Pictures of Comet NEOWISE are all over the place these days, and with good reason. It has been putting on a surprisingly good appearance over the past week, with a beautiful tail, and for a while even breaking the naked-eye-visibility barrier. The phrase "best comet since Hale-Bopp in '97" seems to be floating around among…Read more A Worthy Comet
Wow, there's a lot of cool stuff going on in the night sky this week. I can't wait til this pattern of East Coast thunderstorms lets me see it! Let me give a quick rundown, in the order of my own particular interest and excitement. Your mileage may vary. Mars at Opposition Mars is back,…Read more The Moon, Mars, a Comet, and Maybe a Fireball (Astronomy: Week of 7/22/18)
You might not have heard, and almost certainly didn't see, Comet Heinze (C/2017 T1), zip by Earth over the past week and a half or so. Discovered last year, it was expected to brighten up and make a good showing as a binocular comet through January 2018, but it's still very dim, at Magnitude 9.5. …Read more History’s Most Important Comets (Astronomy: Week of 1/14/18)
There is another binocular comet gracing our night skies, and this may be the last one of the year. It's hovering just below naked-eye brightness at the moment, but it's high in the evening sky (none of this early pre-dawn nonsense), in Bootes, between Arcturus and the Big Dipper, very close to where Comet 45P…Read more Astronomy, Week of 5/14/17 (Yes, Another Comet!)
Warning: I'm getting a little over the edge here, and unwittingly going beyond "fun" casual stargazing into some serious effort to find the comets I've been talking about. In short, I'm geeking out into some junior-varsity stuff - particularly since I didn't start out with Astronomy being a main topic for this blog, it's a…Read more Astrophotography, or Just Obsession?
As I mentioned last week, Jupiter was at opposition on Friday, April 7 - this means it's opposite the sun, from our perspective, making it at its most "full" (though, as I've pointed out before, the outer planets are always very close to full from our vantage point). It's also on the same side of…Read more Astronomy: Week of 4/9/17 (Jupiter, and ANOTHER Comet!)
OK, as promised, I'm going to talk about Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak this week, but there's also another elusive object out there, and this week may be your best chance to catch either of them. The planet Mercury is nearing its most eastern declination from the Sun this week, meaning from our point of view it's at…Read more Astronomy: Week of 3/26/17 (Two Elusive Speedsters)
This week I have two things to look at, two thing to know, and one thing to tease you with. Thing one to look at: In all my discussions and introduction of the Zodiac constellations, I sort of neglected Cancer. Cancer is easily overlooked, it's dim, more recognizable as that dark area between Gemini and…Read more Astronomy: Week of 3/19/17 – Vernal Equinox