Blog Archives

May/June 2014 Sky Watcher’s Guide

This will be an every-two-months guide to what you can see in the night sky, geared to mid-latitude northern hemisphere observers. The original post with more detailed guidance can be found here. What can you expect to see in May

Posted in Sky Phenomena

Total Lunar Eclipse

In the early pre-dawn morning hours of Tuesday, April 15th, most of the Western Hemisphere will witness a total lunar eclipse.  Totality (when the Earth completely blocks the Sun as seen from the Moon) begins at 3:07 am EDT and

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Posted in Sky Phenomena, The Moon

March/April 2014 Sky Watcher’s Guide

This will be an every-two-months guide to what you can see in the night sky, geared to mid-latitude northern hemisphere observers. The original post with more detailed guidance can be found here. What can you expect to see in March

Posted in Sky Phenomena

2014 Sky Watcher’s Guide

You know all those New Year resolutions that you have already broken? I fully intended to post this at least a week ago. Ah well, better late than never… This post is intended to introduce people to the habit of

Posted in Sky Phenomena

Stars of the First Magnitude

No, we aren’t talking about Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep. These are the stars you see in the sky at night. If you have ever been confused by statements like the following, then let’s see if we can help you

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Posted in Sky Phenomena, Stars

Will It Be a Spectacle Or a Speck?

Spectacle or speck? OK, I stole that phrase. But it’s just too good not to use. Comet ISON will very soon be upon us. The image above was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope when ISON was a little over

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Posted in Sky Phenomena

Full Moons: Not So Super?

A friend: “Hey, did you see that blue moon last night?” Me: “Uh, yeah, I went outside and took a peek.” (Even if I didn’t.) Look, don’t misunderstand. I’m all for anything that gets people outside and looking at the

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Posted in Sky Phenomena, The Moon

My Favorite Things

“What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen through a telescope?” People who know—or who learn—that I taught astronomy and was the director of an observatory with a half-meter telescope often ask questions like this. Variations on the theme include “What’s

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Posted in Observatory and Telescopes, Sky Phenomena

Weekend Sky Show

The two brightest planets in the sky, Venus and Jupiter, have been drawing closer and closer to each other as seen from Earth for the past several days. This weekend they will be joined by the hard-to-see innermost planet Mercury

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Posted in Planets, Sky Phenomena, Solar System

Name That Star!

How many stars can you call by name? Unless you are a devotee of the night sky, the number will likely not require more than one hand to count. Betelgeuse perhaps, simply because its pronunciation brings to mind a movie

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Posted in Sky Phenomena, Stars