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The Skies of May, 2022

May 07 2022 06:17 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, May 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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Cosmic Challenge: Quasar 3C 273

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

Whenever my neighbor (I'll call him "Joe") sees me at one of my telescopes, he'll come over and ask "so, how far can you see with that thing?" Every time! You've also probably met someone like Joe. Well, unless you have a double-digit telescope, your answer should probably be "2.4 billion light years."

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The Skies of April, 2022

Apr 04 2022 10:55 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Polarissima

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

In astronomy, as in real estate, we have the Three Ls: location, location, location. NGC 3172 is a challenge for all seasons -- literally -- as its location keeps it above the horizon throughout the year no matter what time of night you are looking. That's because NGC 3172 lies within 1° of the North Celestial Pole, closer than any other NGC object.

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The Skies of March, 2022

Mar 06 2022 12:01 PM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Beehive Galaxies

Mar 01 2022 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Hidden among the stars of M44 are no fewer than eight distant galaxies. Until 1987, most of us knew nothing of them. That was the year when the Uranometria 2000.0 star atlas was published. It showed the sky to a depth never before captured in a convenient star atlas format, and immediately shed light on thousands of objects that no amateurs, except possibly for a few extreme deep-sky hunters, even knew existed.

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The Skies of February, 2022

Feb 05 2022 07:03 PM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Sirius and the Pup

Feb 01 2022 10:36 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Ask an amateur astronomer to name binary stars that are difficult to resolve and one of the most common responses will probably be Sirius, in Canis Major. While there are more difficult targets, Sirius is always a perennial favorite. The challenge comes not from the close separation of the two stars in the system, however. Rather, the challenge here is from the extreme difference in the two stars' magnitude.

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The Skies of January, 2022

Jan 07 2022 09:28 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33)

Jan 01 2022 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Let's kick off the new year with what many consider to be one of the most difficult visual challenges in the sky. If you listen carefully, you might even hear the strains of the "Mission: Impossible" theme song playing in the background. Of all the deep-sky objects in the winter sky, none carries the mystique of the dark nebula Barnard 33, better known as the Horsehead Nebula.

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