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The Skies of July, 2021

Jul 08 2021 08:57 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Mons Hadley and Rima Hadley

Jul 01 2021 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Fifty years ago this month, on July 30, 1971, Commander David Scott and Pilot James Irwin navigated their Apollo 15 lunar module, nicknamed Falcon, to land among the lunar Apennine mountains, while Alfred Worden remained in orbit aboard the command module, Endeavor. Scott and Irwin guided Falcon to a soft landing between the edge of a deep precipice and the base of a tall mountain to establish Hadley Base, as the landing site became known.

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Cosmic Challenge: Alcor and Mizar

Jun 01 2021 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Is there any constellation in the sky more universally known than Ursa Major, the Great Bear? Most of us learned of it as a child, perhaps from a relative or friend, or possibly as a Scout working our way toward a merit badge in astronomy. The seven brightest stars in the group, known in North America as the Big Dipper or in England as the Plough, always draw our attention, especially in the spring when they ride highest in our sky.

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The Skies of June, 2021

Jun 01 2021 05:00 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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The Skies of May, 2021

May 07 2021 10:07 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Markarian's Chain

May 01 2021 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Aim your telescope anywhere in the large, seemingly empty gap between the stars Denebola [Beta (β) Leonis] and Vindemiatrix [Epsilon (ε) Virginis] and, given sharp eyes and a dark sky, you are bound to see one or more faint splotches of light somewhere in the eyepiece's field of view. You've entered the Coma-Virgo Realm of Galaxies, a collection of upwards

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The Skies of April, 2021

Apr 04 2021 11:08 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Abell Galaxy Cluster (AGC) 1060

Apr 01 2021 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Finding AGC 1060 is a simple task as long as you can spot 4.5-magnitude SAO 179041. This red giant sun overlaps the center of the cluster and lies 4¼° north of Alpha (α) Antliae. Of course, finding Alpha Antliae presents its own challenge, since it shines at only magnitude 4.2 and lies far from any handy reference stars.

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The Skies of March, 2021

Mar 15 2021 08:50 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Spring Equinox, Planet Plotting, March Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Monoceras, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Coma Berenices, Bootes

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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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