Blog Archives

Supermoon!!

A short post about something that is all over the news now. No, not the election. I’m talking about the latest “supermoon”. This is a term I don’t believe I had ever heard before about five years ago. I don’t

Posted in Sky Phenomena, The Moon Tagged with:

Mars or Bust!

Ready to go to Mars? Elon Musk is. So is Robert Zubrin. And so is NASA. But I wouldn’t book my flight quite yet. There are some significant challenges to be overcome before any human footprints are left on the

Posted in human spaceflight, Mars, Solar System, Spacecraft

Jupiter and the Fourth of July

There are currently 24 active spacecraft exploring the solar system beyond low Earth orbit, ranging from the relatively nearby–Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is mapping our moon–to the far-flung. Voyager 1 has actually left the solar system and is currently 135 astronomical

Posted in Planets, Solar System, Spacecraft Tagged with: ,

Mars Opposition 2016

That increasingly bright and obviously red object rising in the southeast late at night (around 10:30 pm EDT from Lynchburg) is Mars. It will rise ever earlier as it moves into position exactly opposite the sun in our sky on

Posted in Mars, Planets, Sky Phenomena Tagged with:

The 29th of February

A relatively rare event—an extra day in February, the every-four-years February 29th—greets us again this Monday. Why does this happen? As you might expect from my posing the question on this blog, the answer is wrapped up in astronomy. In

Posted in Uncategorized

That Einstein Was a Smart Guy

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Two black holes collided and merged, releasing unimaginable quantities of energy in the form of gravitational waves. Last year these waves were detected on Earth by an exquisitely sensitive pair

Posted in Uncategorized

Pluto Is Still Not a Planet

Sorry, Pluto lovers. A recently published paper by Jean-Luc Margot of UCLA (as a Star Trek Next Generation fan, I had to give the author’s full name) proposes a mathematically rigorous way to define a planet. Pluto, for all its

Posted in Exoplanets, Planets, Solar System Tagged with:

What’s Up?

Two short-lived sky phenomena are on tap in the near future, one taking place only tens of miles above us, the other millions of miles away. Geminid meteor shower: Each December we are treated to one of the better meteor

Posted in Sky Phenomena, Solar System Tagged with: ,

Planet Lineup

These beautifully clear fall mornings we’ve been experiencing have offered a rare opportunity to see four of the five naked-eye planets all lined up for our viewing pleasure. This morning at 6:45 am EDT, this was the view on Lynchburg’s

Posted in Sky Phenomena, Solar System

Space Station Pass in Lynchburg Area

It looks as though Lynchburg area sky watchers will actually have clear skies for a celestial event! The International Space Station will be visible tonight in an especially bright and high-in-the-sky pass. It will appear low in the southwest at

Posted in Sky Phenomena Tagged with: