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Cosmic Challenge: Zeta (ζ) Cancri

Mar 01 2021 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Although it is one of the faintest constellations along the zodiac, Cancer the Crab hosts a variety of targets to test our mettle during the early spring. Spotting M44, the Beehive Cluster, by eye alone may prove very challenging for suburban observers, while the Crab's underappreciated second open cluster, M67, may also reach naked-eye visibility from more rural environs. While the constellation boasts a variety of challenging galaxies, in the test here, we will try our luck with one of the constellation's prettiest binary stars, Zeta (ζ) Cancri.

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The Skies of February, 2021

Feb 05 2021 04:55 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, February Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Andromeda, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Monoceras, Gemini, Cancer, Leo

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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 2438

Feb 01 2021 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

M46 in Puppis is one of my favorite open clusters and a striking sight through just about any telescope. More than 500 stars are crammed into an area just a Moon's diameter across, creating one of the most jam-packed throngs in the winter sky.

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The Skies of January, 2021

Jan 09 2021 10:01 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, January Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Pisces, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Gemini, Cancer

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Cosmic Challenge: Simeis 147

Jan 01 2021 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

The year 1054 must have been an active one for stargazers. That was the year that the famous Crab Nebula supernova blasted forth, shining brightly enough for Chinese and Native American skywatchers to note a "new star" blazing near what we now call the tip of one of Taurus the Bull's two horns. The 1054 supernova was so bright that it was visible in broad daylight during the summer of that year and remained visible to the naked eye for nearly a year. Today, we know the fading gaseous remnant of that all-consuming event as the Crab Nebula, M1.

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The Skies of December, 2020

Dec 07 2020 04:23 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, December Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cygnus, Pegasus, Pisces, Andromeda, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Gemini, Orion, Camelopardalis

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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 1360

Dec 01 2020 01:01 PM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Many stargazers consider Fornax, the Furnace, to be a constellation of the deep south, and therefore, invisible from mid-northern latitudes. While it is true that Fornax scrapes the southern horizon on early winter evenings, it does so at much the same altitude as Scorpius does during the summer. If you can see Scorpius from your observing site in July, you can see Fornax tonight. Assuming it's clear, of course!

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The Skies of November, 2020

Nov 12 2020 12:25 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, November Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, Pegasus, Pisces, Andromeda, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Taurus, Auriga, Camelopardalis

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Cosmic Challenge: The Eye of Mars

Nov 01 2020 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

With Mars just having passed opposition on October 13, I thought it might be fun to challenge you to see a specific surface feature on the Red Planet before it slips too far away.

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The Skies of October, 2020

Oct 06 2020 07:26 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, October Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Pegasus, Andromeda, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis

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