Thank You Video Contest

Behold the power of the crowd!

I was proud to help shape a very successful first student video contest for UConn. Thousands upon thousands of Facebook likes, shares and comments were received, and in the end, a great set of three finalists represented the University well.

The winner was excellent and produced by two UConn engineering students.

One of the main lessons learned? That there is tremendous talent out there; you just have to find a way to channel and tap it.

More information at: http://www.foundation.uconn.edu/saythanks/index.html

Comets and Change

Up at 5 AM to attempt a rare feat, seeing three comets in one observation.

Two of the three were easy: Comet ISON was definitely brighter than even a few days before and had a noticeable tail. Comet Lovejoy was incredibly bright but had no tail that I could make out.  As Mercury and Saturn rose above the horizon, racing with the sun, I was hoping to see Comet Encke down near Mercury and make it 3-for-3, but couldn’t make it out. Still, it was my first time seeing two comets in one day, so that was noteworthy and quite cool.

The ancients thought comets were the bearer of news from the gods and brought major changes with them. Life’s been so crazy lately…maybe the ancients were right!

Messier 76

Check off the Little Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 76) from the observation list! Using my Orion UltraBlock NarrowBand filter, I caught a good glimpse of what is often considered one of the hardest Messier objects to spot.

To my eyes, it wasn’t as glorious as this photo, but it had a distinctive shape to it, and, per usual, the facts behind it made the fuzzy blur all the more exciting.

Astronomy Merit Badge

What’s better than astronomy? To me, sharing the hobby with others and teaching them to appreciate the heavens above.

On the 25th, Troop 45 held an astronomy observation session for those working on their merit badges. Scouts got to see Venus and its amazing partial phase, the International Space Station soar overhead, the Pleiades, Polaris, the Summer Triangle and much more.

The requirement was a “three-hour observation session,” and we got it done, down to the minute, but only thanks to some hot cocoa, a fire and a portable heater. Everything frosted over by the end, including the people!

Welcome to the new Sponauer.com

While I move my long-suffering and oft-ignored domain to a new platform and reshape its purpose, I would like to welcome you to a new and improved Sponauer.com.

In the Venn Diagram of personal sites, this one will be at the intersection of astronomy, personal notes on life and professional accomplishments.

 

It’s a weird ride, but how can you showcase yourself when you’re not sharing the whole person?

Anyway, buckle up and enjoy. And off we go.