Mark Alan Lovewell

Autumn and the Milky Way

You got to love the crisp, clear nights of autumn. Now that we are in the time of Standard Time, and put Daylight Savings time away, we get an early dose of evening. Trips home from work are dark.

Step outside before the dinner hour and the brightest of stars are already overhead. To those who wait a little longer, the Milky Way is an easy find.

The Milky Way extends overhead and across the sky, rising in the northeast and passing overhead, then descending down to the southwestern horizon.

Read More

Taurid Meteor Shower

The first of two Taurid meteor showers is taking place this weekend. This meteor shower is one of the small ones we go through each year. You could see upwards of ten meteors shooting across the sky at night. The viewing is better late in the night. The meteors appear to come from the constellation Taurus, thus its name Taurids. Taurus is rising in the east after sunset. So watch the shower late in the evening when the constellation is higher. The shower is space debris caught in the orbit of Comet Encke.

Read More

Shellfish Group Meets Biological Success, Fiscal Crisis

It is a record year for baby shellfish growing up at the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, but the 21-year-old institution is facing severe financial troubles, its worst in years.

There is another contradiction. The hatchery, highly regarded in the national aquaculture industry, the recipient of federal grants and accolades from the science community, is dealing with an image problem before Island town selectmen and financial committees. Town officials like the work but they don’t want to help it financially.

Read More

New Shellfish Hatchery on Chappy Nurtures Island Aquaculture

Near Chappaquiddick Point lies an unassuming summer house with a big mission. Over the last summer, the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group has converted the two-bedroom home into a shellfish nursery complete with swirling pools of saltwater and millions of baby bay scallops. And although the project is not yet complete, the hatchery has already helped raise millions of tiny shellfish for distribution to the Island’s coastal ponds.

Read More

Cultured Oyster Crop Is Set for Market; Island Fishermen Hope to Export Oysters

If you ate a raw oyster last summer on the Vineyard, chances are it came from either Canada or Long Island. But for oyster lovers, the summer ahead offers another treat: the Vineyard oyster.

Read More

Pumpkin Moon and Jupiter

Tomorrow night's full moon, the Pumpkin Moon, appears within a few degrees of the brilliant planet Jupiter. The two are in the zodiacal constellation Aries, one of the smallest constellations in the zodiac.

Early in the evening the two are only 3 1/2 degrees apart. It is possible you might miss seeing Jupiter, as it is so close.

Astronomers report that if you are up late at night, the two celestial objects will get even closer. Their closest approach will be at 2:13 a.m., Sunday morning. Their predicted closeness will be 2 1/2 degrees.

Read More

Orionid Meteor Shower

We've got a meteor shower this weekend. The Orionid meteor shower takes place tomorrow night and will be best viewed after the first quarter moon sets in the west. That will happen close to midnight. And if skies are clear, we'll have a great show. You could see as many as 20 meteors in an hour of viewing. Look towards the eastern sky. The radiant, the place where the meteors appear to originate is above the constellation Orion's head; and to the left of the bright red star Betelgeuse. This is an autumn favorite.

Read More

Partial Annular Eclipse

Tomorrow, Saturday, is a big day for followers of the much expected annular eclipse. The eclipse for Martha's Vineyard residents will essentially be partial, a non event and almost unnoticeable. A short time after 1 p.m. only 20 per cent of the sun will be blocked by the moon. That will be difficult to detect. Eye safety is really the biggest issue associated with the eclipse. Do not, under any circumstances look up at the brilliant shining sun anytime. The possibility of permanent eye damage is real.

Read More

Crescent Moon and Venus

You've got to get up early in the morning to see a thin crescent moon shining near the brilliant planet Venus. The two are together on Tuesday morning. Take another look for a third bright celestial object, the bright star Regulus. All three are in the zodiacal constellation Leo.

The moon gets closer to the morning eastern horizon for the next two days. The moon disappears and then crosses in front of the sun for an annular eclipse on Saturday, October 14.

Read More

Harvest Moon

Tonight's full moon has two distinct features. It is the Harvest Moon, the closest full moon to the first day of autumn and it is also by distance close. The moon's proximity to the Earth is close and thus appears slightly larger. Most folks will not detect the enormity of its size, as it takes a real pro to measure its dimension.

Read More