The rich and gauzy star fields along the Milky Way towards the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius constitute what’s arguably the most beautiful part of the night sky. Northern observers can see these constellations well over the southern horizon in the mid-to-late evening hours in August and September, while southern-hemisphere observers see this glorious region nearly overhead. Aim binoculars or a telescope towards this part of the sky, or simply gaze in this direction on a dark night with your unaided eyes, and you will see something good. The trick is figuring out which sight is which. To help you sort it all out, here’s a step-by-step tour of a small selection of the more prominent sights of the deep sky towards the center of the Milky Way [Read more…] about Touring the Heart of the Milky Way – Part 1Share This:
In the early 1930′s, Bell Labs, the research division of AT&T, launched a project to use radio “short waves” to transmit telephone calls across the Atlantic. The technology to transmit signals via short waves was reasonably well understood. But engineers also needed to understand sources of noise that might interfere with radio communications signals. So the powers-that-were at Bell Labs tasked a young engineer to find sources of radio static that might interfere with transmissions. During his work, this young engineer, Karl Jansky, made an accidental discovery that revolutionized astronomy [Read more…] about The Mysterious Hiss from the Milky WayShare This:
Here’s an incredible video that’s as close as it comes to the actual feeling of being under a clear dark sky. Created by Ben Canales and John Waller of Uncage the Soul Productions, this short work features 20 high-school students at a summer astronomy camp in Oregon. The producers simply ask, “What do you feel?” The film also visits the Oregon Star Party where 600 astronomers camp out with their scopes.
This isn’t a timelapse. It’s a video of the night sky in real time. It shows what’s possible with current camera technology, in this case a Canon MH20f-SH set at ISO400,000, along with a fast 20 mm Sigma Art lens.
In this video, along with wide-field views of the late-summer sky, you can see stars reflected in the primary mirror of a big Dob as it turns, a live view of the star Capella through an eyepiece, and a view of the Perseid meteor shower. Just amazing.Share This:
In the late days of northern summer, the constellation Cygnus lies nearly overhead in the mid-evening hours. A long, conspicuous constellation, Cygnus stretches along the diffuse arc of the Milky Way and is packed full of lovely deep-sky objects for stargazers of all skill levels.
Cygnus is an ancient star group and goes back at least 2,000 years. In Greek legend, Cygnus was a friend of Phaeton, the son of Helios, the Sun god. Phaeton met his demise while foolishly trying to drive his father’s sun-chariot across the sky. When Phaeton fell into the river Eridanus, Cygnus begged Zeus to turn him into a swan so he could fly down to retrieve his friend’s body. In doing so, however, he gave up his immortality. Zeus was touched by the selfless act of Cygnus in honoring his friend, so he cast the swan in a place of honor in the night sky [Read more…] about Touring the Backbone of Cygnus, the SwanShare This:
Once in a while, you have to get yourself to dark skies. Forget the excuses, the lost sleep, the long drive. Just go. It will regenerate you, reconnect you to the cosmos, and help you remember why you became a stargazer in the first place.
Which is why I powered down the computer and packed a simple Dobsonian telescope, a binoviewer, and a couple of eyepieces and headed out to the Almost Heaven Star Party (AHSP) in West Virginia, an event held this year on September 2-6, 2016 [Read more…] about Almost Heaven (Star Party), West VirginiaShare This: