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December 30, 2013

We wish all our readers and supporters a happy and prosperous 2014.

We have updated several of the pages in the "Counting Comets" program, including both the currently observable comets page and the incoming comets page, as well as a discussion on the relevant tally page about the demise of the would-be "Great Comet" Comet ISON C/2012 S1.

The "In Our Skies" e-book available through the Earthrise Store now has columns up through the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. Among the recent columns are: "A Very Fishy Star" (October 11), "Getting There from Here" (November 15), "The Saga of ISON" (December 6), and "Circles" (a tribute to Alan Hale's late mother) (December 13).

November 16, 2013

We have updated the currently observable comets page; this update includes information about the naked-eye Comet Lovejoy C/2013 R1 and about a recent upsurge in brightness for Comet ISON C/2012 S1. We have also added a link to the Minor Planet Center's new Possible Comet Confirmation Page on our "Counting Comets" main page.

November 3, 2013

There is a solar eclipse today, annular along the path that crosses the central Atlantic Ocean, then total across central Africa (including the nations of Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Uganda, northern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and western Somalia (at sunset)). Partial phases of the eclipse are visible from almost all of Africa, the western Middle East, the Iberian Peninsula and Mediterranean coastline of Europe, northeastern South America, and western Canada and the U.S. (at sunrise).

We have updated both the incoming comets page and the currently observable comets page; the latter includes information on three red print comets as well as on the potential "Great Comet" Comet ISON C/2012 S1 (which is currently running fainter than expected).

October 6, 2013

The "In Our Skies" e-book available through the Earthrise Store now has columns up through the end of the third quarter of 2013. Among the recent columns are: "'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth'" (July 5), "Galactic Snack" (August 2), "Sailing the Solar System" (August 16), and "Emissary" (September 20).

We have updated the currently observable comets page.

September 16, 2013

We have updated the currently observable comets page.

September 7, 2013

We have updated several of the pages in the "Counting Comets" program, including both the currently observable comets page and the incoming comets page, to reflect several recent tally additions, including the potential "Great Comet" Comet ISON C/2012 S1.

We congratulate the team of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft for their successful launch on September 6.

August 27, 2013

We have updated the currently observable comets page.

August 22, 2013

At some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future we will be putting up an events page, via which we will be able to notify readers of the Earthrise web site of any important recent astronomical events or discoveries. Until such time as we have that page up, we will notify readers of any such events through this page. In that context, we can report that a bright new nova, Nova Delphini 2013, has recently appeared (originally discovered on August 14 by Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki), which appears to have peaked near magnitude 4.5 two days later. Due to travel and weather we were unable to view it from here in New Mexico until last night, when in bright moonlight (and hazy skies) it appeared near magnitude 5.5. It will likely continue fading, although a preliminary analysis by the AAVSO suggests that this may be a long process, and that the nova could remain moderately bright for some time yet to come.

Due to the recent announcement that the WISE spacecraft will be reactivated next month to begin search efforts for near-Earth asteroids and comets (in a project called NEOWISE), we have added a link to that mission on our "links" page.

August 14, 2013

We have made a couple of small updates to our incoming comets page, including one which reflects the recent recovery of Comet ISON C/2012 S1 in the morning sky.

August 10, 2013

We have now begun to implement some of the changes to this web site that we have been mentioning in previous updates. This will be a work in progress, and it will be several weeks to a few months before we will have accomplished all the various upgrades we plan. For the time being, most of the changes to this site will be based upon content rather than on style or appearance, although we do plan to get to that before too long.

We completed the "Countdown to 500 Comets" program in January 2012. We are now implementing a new effort, provisionally entitled "Counting Comets" that, for the time being at least, is intended to be more of an informational resource than a full-fledged educational program. (At some point we expect to be developing educational curricula that will incorporate, in part, the comet observations discussed under "Counting Comets.") "Counting Comets" will briefly describe the comets that Alan Hale adds to his visual observation tally, as well as provide information about currently observable comets and incoming comets that are especially notable. The various pages will be updated as necessary.

We have added a "links" page that will provide links to a variety of on-line resources about current astronomical phenomena, about recent news events in astronomy and space, and about space efforts here in New Mexico and elsewhere.

We have updated Earthrise Institute President Alan Hale's biography, and have also tweaked some of the links on our main page. This latter effort will continue to be a work in progress.

We expect to make modifications to the offerings in the Earthrise Store within the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, the "In Our Skies" e-book available through the store now has columns up through the end of the second quarter of 2013. Among the recent columns are: "The Long Future Sun" (January 12), "Cosmic Coincidence" (February 22), "Notes from the Beginning" (March 29), and "The Meteor Shower That Wasn't" (June 14).

Earthrise Institute President Alan Hale will be speaking at the "Ten Hours at Sunspot Observatory" event on Saturday evening, August 10, that will be held at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico. This event is being put on by the Southern Rockies Education Centers.

Earthrise Institute President Alan Hale will be attending the Icarus Interstellar Starship Congress that will be held in Dallas, Texas on August 15-18. As a result of his work with the Icarus Interstellar project, Alan Hale has had two review papers recently published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society: "Kepler-22b and What it Means" (November/December 2012 issue) and "Exoplanet Studies for Potential Icarus Destination Stars" (January/February 2013 issue).

Earthrise Institute President Alan Hale has recently joined the Advisory Board for Deep Space Industries.

August 1, 2013

Work on the web site upgrade is still underway. We should hopefully have some updates within the not-too-distant future.

