Today the Sun reaches the June solstice, its most northerly point on the celestial sphere. This marks the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter in the southern hemisphere. And for the first time in 68 years, the June solstice occurs on the same day as the June full Moon, often called the Strawberry Moon [Read more…] about Strawberry Moon and Summer Solstice MeetShare This:
General articles and links about astronomy and the night sky.
In a development that has shocked astrophysicists around the world, the Sun has unexpectedly run out of hydrogen fuel in its core. As gravity squeezed the collapsing core, the dense plasma increased in temperature and ignited helium burning, causing the outer layers to swell into a red giant. Reports suggest the two inner planets, Mercury and Venus, have been swallowed by the expanding star. On Earth, students in the northern hemisphere have been released from school to start summer break early. While astronomers are perplexed, health professionals strongly recommend a thick layer of sunscreen for anyone venturing outside, at least until someone can figure out how to restock the supply of hydrogen gas in the Sun’s core.
In a media report, Professor Cedric Doppleganger, of the California Institute of Astrophysics, said that although the Sun’s sudden expansion violates all known laws of physics, that researchers are undeterred. “It just goes to show that the science of solar physics isn’t so settled after all.”
(On April 2nd and beyond, the above image will be of the setting of a calm main sequence G-type star on a windy evening at Santa Monica Beach, California.)Share This:
It’s been too long since I’ve been in a good planetarium, but this past weekend I saw the splendid “Dark Universe” show at the Hayden Planetarium (pictured) in New York. With dazzling graphics, a lapidary script by Timothy Ferris and narration by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the movie summed up in style the most important discoveries in cosmology over the past 100 years. If you’re visiting NYC, skip an afternoon of shopping and go to the Hayden. It’s worth the trip.
As the days tick down to the December solstice, stargazers can engage in a little meteor watching as the Geminids meteor shower peaks during the nights of December 13-14, 2015. One of the best meteor showers of the year, the Geminids shows up to 100-150 meteors per hour in dark sky. This will be an excellent year because the waxing crescent Moon will set before the shower peaks [Read more…] about Geminid Meteor Shower 2015Share This:
In 1991, stargazer Steve Cariddi walked into a Boston bookstore and noticed most desk calendars were about cats, or puppies, or sailboats. There was not a single astronomy calendar in sight. So he decided to create his own, and in late 1993 he published his first “astronomy and space” desk calendar. He’s been publishing these calendars every year since. And now he’s released the large-format ‘Year in Space’ wall calendar for 2016 [Read more…] about 2016 ‘Year in Space’ CalendarShare This: