Astronomy: June 29th – July 5th Night Skies


Sunday, June 29th – Sagitta is one of the lesser known constellations, but its shape is distinctive, and stars bright enough to see even from suburban skies. It lies within the well known asterism of the Summer Triangle, whose vertices are marked by three first magnitude stars, Vega, up high in Lyra, Deneb, to the north in Cygnus, and Altair in Aquila to the south.

An hour or so after sunset, find the Summer Triangle rising in the east. Little Sagitta, “The Arrow”, will be near Altair.


Monday, June 30th – Steeped in Greek mythology as the hero who killed the Medusa and saved the princess Andromeda, the constellation Perseus is located above the nice pairing of Venus and first magnitude Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, and above Capella. The brightest two arcs of stars in Perseus are the lower sections, joining at the bright star Mirfak.

The famous short period variable star Algol, thought to be the Medusa’s eye, is in the upper of the two main arcs of stars. Watch Algol over a few days, and you’ll see its brightness change.


Tuesday, July 1st – Spectacular morning pairing today! First magnitude Aldebaran is four degrees south of brilliant Venus. Venus shines today at magnitude 3.91, while Aldebaran is magnitude 0.84.

Two star clusters join the show, with the famous Pleiades, a young cluster, high in Taurus, and The Hyades, an older and more dispersed cluster mixing in with Venus and Aldebaran.

Note the colors. Venus is off-white, and comparing Aldebaran, you should be able to see its red hues, as it is a Red Giant star.


Wednesday, July 2nd – The Double Cluster in Perseus is visible with the unaided eye in a dark sky, and an easy target in dark skies. But even from suburbia, it can be easily viewed with almost any binocular or telescope. The best way to find it is star-hopping from the center star in the W of Cassiopeia, through the next star closest to the horizon, then about twice that distance beyond. Try it with your binoculars, it’s a great sight.

The clusters are close together, 7,000 light years from us. They shine at magnitude 4.0, and appear large as the full Moon.


Thursday, July 3rd – Today is aphelion. The Earth is as far from our Sun as it gets, approximately 94,551,000 away. Our orbit around the Sun is not circular, none of the planets have circular orbits. We travel an elliptical path around the Sun. The closest point between the Earth and Sun is perihelion. In this image, the Sun is 3, we are currently at position 1, and will be at 2 for perihelion. (Not to scale.)


Friday, July 4th – Today is the 960th Anniversary (1054) of the Crab Nebula Supernova. How is that for a 4th of July firework?

If you go outside and look to the eastern horizon in the predawn sky today, Taurus will be rising. The Crab Nebula is in Taurus, and climbs just over our horizon an hour before sunrise on this memorable day!

Cover your ears… BOOM!


Saturday, July 6th – A bright triad of celestial objects appears to the south tonight, in the evening twilight.

The First Quarter Moon is in a very tight grouping with the bright star Spica in Virgo, and the red planet Mars.

This is a sight not to be missed!

Get out your binoculars to view all three together in one field of view. Saturn sits off to the east in Libra, lonely tonight.

Happy viewing!


What Happened on June 29th – The Globe Theater Burns


One June 29, 1613, the Globe Theater, where most of Shakespeare’s plays debuted, burned down.


The Globe was built by Shakespeare’s acting company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in 1599 from the timbers of London’s very first permanent theater, Burbage’s Theater, built in 1576.


Before James Burbage built his theater, plays and dramatic performances were ad hoc affairs, performed on street corners and in the yards of inns. However, the Common Council of London, in 1574, started licensing theatrical pieces performed in inn yards within the city limits. To escape the restriction, actor James Burbage built his own theater on land he leased outside the city limits.

Richard Burbage Court of King James, 1604 The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice was first performed by the King’s Men at the court of James I in November 1604. The show starred Richard Burbage, Shakespeare’s greatest contemporary interpreter. No one knows if Burbage blacked up for the part: issues of racism did not surface until the 20th century. The themes of lust, jealousy and betrayal were an instant hit with audiences. Iago, derived from the medieval figure of misrule, became one of Shakespeare’s classic villains not least because he has the play’s largest part, approximately one third of all the lines Richard Burbage
Court of King James, 1604
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice was first performed by the King’s Men at the court of James I in November 1604. The show starred Richard Burbage, Shakespeare’s greatest contemporary interpreter. No one knows if…

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Happy Anniversary – Three years



When I first started the blog, life was very different…

The intent was to share some ideas on lean manufacturing while celebrating the heritage of the United States Navy submarine forces. A lot of water has gone under the bow since those days. Over 260,000 views later, I find that the submarine stories have continued to dominate in popularity. Much of my recent work has revolved around developing new stories including an extensive amount of research on pre-World War 2 American submarines. That work continues in the background which is why I don’t post as regularly as I used to.

I have also had a few guest posts over the past year that have proven to be very popular. Jody Durham’s “Ever a submariner” essay is one of the three top hitters of all time on the site. It continues to draw interest both here and in other submarine blogs and…

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Magical Munich

Fabulous 50's

Arriving in Munich with my friend Richard was exciting for me because it was the first time I’d returned to Germany since living there in the late 70’s while in the Military.  Our train ride was six hours from Budapest and I was looking forward to some solo exploration, after having been responsible for guiding 11 other travelers through four European countries for 11 days!  I had reserved an Airbnb in Munich, located within walking distance of Marienplatz and other areas of Munich on my list of things to see.

Richard’s friend that lives in Munich, met us for dinner that evening at an Indian Restaurant called Sangeet.  It was excellent!  I left them to catch up and returned to the Apartment.  The following two days we explored some of Munich.  This flock of ducks in the English Garden reminded me of the Serengeti migration…


Although the sky was overcast…

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