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:
Happenings in the night sky and information about astronomical events.
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:
The constellations Orion, Canis Major, Taurus, and Auriga dominate the northern sky this month, while southern observers see these same groups along with Puppis, Carina, and Vela, constellations which harbor some of the best sights the night sky has to offer. No matter where you live, grab a telescope or binoculars and head out to take a look. This February is also a slightly unusual month because there’s no full Moon. January had two, the last of which happened on the final day of the month along with a spectacular lunar eclipse that coincided with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth. The video above shows a splendid summary of the event made by Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. And if you enjoyed waking early to see the planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in January, then you’ll have even more fun this month as each slowly grows bigger and brighter in the pre-dawn sky. Here’s what to see in the night sky this month. [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – February 2018Share This:
Happy New Year! 2018 begins with a busy month of stargazing. January brings several bright planets back to the sky, especially in the pre-dawn hours. There are two full Moons this month, the second of which is completely eclipsed for a short time for observers over half the planet. And telescopic observers get to see three separate double-shadow transits across the face of Jupiter. Here’s what to see in the night sky this month… [Read more…] about The Sky This Month – January 2018Share This: