1 Jan High in the east at sunset, the Pleiades Cluster is 1 fist-width above or to the upper left of the moon. Aldebaran is 3 finger-widths to the lower left.
2 Jan Gemini and Orion are high in the southeast by midnight.
3 Jan Just after dark, Gemini is to the moon’s lower left and Orion to its lower right.
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5 Dec The brightest star in Taurus, Aldebaran, is 1 finger-width to the moon’s lower left at dusk. [Binoculars]
6 Dec By mid-evening, Aldebaran is 1 fist-width to the moon’s upper right, and Capella is 3 fist-widths to the upper left, with Pollux far below. Orion is to the moon’s lower right, with first-magnitude stars Betelgeuse 1 fist-width to the moon’s lower right, and Rigel at the opposite corner beyond the belt.
3 Nov Mars is less than ½ finger-width above Kaus Borealis, the uppermost star in the dome of the Teapot constellation, Sagittarius. [Binoculars]
2 Oct The bright star 2½ fist-widths above the moon is Altair.
3 Oct The moon lies between Altair, 2½ fist widths to the upper right, and Fomalhaut, 3½ fist-widths to the lower left.
If you carry a VHF radio onboard (and you should), you must maintain a watch on channel 16 when the radio is on and not being used to communicate. You may also maintain a watch on VHF channel 9. Note that urgent marine information broadcasts, such as storm warnings, are announced on channel 9 only in USCG First District waters (northern New Jersey, New York and New England).
Most radios have a memory scan option where you can add specific channels to the memory and press scan. The radio quickly switches through and listens to each channel, pausing if someone is using that channel and then resuming the scan.
Every year, I have trouble remembering where I put stuff the season before. I still cannot find the repair kit for the inflatable dingy.
While walking to the marina early one morning, I found September 6 feet deep. Only the mast and spreaders placed the boat within its slip. Shocked and bewildered, I later found out that a seacock or hose connection failure had caused the boat to sink. I imagined it silently sinking in the middle of the night.
Talking with my brother-in-law, a former sailor, got me thinking of sailboats and equipment. The day was stormy, and we were discussing a sailboat’s predilection for lightning strikes. We talked about using jumper cables as emergency lightning protection by directing the current from a lightning hit to the water. While not a perfect solution, it would be better than having lightning blow out a metal underwater fitting.
Volunteering took us to Habitat for Humanity disaster relief sites, to an outward-bound 4-H camp, a West Texas Elderhostel, and more than 40 national and state parks. Our assignments included building homes, shooting cannons, reburying Native American remains, tagging sharks, and guiding night hikes and canoe and kayak trips.