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May 2017 Skies

May 04 2017 09:27 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, May Moon Focus Constellations: Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Auriga, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Cygnus, Lyra, Draco, Hercules, Bootes, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Camelopardalis, Lynx

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Cosmic Challenge: The Antennae

May 01 2017 12:45 PM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Seven decades ago, while scanning a Palomar Sky Survey plate of the area around brilliant Regulus in Leo the Lion, astronomers Robert Harrington (no relation) and A.G. Wilson noticed a faint blur of light just 1/2° north of the star. They may have thought at first that the glow was just an internal lens flare caused by stray starlight, but it soon became apparent that they had discovered something very real.

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April 2017 Skies

Apr 08 2017 08:02 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Leo I

Apr 01 2017 11:21 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Seven decades ago, while scanning a Palomar Sky Survey plate of the area around brilliant Regulus in Leo the Lion, astronomers Robert Harrington (no relation) and A.G. Wilson noticed a faint blur of light just 1/2° north of the star. They may have thought at first that the glow was just an internal lens flare caused by stray starlight, but it soon became apparent that they had discovered something very real.

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March 2017 Skies

Mar 04 2017 09:39 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Jonckheere 900

Mar 04 2017 08:03 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Few amateur astronomers are familiar with the name Robert Jonckheere. Jonckheere was a French double-star observer who conducted research at a number of observatories over his six-decade career, including the Strasbourg Observatory in France, the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England, as well as McDonald Observatory in Texas.

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February 2017 Skies

Feb 18 2017 10:52 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, February Moon

Focus Constellations: Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Orion, Taurus, Auriga, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Lynx, Camelopardalis



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Cosmic Challenge: A Case of Mistaken Identity

Feb 04 2017 07:53 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

There once was a mystery in Lynx. The story opened in 1790 when William Herschel discovered a small, nebulous glow about 2½° northwest of 27 Lyncis. He later added it as number 830 in his list of "very faint nebulae" (abbreviated H-III-830) and apparently moved on without noticing a second, fainter blur of light just to the northeast. That second object was discovered 66 years later by William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, through his 72-inch "Leviathan" reflector. Both were later incorporated into John Dreyer's New General Catalog. NGC 2474 is described as "faint, pretty small, extended?, brighter middle, very small star?, large star north following." NGC 2475 is simply noted as "makes a double nebula with" NGC 2474.

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January 2017 Skies

Jan 07 2017 11:04 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, January Moon

Focus Constellations: Auriga, Gemini, Orion, Taurus, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Lynx, Camelopardalis



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Cosmic Challenge: Barnard's Loop

Dec 31 2016 08:20 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

One of the greatest naked-eye challenges goading amateur astronomers around the world is trying to spot the elusive arc of nebulosity known as Barnard's Loop. Cataloged officially as Sharpless 2-276, Barnard's Loop is a ghostly, 10°-wide semicircular bow of nebulosity that wraps around the eastern side of Orion, the Hunter. In long exposure photographs, it bears the unmistakable resemblance to portions of the Veil Nebula supernova remnant in Cygnus. Spotting it by eye stands as a monumental test for observers.

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