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Sirius at the Mart... not
August 9, 2017

I made another try for the Heliacal Rising of Sirius at the old Mart site in Pennsauken, NJ, on August 9, 2017, but again, no luck. Although 99% of the sky was clear, the narrow band of clouds near the southeast horizon included the area of interest for spotting Sirius as it rose, which is the area above the tree line immediately left of these power transmission towers. They are nominally at 116 azimuth in this view. This morning, Sirius rose at 5:29 am EDT and the sun rose at 6:06 am. I looked fruitlessly at clouds with 10x50 binoculars between about 5:35 and 5:55 am, hoping for a break. This snapshot of the offending clouds near the towers was taken at 5:56 am with a Canon 6D digital SLR camera (handheld) and a Canon 100 mm f/2.8L macro lens (then cropped mildly). It was exposed 1/200 second at f/4.5, ISO 800.

Update, August 15, 2017. As of this morning, I have not seen Sirius near sunrise this season, mainly due to the weather. Although I had an early start with my first attempt on August 1, things just didn't work out, so I'll have to wait for next year and hope for a clearer horizon.

 

 

Sunrise at the Mart
August 6, 2017

I was back at the old Mart site in Pennsauken, NJ, again on August 6, 2017, to try and spot the bright star Sirius rising just ahead of the sun. On this morning, Sirius rose at 5:41 am EDT (112 azimuth) while the sun rose at 6:03 am (67 azimuth) for this location 1.8 miles southwest of the exact intersection of 40N & 75W (which is on the golf course of the Riverton Country Club in Cinnaminson, NJ). Alas, I was foiled again by clouds along the horizon in the direction of interest, which is the area above the tree tops just left of, and extending into, the taller pair of power transmission towers at the right edge of the frame (they are about 800 ft away at 116 azimuth from my observing spot). This picture was taken at 6:09 am with an Apple iPhone 5s having a nominal 4 mm focal length. It was exposed 1/199 seconds at f/2.2, ISO 32. This was 6 minutes after sunrise when the sun was at 68 azimuth and 45 arc minutes apparent altitude (corrected for atmospheric refraction), so the upper limb of the sun, which defines the point of sunrise, would be 61 arc minutes, or one degree, altitude. It's a continuation of my annual Heliacal Rising of Sirius project that I attempt in early August. Last year, 2016, I picked up Sirius with 16x70 binoculars on August 4 at 6:03 am, 15 minutes after it rose and 1 minute after sunrise.

As suggested by the freshly turned soil in the foreground, the old Mart site is finally being developed after many years in limbo following the original aborted attempt to do so. It has been a workhorse for me as it affords a particularly low eastern horizon overlooking a vast empty space created by the demolition of the old Mart, and beyond it, the depressed Pennsauken Creek valley on the other side of Route 73 that runs along it. I suspect development will ruin the view and/or inhibit access. It has been an excellent location for catching objects before sunrise, such as old moons, planets after solar conjunction, the heliacal rising of Sirius, etc., and it will be difficult to find another site with such a good eastern horizon that's so conveniently located.

    The picture below shows more turned soil, an embankment of broken-up asphalt paving and a piece of earth-moving equipment. Taken on August 6 at 6:10 am with an Apple iPhone 5s and exposed 1/60 second at f/2.2, ISO 40. The cell phone tower is about 565 ft away at 128 azimuth.

 

 

Sunrise at the Mart
August 1, 2017

On the morning of August 1, 2017, the upper limb of the sun was captured at 6:03 am EDT as it broke over the distant tree tops, 4 minutes after it rose at 66 azimuth as viewed from the old Mart site in Pennsauken, NJ. Per SkyTools, the sun was at 32 arc minutes altitude at the time, so the upper limb was at 48 arc minutes altitude (including atmospheric refraction). for this location 1.8 miles southwest of 40N-75W (which is on the golf course of the Riverton Country Club). Taken with an Apple iPhone 5s, 4 mm focal length, 1/384 second, f/2.2 and ISO 32. My objective this morning was not to see the sun per se, but to try and see the brightest nighttime star, Sirius, which rose at 6:00 am, 112 azimuth (out of the frame to the right). However, I failed to spot Sirius (with 16x70 binoculars) after searching until 6:25 am. It's my annual Heliacal Rising of Sirius project that I attempt in early August. Last year, 2016, I picked up Sirius with the 16x70s on August 4 at 6:03 am, 15 minutes after it rose and 1 minute after sunrise.

However, as noted above, the bigger story for me is probably the impending development of this now-vacant site, as indicated by the sign shown below that has appeared at one of the now-unblocked entrances where I pulled into the edge of the former Mart parking lot (also taken on August 1).

 

 

 

Last Update: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 01:24 AM Eastern Time