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Monthly Archives: September 2010

30 Sep

There are many quantitative methods to determine the faintest “magnitude” or degree of darkness for the night sky at your location for astronomy. For the most part, this is mostly a matter of determining how much light pollution you have in your area, but it can also reveal some subtle differences in the quality of your site as to transparency and air stability, both of which are variables at even the darkest site on any given night.

Why is sky darkness so important? The darker the sky, the fainter the objects that can be seen with your astronomy binoculars or…

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29 Sep

I’ve become so accustomed to writing and watching birds at the feeder at the same time, that I’m not sure if I could write without the birds. For some writers, birdwatching would be a distraction, but, of course, I am a birding nut. Watching birds at my feeders calms me and keeps me smiling and being in a pleasant frame of mind can be good for writing, despite cliches to the contrary.

If you haven’t tried feeding birds, you are missing something, that I promise you. Even if you don’t keep binoculars at the ready, like I do (though I…

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29 Sep

I’ve become so accustomed to writing and watching birds at the feeder at the same time, that I’m not sure if I could write without the birds. For some writers, birdwatching and writing would not mix, bit I am a birding nut, of course. Watching birds calms me and keeps me smiling and being in a pleasant frame of mind can be good for writing, despite the cliché that great writing is a product of tortured minds.

If you haven’t tried feeding birds, you are missing something, that I promise you. Even if you don’t keep binoculars at the ready,…

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28 Sep

Mosquitoes are on their last gasp for the season, up here in the north country, so I am eagerly awaiting the next dark of the moon to put my astronomy binoculars to work. Now that it is getting dark, earlier, I also get to start using the binoculars earlier in the evening, too. Kick in those crisp north country nights and you can’t lose. No doubt about it, fall is my favorite season for using astronomy binoculars.

Fall is also prime observing time for the wealth of open star clusters it brings to view and, of all deep-sky objects, open…

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27 Sep

Do you keep a list of all the new visitors to your home? Some people I know do just that, though, I am not one of them. I’m a little too casual in my style for that sort of thing. As close as I’ve come, given that I am so crazy into birdwatching has been to keep a list of all the new birds that have visited my yard, though, these days my back yard bird list is more mental than written. I do, though, like to keep an eye on the yard, as I never tire of seeing birds…

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24 Sep

Never quite sure how it happens, but I’ll take it. That sums up my thoughts on how birds that have never seen a bird feeder can adapt so quickly to a bird feeder. When I first put up our feeders in our new place, some two weeks ago I had a day or two of concern when the birds seem slow to discover the feeder. I watched and waited, scanning with my binoculars for hours and no birds. Now, I practically have to run a gauntlet to fill the feeders. Yesterday, I took the feeders down and laid them on …

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23 Sep

What do you do on a rainy day in the north woods? After all, being outdoors is what the north country is all about. Right?

As a child, I spent many a rainy north country day in a tent, playing card and board games with brothers and sisters or, when we had a cabin, sitting around the fire reading or talking. Now that we have a year-round home in the north, Bill and I talk over a cup of coffee or work together on house projects and, when the work is all done, I read or maybe even tie some …

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22 Sep

Just some binocular notes, today.

Congratulations! You just bought a nice binocular … or is nice binoculars? Is it any more correct to say that you just bought a Nikon binocular or Nikon binoculars, even though you only bought one Nikon? Actually, you can say it either way. “I just bought binoculars,” or, “I just bought a binocular,” conveys the same meaning. I don’t think the grammar police will be watching and, besides, if you just bought a binocular or binoculars (one), you have a right to say it anyway you want, as far as I am concerned, since you…

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21 Sep

If you wear glasses and want to use binoculars, you will learn about a binocular feature called “eye relief” rather quickly. Eye relief is the maximum distance your eyes can be from the eyepieces of a binocular and still see the entire field of view. If you wear glasses, long eye relief is good, short eye relief is not. Why? With glasses over your eyes, you can only get your eyes so close to the lenses on the eye pieces of the binocular. A binocular that only offers short eye relief means that your eyes are too far back from…

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20 Sep

We’re back in Milwaukee for a few days on business and, I have to say, it hurts. Didn’t even bother to bring along the astronomy binoculars, birding binoculars or a spotting scope, given that I no longer have bird feeders out, here in Milwaukee and those northern skies make these city skies look sick, as far as astronomy goes. For sure, I have been spoiled beyond all reason with just a small taste of our new north woods life. Don’t mean to be so hard on Milwaukee – it has been a good place to live if you like the …

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