ALCON 2018 — Connecting People With The Cosmos / Venus-Moon Stunner Tonight

Man, am I tired. But it’s a good tired. I’ve been away the past couple days in Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Minn. at the 2018 Astronomical League Convention (ALCON 2018). It was hosted by the Minnesota Astronomical Society (MAS), one of the friendliest and most engaged bunch of amateur astronomers anywhere. The yearly event brings in…
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Watch Asteroid Ryugu Spin Like A Top — In 3D

This is just too cool. You’re watching a time-lapse of the the kilometer-wide asteroid Ryugu spin on its axis. One complete rotation takes 7.6 hours or about one typical work shift. How many Ryugu rotations have you worked for the man this month? If you have a pair of red-blue glasses 3D glasses, put them…
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Colossal Collision Kicked Uranus On Its Side

Blessed is the 23.5° tilt of Earth’s axis. Without it there would be no seasons. How fun would that be? All the solar system’s planets spin on tilted axes, but none so much as Uranus, which nods 98°, a smidge past sideways.  Scientists have always wondered how Uranus got tilted so much that it spins…
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Aldebaran Sails On / Crescent Moon Eyes Mercury And Venus Next

Mostly clear skies this morning made for a wonderful last occultation of Aldebaran till 2033. I stood along the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth and contemplated for a moment what that year might look like should I be fortunate enough to live so long. When the image of a man steadying himself with a…
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Enjoy A Venus Aperitif Before Tomorrow Morning’s Occultation

An aperitif is an alcoholic drink you take before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Tonight, a close conjunction of Venus and the star Regulus offers a visual aperitif for tomorrow morning’s occultation / close conjunction of the waning crescent moon and Aldebaran. You’ll find the pair — along with Mercury — low in the…
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