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August 2019 Skies

Aug 07 2019 02:37 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers/Asteroid Surprises, Planet Plotting, August Moon Focus Constellations: Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Lyra, Aquila, Pegasus, Cygnus, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major

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Cosmic Challenge: Planetary nebula IC 4732

Aug 01 2019 04:55 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

M22 is right in the thick of it, not far from the galactic center of the Milky Way. As such, it has lots of company. One particular planetary nebula proves a worthy adversary through 10- to 14-inch scopes: IC 4732. IC 4732 lies just 1.4° north-northwest of M22. Cataloged at magnitude 12.1, its tiny disk is difficult to pick out from the mob of field stars -- difficult, but not impossible.

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July 2019 Skies

Jul 05 2019 12:14 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Intergalactic Space, Planet Plotting, July Moon Focus Constellations: Coma Berenices, Virgo, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major

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Cosmic Challenge: Lunar craters Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins

Jul 05 2019 11:22 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Last month, I challenged you to find all six of the Apollo landing sites. This month, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's and Edwin Aldrin's historic landing and moon walk, we return to Mare Tranquilitatis, the scene of Apollo 11, to find three small craters that bear the names of that historic mission's crew members.

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June 2019 Skies

Jun 05 2019 03:21 PM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Apollo Landing Sites

May 31 2019 11:46 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Between July 1969 and December 1972, six teams of United States astronauts ventured across the gap between Earth and Moon to land and walk on that distant world. Have you ever visited their landing sites? If not, let's do so now.

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May 2019 Skies

May 05 2019 01:27 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, May Moon Focus Constellations: Auriga, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Leo Minor, Coma Berenices, Virgo, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor

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Cosmic Challenge: M51's spiral arms

Apr 30 2019 07:52 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Of the thousands of spiral galaxies visible through backyard telescopes, one stands above the rest in terms of visual interest: M51, the famous Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici. Everything adds up in M51's favor. We are seeing it very nearly face-on, its spiral arm halo is bright and peppered with star clouds and vast regions of nebulosity, and it brings with it a friend in the form of a smaller companion galaxy that can even be seen through giant binoculars.

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April 2019 Skies

Apr 06 2019 02:34 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, Spring Skies, April Moon Focus Constellations: Auriga, Taurus, Gemini. Cancer, Leo, Leo Minor, Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx

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Cosmic Challenge: Leo III

Mar 30 2019 09:54 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

A springtime rite of passage started here two years ago. It started in the April 2017 edition of this e-column, when I challenged readers to find the dwarf galaxy Leo I. Leo I is one of many dim dwarf galaxies gravitationally bound to the Milky Way. The fact that its surface brightness rates only 15th magnitude, coupled with its position just 20' north of Regulus makes Leo I a tough challenge to land.

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