Brilliant Sirius over a snow-covered spruce tree in the wee hours of an icy morning looks a lot like the Christmas Star. Let’s all enjoy a fine holiday and a happy new year!Share This:
Happenings in the night sky and information about astronomical events.
Observers in a narrow band across the southern Pacific Ocean and north-central Chile and Argentina enjoyed a rare spectacle today: a total solar eclipse. The lovely seaside towns of La Serena and Coquimbo, Chile, enjoyed two minutes and thirteen seconds of totality, and observers at some of the world’s great astronomical observatories got in on the fun. This is the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere since the ‘Great American Eclipse‘ of August 21, 2017. The next total solar eclipse occurs on December 14, 2020, once again across the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina.
The year 2018 winds down with the apparition of the modest but easily observable Comet 46/P (Wirtanen). This periodic comet will not rival some of the better “Comets of Christmas Past” such as Comet McNaught in 2006, Comet Hale-Bopp as it brightened towards the end of 1996, or even the relatively disappointing Comet Kohoutek in 1973. But Comet Wirtanen will grow bright enough to see with binoculars and, in dark sky, with the naked eye as it passes through some of the most prominent constellations of the season. It’s a great excuse to dust off your optics and get outside to enjoy the solar system in action and share the view with those around you [Read more…] about The Christmas Comet of 2018Share This:
It was the most watched event in astronomical history, and it called forth awe from hardened scientists, barstool astronomers, and small children alike. It was the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017. It was a much-hyped and all-to-fleeting event, and like you, I wish I could see it again. We can’t, of course, but we can enjoy the video and images of expert astrophotographers who spent much time and effort documenting this extraordinary eclipse. Here are a few of my favorite videos below… [Read more…] about A Video Retrospective of an Extraordinary Solar EclipseShare This:
It’s the best celestial show of the northern summer months, one that can be enjoyed without a telescope, camera, or much expertise in celestial matters at all. It’s the Perseid meteor shower, an annual event in which sand-sized bits of an ancient comet streak through the Earth’s upper atmosphere and elicit “oohs and ahhs” from experienced and untutored stargazers alike. [Read more…] about The Tears of St. LawrenceShare This: