“All things lovely will have an ending”, wrote author Conrad Aiken, and the end is coming soon for the venerable Yerkes Observatory on Lake Geneva in the pleasant resort village of Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The University of Chicago, which operates the observatory, announced earlier this year that Yerkes will close on October 1, 2018, and all public tours and scientific and educational activities will cease after more than 120 years of operations [Read more…] about A Requiem for Yerkes ObservatoryShare This:
Recent Astronomy Articles at Cosmic Pursuits
The planet Mars is coy. It spends most of its time as a relatively inconspicuous star-like object, only moderately bright, drifting barely noticed though the sky, little seen, or sometimes hiding behind the Sun.
Once every two years it grows bolder. It decides to put on a show. But even then, it’s sneaky about it, gathering its glory in the late hours of the night, seen mainly by dedicated astronomers, those who know what to expect and where to look.
And then, at the apex of its splendor, it rises at sunset, blazing across the sky all night for a few brief weeks, revealing itself in a level of detail far beyond what it will normally display [Read more…] about Mars MeditationsShare This:
Electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA) is a relatively new and often misunderstood pastime, one that lies somewhere in the continuum between strictly visual observing and hard-core astrophotography. Simply put, EAA allows you to see what would otherwise not be possible to see using an eyepiece alone. It’s an ideal way to complement purely visual observing, and it’s perfect for stargazers who don’t have the visual acuity or patience to look through an eyepiece [Read more…] about The Basics of Electronically-Assisted AstronomyShare This:
When I first learned about the “Superman” star, a type of cataclysmic variable star, I was excited to chase it down with a telescope, and I was also excited about researching the popular and scientific literature of these fascinating stars. The more I investigated, the more I felt like I had stumbled upon a treasure trove of celestial gems to explore. My reading revealed so many types of cataclysmic variables that I was giddy with excitement about an endless stream of fascinating objects with equally fascinating astrophysics to ignite my imagination. And having the spectacular eruption of one of these intriguing stars possibly being an inspiration behind a popular fictional superhero made the exploration all the more enticing [Read more…] about The Superman StarShare This:
An abandoned sailboat in a grassy field in northern Virginia makes for a good, if unexpected, foreground for this image of the summer Milky Way. Mars is at lower left, while Saturn is below center, and just below the airplane trail. The silvery rectangle of stars above the plane trail is the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (Messier 24). Many pink nebulae and silver-gray star clusters fleck the trail of the Milky Way. Look to the upper left of the image to see the little upside-down ‘Coat Hanger’ asterism known as Collinder 399.
Image taken on July 8, 2018 near Warrenton, VA, with a Nikon D750 and Tamron 15-30mm lens at f/2.8, a NiSi natural night filter, ISO 3200, 20 seconds.Share This: