Places of interest & Places to visit, including astro-tourism destinations

Moon, Planets and Stars over Sorrento, Italy 12-22/8/2018

Flew back from Sorrento today – from pristine blue skies to a cloud layer over the West Midlands! No chance of observing tonight in Lichfield, even if I owned a Takahashi!

To remember my trip, here are my photos of the Moon and planets (Venus, Jupiter, Mars) over Sorrento and of a couple of constellations during my trip – they show increasing separation between the Moon and Jupiter and an increasing phase of the Moon.

I don’t claim they are good – but they were taken hand held with my Samsung S7 phone and are a reminder of our wonderful trip.




Moods of Vesuvius

With so many other planets in the solar system now know to host volcanoes, I wonder if residents on those planets (and on exoplanets with volcanoes) see the range of volcanic moods visible to an observer here on Earth amd as demonstrated by Vesuvius this week below?

Duing our stay in Sorrento since Sunday, Mount Vesuvius displayed a wode range of moods as seen from our hotel and on our travels around the region. Our photos below:


Apollo, Diana and Mercury worshipped at Pompeii

Ean Ean, Rhys, Hannah and I visited today the lost city of Pompeii – destroyed in an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The population was part of the Roman Empire and the photo below is one Ean Ean took today of the Temple of Apollo at Pompeii. Devotees worshipped Apollo,  Diana and Mercury. There are many solar system astronomical associations with these gods.

The following are all extracted from Wikipedia.and

Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the god of the sky and thunder. His children include Mars, Vulcan, Minerva, Hercules, Bellona, Mercury, Apollo, Diana, Muses, Nona, Decima, Morta.

Apollo is one of the most complex and important gods, and is the god of many things, including: music, poetry , art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light.

Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature in Roman mythology. Like Venus, she was portrayed as beautiful and youthful.

Mercury was the god of shopkeepers and merchants, travelers and transporters of goods, and thieves and tricksters.


Why it was worth sending a rover to Gale Crater on Mars – lesson from the Amalfi Coast in Italy

This photos shows erosion in action on this island – like tje central peak in the martian Gale Crater, layers of rock are visible – the lower ones must have been laid down before the higher ones allowing a rover to sample different geological ages as it climbs the central mountain of the crater.


Island showing layering in rock similar to central mointain in the martian Gale Crater:

Perseid meteor observing in Sorrento, Italy

Although virtually no cloud or precipitation, unfortunately our observing was badly affected by severe light polluition from the mamy hotels, globe lights, cars, scooters and poorly screened street lights.

The hotel came to the rescue allowing Rhys and I to observe from the normally locked roof terrace. Although a lot darker there than elsewhere the Milky Way was only just visible around Cygnus and I had great difficulty finding Hercules due to the light pollution.

Over about an hour around midnight 12-13/8/2018, Rhys observed three meteors and I saw one.

So we managed to observe some but certainly it was not spectacular.

Jupiter was incredibly bright- see photo below together with enlargement of the planet – this is 8x digital zoom on my Samsung S7 smartphone.


Jupiter over Sorrento:

View across Bay of Naples as we attempted to observe meteors earlier in evening:

Where to go in Sorrento after a long night’s observing…..

So far i have not been able to find any details of a local astronomy group, possibly because everything on Google is in Italian and I don’t know what to search for or maybe because the local astronomers hold their meetings in here and consequently are not in a fit state to go ouside observing afterwards…..

We came across several shops like this in Sorrento.