July 12, 2013

Readers and followers of Earthrise will have noticed that this web site has been dormant for the past six months. As I recounted in my January 3 entry below, I have been dealing with some difficult personal issues during the recent past, and I have also been preoccupied with a number of other, unrelated activities. However, I have now been able to resolve, or at least alleviate, these personal issues, and have completed many of these other activities, and thus I am now able to begin re-engaging Earthrise.

I am currently in the process of initiating new Earthrise activities and programs, some of which involves refocusing of activities and programs Earthrise had conducted in the past. We will be unveiling these during the weeks and months to come. Among these endeavors will be a retooling of this web site, which I suspect will be an ongoing effort for some time. As of now, I am looking at a target date of August 1 for unveiling the first changes to this web site; initially, these will likely be fairly small in scope, but over time, and as we bring the new Earthrise activities on-line and up to speed, these changes should become more and more dramatic.

I thus ask everyone's patience as Earthrise begins this re-engagement and these changes. I look forward to having a vibrant and active organization that will continue to do its part in the scientific education of our students, and in building the bridges between peoples that is the core of the Earthrise vision. See everyone on August 1!

January 3, 2013

Readers will have noticed that this site had not been updated for the past two months. I have been dealing with some difficult personal issues during the recent past, and probably will continue to deal with these for some time yet to come. I have placed all Earthrise activities on hiatus while I work through these issues. I am hopeful that I will be able to re-engage Earthrise, and the world of astronomy and space in general, at some point within the not-too-distant future, but all I can really say at this time is "watch this space."

I do continue to observe the comets that are visible, but have not updated the comet update page in several months. I will try to begin doing so again before too long, although I may utilize a more abbreviated format. I note that there are two potentially bright naked-eye comets that should appear in 2013: Comet PANSTARRS C/2011 L4 during March, and Comet ISON C/2012 S1 during November and December. (Comet Lemmon C/2012 F6 may also be a dim naked-eye comet from the southern hemisphere during March.) At the very least, when the time comes I will try to convey information about these comets on this web site, and perhaps develop some observational activities to go along with their respective appearances.

The "In Our Skies" e-book available through the Earthrise Store now has columns up through the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. Among the recent columns are: "The Longest Leap" (October 5), "Centauri Planet" (October 26), "A Return to Origins" (November 23), and "Not the End of the World" (December 21).

November 2, 2012

We have successfully arranged a webcast of the November 13-14 total solar eclipse from Cairns, Queensland, Australia; this webcast will be carried at http://www.ustream.tv/cairnseclipse2012.

October 10, 2012

Earthrise Institute President Alan Hale will be traveling to Cairns, Queensland, Australia to observe the total solar eclipse on November 14 (local time; November 13 east of the International Date Line) and to give a series of talks at schools in that area. We are in the process of arranging a webcast of the eclipse that will be made available to schools and other educational institutions, and we will be announcing (on this page) the details for accessing this webcast as the time for the eclipse approaches. Interested schools and other organizations are invited to contact Earthrise for additional information.

We have posted a new update to our comet update page.

We congratulate the company Space Exploration Technologies ("SpaceX") for its recent successful cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

September 30, 2012

The "In Our Skies" e-book available through our Earthrise Store now has columns up through the end of the third quarter of 2012. Among the recent columns are: "Three Years 'Til Pluto" (July 20), "Sally's Last Ride" (August 3), "First Man on the Moon" (August 31), and "The Kuiper Belt at Twenty" (September 7).

September 26, 2012

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes the fact that Comet 168P/Hergenrother has undergone a recent outburst.

September 12, 2012

Earthrise Institute President Alan Hale will be attending the 100 Year Starship 2012 Public Symposium in Houston, Texas from September 13 through 16, as a representative of Project Icarus.

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes the new tally additions Comets LINEAR C/2012 K5 and 168P/Hergenrother.

August 29, 2012

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes the new tally addition Comet 260P/McNaught P/2012 K2.

August 26, 2012

We mourn the passing of Neil Armstrong, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission, and the first human being in history to walk upon the moon.

August 11, 2012

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes the new tally addition Comet Catalina C/2012 J1.

Australian amateur astronomer David Herald has successfully obtained a recent image of Comet Hale-Bopp C/1995 O1, when it was located 32.86 AU from Earth and 33.16 AU from the sun -- a new record for the most distant comet ever observed.

The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to reach its maximum on Saturday night/Sunday morning, August 11-12. The shower may produce up to 60-100 meteors per hour; the moon is three days past its third quarter phase and thus will interfere at most only slightly.

We congratulate the team of the Curiosity Mars rover for their successful landing on the surface of Mars this past August 5, and we look forward to many exciting discoveries over the next two years.

July 29, 2012

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes the new tally additions Comets 185P/Petriew and 96P/Machholz 1, as well as the retroactive tally addition Comet La Sagra P/2012 NJ.

July 16, 2012

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes the recently-discovered "cometary" asteroid 2012 NJ, which is currently bright enough to be detectable visually.

July 3, 2012

The "In Our Skies" e-book available through our Earthrise Store now has columns up through the end of the second quarter of 2012. Among the recent columns are: "Riches in the Rocks" (April 27), "To the Future!" (May 25), "Teller of Tales" (June 15), and "Passing and Renewal" (June 22).

We have posted a new update to our comet update page. This update includes Comet 96P/Machholz 1, which has been briefly visible in the southern hemisphere's morning sky and which should become accessible from the northern hemisphere by the end of July.

We wish a Happy Fourth of July celebration to our participants and friends here in the U.S.

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