • On July 10th, the moon will be only 2 degrees above the red-giant star Antares. Antares, near the near of the constellation Scorpius, is a huge star, as large as the orbit of Mars!
  • The constellation of Hercules, the hunter, will be due south and almost overhead. Hercules is one of my favorite constellations because its stars are really configured like a person (well, sort of!), its main stars are bright, and because within Hercules is the grand globular star cluster M13. M13 can just barely be seen through binoculars, but through a telescope, M13 is beautiful, being comprised of several hundred stars. Below are pictures Hercules and of M13. Use the below star chart to find Hercules.
Hercules
M13 Star Cluster
Star Chart – Can you see Hercules?
  • Saturn will finally move into the night-time sky in July, but in early July if doesn’t rise until about midnight.
  • As we discussed in the past, the very early morning is always the best time to see a meteor shower, but sometimes people just stay up late in July! If you’re one of those and you spend an hour or so watching the late-night sky, there’s a good chance you’ll see some meteors, part of the Delta Aquarid metor shower. There should be some meteors visible all month, but it will peak near the end of July.  

The following Star Chart from Orion Telescopes website