A Dead Rock Comes To Life

This map shows the sky tonight (September 6) around 8:30 p.m. looking south-southwest. The red star Antares, which marks the heart of the scorpion, will make a pretty duo with the moon all evening. — created with Stellarium I’m getting partly cloudy skies from the Clear Sky Chart forecast for tonight. That should at least give…
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Wiggle, Jiggle And Jive

We’ve all heard the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, an English nursery rhyme that shares its melody with several others, including the Alphabet Song. Astronomers enjoy nursery rhymes like anyone else but they bristle when the subject turns to twinkling stars. Go out just about any clear night, look up and you’ll see the stars a-flutter. Twinkling is caused by pockets…
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The Truth About Astronomy

The sky was mostly cloudy last night despite the optimistic forecast. Keep in mind that Neptune and the Andromeda galaxy will be visible throughout the fall. By the beginning of next week, the moon will make viewing Neptune difficult for a time. I’ll make another map for finding the planet when the sky is moonless again later this month.…
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Neptune In Binoculars? No Way!

So the sky did crack open a few times last night between waves of fast-moving clouds. The stars were very bright in the hazeless air. Finding things in the sky mostly depends on good maps and a little persistence. Everything’s complicated by the spinning of the Earth, which like the classic mother-in-law stereotype, keeps moving the silverware. Over the coming…
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Stridulations In C Major

I know nothing about composing music but given a second life, I’d learn how to do it. Modern classical is my favorite, and I marvel at how composers wring such amazing color and vitality from musical instruments. Music buzzed the air last night, but instead of clarinets and timpani, it was legs, wings and bodies of…
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