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The Skies of September, 2022

Sep 06 2022 09:47 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Autumn Equinox, Planet Plotting, Sept. Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus

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Cosmic Challenge: IC 5217, the Little Saturn Nebula

Sep 01 2022 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

As we transition from summer to autumn, let's try our luck with a taxing planetary nebula in an equally taxing constellation. IC 5217 lies among the faint stars of Lacerta the Lizard. Locating the nebula is a big part of the challenge because of its dim surroundings.

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The Skies of August, 2022

Aug 03 2022 09:58 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, August Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus

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Cosmic Challenge: Great Dark Horse Nebula

Aug 01 2022 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Last month's challenge, to visually spot Abell Galaxy Cluster 2065, could have been subtitled "Go Big or Go Home." That challenge was tough in even that largest amateur telescopes. The good news is that this month's challenge turns the tables. All you need are your eyes. And decent skies.

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The Skies of July, 2022

Jul 05 2022 09:51 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, July Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx, Leo Minor, Leo, Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus

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COUNTING SUNSPOTS WITH A $10 OPTICAL TUBE ASSEMBLY

Jul 01 2022 02:45 PM | retroformat in Solar

I encourage anyone with a minimum of technical facility to build their own vintage solar telescope, and join with me on the sunspot counting journey. Next to the study of Earth-grazing asteroids, I can think of no more important branch of astronomy. Aside its obvious ties to climate change science, solar astronomy is extremely important to our understanding of, and ability to predict flares and coronal mass ejections, which have the potential to devastate modern society (google "Carrington Event").

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Exploring the Universe - Size Matters But it's Always a Compromise

Jul 01 2022 05:00 AM | MarkMittlesteadt in Articles

Maybe 50 years ago, back when light pollution didn't rob us of the glorious views we no longer have access to, as a child of the 60's I used to lay on my back out in the yard at night and just look up and wonder what was "out there". I watched with hypnotic interest on our old black and white TV the first humans land and set foot on the Moon. I was hooked. I even had models of the Apollo rockets, orbiter and lunar landing module and of course toys of all kinds that were about pretending to be an astronaut. My imagination was consumed with what was "out there" in the Universe. It was more obsession than interest.

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Cosmic Challenge: Abell Galaxy Cluster 2065

Jul 01 2022 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

This month, our telescopes will transport us across an incredible 1.2 billion light years (some sources quote 1.5 billion) to Abell Galaxy Cluster (AGC) 2065. More than 400 galaxies are huddled within AGC 2065, but because of that incomprehensible distance, the light from these massive collections of stars has dwindled to nothing more than the faintest whisper. Seeing even the slightest hint of AGC 2065 takes more than just aperture; it also takes supremely dark skies, a trained eye, and an accurate chart of the region.

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Cosmic Challenge: Izar [Epsilon (ε) Boötis]

Jun 01 2022 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Finding this month's challenge object is no challenge at all unless you are trying to starhop to it from the inner city. That can be tough, but for everyone else, Izar (Epsilon [ε] Boötis) is visible easily by eye to the northeast of brilliant Arcturus (Alpha [α] Boötis) as one of six stars that make up the constellation's distinctive kite shape. Swing your telescope its way and it still looks like a single star, as it does to the naked eye. So, what's the attraction?

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The Skies of June, 2022

Jun 01 2022 05:00 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Summer Solstice, Planet Plotting, June Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx, Leo Minor, Leo, Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra

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