Jupiter’s Back And It’s Good At Math

I stayed up way past my bedtime the other night. I knew it was late because Jupiter rose off to the southeast. What a pleasant surprise it was to see the big, bright planet up before midnight. Then I looked through the eyepiece of my telescope and got a second surprise: Ganymede, the largest of…
Read More

Meet M3 The Magnificent, A Spring Showpiece

  Lots of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies have nicknames based on their beauty, appearance and location. For instance, we have the Eagle Nebula, Fish on a Platter, Hamburger Galaxy and Ant Nebula. What an oversight then that M3, one of early spring’s most magnificent globular clusters, has no name. We only know it by…
Read More

Moon, Mars, Saturn Come Together At Dawn

Although Mars and Saturn have parted, they’re still within earshot of each other, separated by less than 3° tomorrow morning (April 7). At the same time, the last quarter moon joins the scene, passing just 1° north of Saturn to make a bright threesome. Saturn’s rings are in full tilt and show clearly in a…
Read More

Milky Way Core May Be Riddled With 10,000+ Black Holes

We’ve only ever known about one black hole in the center of the Milky Way. As wide as the solar system and packing a mass of 4 million suns, it’s called Sagittarius A* (pronounced ‘A star’).  Now, it looks like it’s got a lot of company. A Columbia University-led team of astrophysicists has discovered a dozen…
Read More

Get High On Venus

Man, Venus is high at dusk. I was driving home over the weekend expecting to see it near the horizon. Instead it stood a fist high in the western sky an hour after sundown. And bright, too! Venus has moved from challenging to easy. With its altitude gain, the planet isn’t as compromised by twilight as…
Read More