Three day old moon (waxing gibbous)

NJ Nature Notes

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.              Stephen Hawking, (1942-2018)

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Plato (427 BC - 347 BC), The Republic

The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.                                                                                                      Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944)

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.

Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.                                                                         George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Science is a method of investigation, and NOT a belief system.                                                                              John Cleese

If you’ve enjoyed these photos, there are many more on the Flickr site.

Click here to see them.

       © Richard Wolfert - 2017

Sunset in St. Croix, USVI

Sky & Space RESOURCES:

NEW Aurora Cam from Canada. On only during the dark hours.

Night Sky Photography tutorial from Dave Morrow HERE

Full Moon names for 2012 from with detailed explanations of some of the unusual names.

GigaGalaxyZoom: Amazing views of the milky way and beautiful features.

Google Sky: A great way to see the sky in ‘numerous’ ways.

Real-time view of the Earth as seen from the Moon here

Perhaps the BEST Space Launch video ever! Eight minutes! Don’t miss a second.

NASA: Main page

            Constellation Program

            Earth Observatory

            Flickr page for a NASA center

            Up to the minute ISS status reports

            Jet Propulsion Laboratory

            NASA for Educators

            Launch Schedule

            Live video feeds from Space. Two options:

  1.             1) You can watch the video…about 6 inches down the page, or

  2.             2) View it in a separate window. Click the link that says “Live space station video” a bit down on the left column.

            Locations (some are closer than you think). Consider visiting while on vacation. Great for kids.

            Missions (up-to-the-minute and historical information)

            Mission Calendar



            NASA for Students

            Space Shuttle: See the Space Shuttle as you have never seen it before! 360° panoramic view!  360vr 

            Watch NASA TV (shuttle and satellite launchings, landings, news, etc.

            NASA’s Deep Space Network: what they’re receiving and transmitting to RIGHT NOW.

VIEWING SATELLITES from your own home or town:

  1. BulletView them through NASA

  2. BulletView them with Heavens Above

Major observatory websites:

  1. BulletGemini Observatory  

  2. BulletKeck Observatory

  3. BulletThe Very Large Telescope Project website

  4. BulletNASA’s Infra Red Telescope Facility


Sky & Telescope’s excellent and comprehensive website. This includes such resources as up-to-the-date news, an interactive sky chart, information about the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, and about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

  1. BulletUsing star charts and a Star Wheel This is a great site for up-to-the-minute news about a broad range of space-related issues.

Space weather: This site is much more than it appears with some fascinating information. A very good resource

The Week in Space: Week by week calendar with lots of historical and scheduled data, and loads of gorgeous photos.

Weather Underground: Interactive Star Chart for our region Great for learning your way around the night sky.


POINT TO PONDER: Is the idea of a ‘Space Elevator’ real? Here’s an article from CNN, a January, ’09 NOVA about last year’s space elevator competition, and the Spaceward Foundation, an over-the-top video by the, and finally, a report on this year’s competition (ended 11/6/09) from TG Daily. Children 50 years from now will know the answer.

This is a heavily cropped shot of Jupiter as it was just a dot in the viewfinder of my small, unsophisticated pocketable Canon SE-450 when I tried to image Jupiter through my Swarovski   
     spotting scope. But, it worked! There is one moon visible to the left (Ganymede ) and possibly another (Io) to the right (reddish). The horizontal stripes on the planet can also be seen. I was NOT able to use my bigger camera at all. Just couldn't get any good images hand held like this. All the other images with the little camera were blurred. Can't believe I even got this! I was able to watch Europa begin to transit Jupiter's disk but, of course, I couldn't seen it after it passed out of the black of space to the left and across the face of the planet.

Also, I saw Uranus, too. It was the only thing visible just to the left and above Jupiter and its color WAS a bit different, not the usual bright spot of yellow or pure white. May have had a slight greenish hue but it was not easy to tell.


Sky & Space Eye Candy:

Sky in General:

  1. BulletImage of the Day: what happens when you fire a laser beam through an electrical storm? The photo will be very telling. Space


  1. BulletAmazing photo composite of the moon’s north pole.  Space


  1. BulletCassini snaps remarkable photo of Saturn…from behind!  Yahoo

  2. BulletVideo (made over a very long period of time in months) of fly-throughs of the Saturnian system.  Tecca

Space travel:

  1. BulletA view from inside the International Space Station during a re-boost to maintain a proper orbital altitude.  (Video HERE.)

  2. BulletAmazing time-lapse photos from the International Space Station.

The Scale of the Universe:

  1. BulletAn absolutely wonderful video animation that demonstrates the universe, from the smallest about which we are aware, the the very largest.

  1. BulletHow Big is the Universe-great short video from Minute Physics.

Can we ever travel to a nearby star?:

  1. BulletHere is an intellectual exercise having to do with the possibility of traveling to another star in 100 years or less. Lots of interesting information. Click HERE.


  1. BulletAn amazing shot of the tracks of the Curiosity Rover taken from the orbit by the Mars Reconnoissance Orbiter.

Name that Space Rock

  1. BulletA great and very easy to read chart from that explains what’s up there (and just what could hit us).

A GREAT question that will make YOU think!

  1. BulletWhat keeps Neil deGrasse Tyson awake at night? Do NOT miss reading this!

How big and how small are things?

  1. BulletWe’ll put this here (for want of a better place.) Explore the scale of the universe (or version 2) from the smallest to the very largest! Great to do with kids, too.  (Interactive AND fun!)

What do to if you spot a large meteorite.

  1. BulletREPORT METEORITE SIGHTINGS HERE. And learn about these sightings here, too.


Our Beginning: a fabulous 6 minute video from the Big Bang until today. 

A Vision for the Future: narrated by Carl

SKY DISPLAYS: Absolutely one of the very BEST series of photos of these fabulous events EVER .

Hubble revisits it’s famous “Pillars of Creation” photo with a fabulous new image. 

International Space Station

LEFT:  Nature Notes friend Paul Falcone (E. Brunswick) sent in this outstanding photo of a waxing crescent moon with Jupiter (just below and to the left) and Venus (actually a half-Venus when seen through a scope).

Note that the dark side of the moon is visible by reflected earthlight.

March 24, 2012

Click on the video (directly above) and enjoy!


(Click the page title below to see it.)



  1. Bullet  FRONT PAGE

  2. Bullet  BIRDS & BIRDING  

  3. Bullet    The Birds of Israel, 10/2013

  4. Bullet    RGVBF Texas Birding, 2014

  5. Bullet  WEATHER  

  6. Bullet  THE BACK PAGE 



  1. BulletBIRDS

  2. BulletBUTTERFLIES (49)

  3. BulletDRAGON & DAMSELFLIES (10)

  4. BulletINSECTS (129)

  5. BulletMOTHS #s 0001-4702        |

  6. BulletMOTHS #s 4703-7648    (490)

  7. BulletMOTHS #s 7649-12233      |



  1. Bullet  ODDS & ENDS

  2. Bullet  SKY & SPACE

  3. Bullet  TICK PAGE


1 # of species

Sky & Space Videos:

Fabulous video of ‘the Dark Side of the Moon’, from NASA.

Two versions of the same image…the right one, however, is annotated for those who are new to the night sky. Note the satellite! Taken from Savannah, Georgia in February, on a very clear night. EXIF data: Canon 7D MkII, Canon 18-135mm lens at 18mm, ƒ3.5, ISO 3200, 1.3 sec. exposure. Tripod mounted with a 2 second delay on the shutter.