Astronomers Crack Open The Crab Nebula And Feast On Its Light

The Crab Nebula, low in the western sky this month, looks like a faint cloud in a telescope, but its vaporous appearance belies the amazing event that occurred here 963 years ago. In early July of 1054, Chinese astronomers and others witnessed a spectacular supernova explosion here. The titanic blast may have even been recorded…
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When The Moon Gets All Bent Out Of Shape

Watching a moonrise can be filled with surprises. Especially if you can see clear down to the horizon. Last night, I was out with a group of folks from the local radio club and we thrilled to a pumpkin-orange moon rising over Lake Superior. Heck, it even looked like a pumpkin — bigger around its equator…
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Watch A Double Shadow Transit On Jupiter Tonight

Jupiter is front and center at nightfall May evenings. The planet is the first “star” to show in the sky at dusk, when it appears in the southeastern sky a fist above fainter Spica in the constellation Virgo. Tonight (May 11), if you have a modest-sized telescope, say a 4 to 6 incher, you can…
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Full Flower Moon Knows No Borders

Guess what’s blooming in the east around sunset tonight? A most unearthly flower better known as the moon. Tonight’s the full moon and one with a name we can relate to. Flowers may show in March and April but by May, the gang’s all here. Our local bloomery includes bloodroot, violets, marsh marigolds and the…
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Jupiter Surprises With Massive Magnetism And A ‘Fuzzy’ Core

I look out at night and see Jupiter and wonder how much we don’t know about the solar system’s biggest planet. Scientific investigation increases our knowledge of the universe but never reaches an endpoint. Who would want it to? There’s an infinite complexity to everything we might investigate, and the hunt’s half the fun. Always another…
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