Crescents Everywhere

This weekend my wife and stacked three cords of wood — two of oak and one of birch. It was one the hottest jobs I’ve done in a long, long time. My shirt and pants were soaked with sweat, but what a satisfying sight to see all that neatly stacked wood. Back in the house…
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Why The Milky Way Looks Cockeyed In The Sky

A reader asked a great question the other day about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is north of the band of the Milky Way or south. Remember that when we look at the band, we’re looking directly into the plane of the galaxy, neither above nor below. From mid-northern latitudes the galaxy appears high in the…
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It’s Thunderstorm Season — Look For Sprites!

Had I not been so focused on observing a gas cloud 4,000 light years away I might have seen my first sprite last night. Sprites are massive electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorms. They look like jellyfish tentacles. Unlike lightning, which at 10,000° F is as hot as the face of the sun, sprites…
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4,000 Alien Planets Discovered … No, Make That 4,102

4,000 exoplanets. The dense clump that will appear at upper left during the animation is where the Kepler Telescope found most of its planets, since it focused on this specific region of the sky. The Apollo missions were humankind’s first and so far only opportunity to walk on and explore another planetary body other than…
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Share Tea With Saturn In Sagittarius

The same way we used Jupiter to find the constellation Scorpius a few weeks back, we can use Saturn to find Sagittarius the Archer. Better known as the Teapot from its shape, the constellation never gets very high in the sky viewed from the northern United States and Canada. For me, the bottom half of the…
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