Wind-Sculpted Dunes Sweeten Pluto’s Planetary Trappings

Last night during a talk I gave about the night sky, a woman asked why Pluto is not a planet. She, like many other people who’ve attended my classes and talks since August 24, 2006, the day the erstwhile planet was demoted to dwarf planet, was still attached to the idea that it should remain…
Read More

Northern Lights May Shine Tonight June 1-2

You can often count on coronal holes to provide auroras even when solar activity is low. Today for instance there’s only one small sunspot group, and it’s very “quiet.” But invisible to the eye, a coronal hole has been blasting us like a garden hose with a stream of subatomic particles that raises the possibility…
Read More

Mars Gets Closer And Closer, Bigger And Brighter

Man oh man, Mars is sure getting bright and closing in, too. Now at magnitude –1.2, the Red Planet shines second only to Sirius, the brightest star.  Damian’s montage (above) beautifully illustrates how much bigger (and brighter) the planet has become since the start of the year. Although Mars rises red as radishes around 11…
Read More

14 Galaxy Megamerger May Spawn The Most Massive Single Thing In The Universe

12.4 billion light years away 14 galaxies are merging into a colossus. Astronomers discovered the group using the 394-inch (10-meter) South Pole Telescope and examined it in detail with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. Both scopes look like big radio dishes and study the sky in “submillimeter” light just beyond the infrared…
Read More

All In A Day’s Sky / Full Flower Moon Tonight

First, I want to remind you to look for the Full Flower Moon both tonight and tomorrow night.. Perfect timing. I’ve seen plenty of different flowers in the past couple weeks including bloodroot, anemone, nodding trillium, marsh marigold and several varieties of violets. The reason we have two nights of full moonness has to do…
Read More