‘Mostly clear’ in GF forecast for overnight lunar eclipse

Despite the snow that was falling outside the window a few minutes ago, the weather forecast in the Grand Forks area is looking favorable for the total lunar eclipse that is set to occur in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Being somewhat of a night owl, I’ll probably venture out to see what I can see, perhaps with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” playing on my iPod. It would be the perfect combination for a lunar eclipse, methinks.

According to “Astro Bob” of Duluth who writes a blog on “celestial happenings you can see from your backyard,” the show will get started about 12:20 a.m. CDT, and the total eclipse will begin at 2:07 a.m.

Astro Bob also is a photographer for the Duluth News Tribune, a Forum Communications newspaper and one of the Herald’s sister papers.

I checked the Grand Forks forecast on Intellicast, which offers an hour-by-hour summary of weather conditions, and the sky is supposed to be “mostly clear” from midnight through 5 a.m. It’ll be chilly, though, with temps in the high teens.

For more info about the eclipse, check out Astro Bob’s blog here.

 

GF indoor archery, small-bore rifle leagues set to begin

You know it’s winter when area archery and rifle clubs start gearing up for their respective shooting leagues.

It all starts Jan. 3, when the Red River Archers hosts a swap meet and chili feed at 7 p.m. in their indoor range at 2100 N. 42nd St. The next day, the Forks Rifle Club launches its winter indoor small-bore handgun league at the indoor range west of Merrifield, N.D., on Grand Forks County Road 6.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap for the Grand Forks archery and rifle clubs.

Archery

Jan. 3: Red River Archers open house, swap meet and chili feed, 7 p.m., Red River Archers indoor range, 2100 N. 42nd St., Grand Forks. Info: John Brewinski, (701) 746-8602.

Jan. 8: Red River Archers’ 3-D League begins, Red River Archers indoor range, 2001 N. 42nd St., Grand Forks. Info: Paul Hahn, (701) 741-8279.

Jan. 10: Red River Archers’ 300 League begins, Red River Archers indoor range, 2001 N. 42nd St., Grand Forks. Info: John Brewinski (701) 746-8602.

Shooting

Jan. 4: Forks Rifle Club winter indoor small-bore handgun league begins, indoor range, 2051 12th Ave. NE (8½ miles west of Merrifield, N.D., on Grand Forks County Road 6). League will run for 10 weeks, with relays at 2, 3, 7 and 8 p.m. Fridays. Handguns limited to .22 long rifle caliber. Info/squadding: Tom Reiten, (701) 775-0008.

Jan. 6-7: Forks Rifle Club winter indoor light rifle league, indoor range, 2051 12th Ave. NE (8½ miles west of Merrifield, N.D., on Grand Forks County Road 6). League will run for 10 weeks. Relays run from 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays and from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays. Rifles limited to .22 long rifle caliber. Info: Tim Coons, (701) 599-2565.

Jan. 9: Four-position smallbore rifle league begins, indoor range, 2051 12th Ave. NE (8½ miles west of Merrifield, N.D., on Grand Forks County Road 6). League will run for 10 weeks, with relays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Rifles limited to .22 long rifle caliber. Info: Dennis Coulter, (701) 746-6959.

Jan. 12: NRA Light Rifle Sectional, Forks Rifle Club indoor range, 2051 12th Ave. NE (8½ miles west of Merrifield, N.D., on Grand Forks County Road 6). NRA light rifle rules apply, and relays start at 8 a.m. Info/squadding, Dennis Coulter, (701) 746-6959.

GF Audubon meeting draws strong crowd

I took a trip to “Middle Earth” earlier today when I joined a friend at the midnight showing of “The Hobbit,” the prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The movie clocked in at nearly three hours, but staying awake wasn’t a problem, and “The Hobbit” met one of my key requirements for qualifying as a good movie: the time went by quickly.

But I digress.

Earlier in the evening, I attended a Grand Forks Audubon meeting in the office of Herald publisher Mike Jacobs. Robert Seabloom, UND professor emeritus in biology and author of “The Mammals of North Dakota,” was the guest speaker and delivered a power-point presentation on the state’s mammals, which also included an overview on the contributions of explorers and researchers such as Alexander Henry, Lewis and Clark and John James Audubon to North Dakota’s natural history.

I knew of Audubon’s contributions as an ornithologist, but didn’t realize Audubon also was an avid hunter who pulled the trigger on just about any critter that came into range.

I’m a Bemidji State University alumnus, but if I had attended UND, I would have enjoyed taking one of Seabloom’s classes. He’s been my “go-to” source on several mammal-related questions and issues in the past few years.

It might have been a cold, snowy December evening, but Jacobs’ large office was packed with about 30 people who came to hear Seabloom’s presentation. Dr. Rolf Paulson, who organized Thursday night’s Audubon meeting, suggested that perhaps Seabloom should speak every month.

In talking with Paulson after the meeting, I learned Audubon is in the process of regaining traction in Grand Forks after a period of relative activity. He said the group doesn’t want to detract from the Grand Cities Bird Club, but judging by the number of bird club members attending Thursday night’s meeting, there’s plenty of room for both.

The Audubon group — it’s not yet an official chapter, as I understand it — tentatively set Jan. 10 as the date for its next meeting. I’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available. If you’re looking for more information in the meantime, drop Paulson an email at rolfpmd@yahoo.com.