Geminid2009_ Wally Pacholka with permission crop

Geminid Meteors Dazzle For The Holidays

Forget about Internet deals, 20% off and 2 for the price of 1. I need some commercial-free enjoyment. You too?  Lucky us. This weekend the annual Geminid meteor shower should put on a splendid show with up to 120 meteors visible per hour from a dark sky site. 100 years ago, the Geminid shower was a modest affair with 20-30…
Read More

Catalina Nov27 HKato_FEA

Comet Catalina By Moonlight

Just a quick report on Comet Catalina. Moonlight or not, a few of us strode out for a look this morning (Nov. 28). I got up at 5 a.m. and drove to a good eastern horizon spot, set up my scope, a 15-inch (37-cm) reflector, and aimed it the star Lambda in Virgo just above the…
Read More

Leonids 1833 woodcutS_Fea

Meteor Allure! Leonid Shower Peaks Nov. 17-18

Ah, November. What better time to ease into a reclining chair, look up and enjoy a few flashing meteors. As long as you remember to get up the hour before dawn and dress warmly! The annual Leonid meteor shower will deliver 10-15 meteors an hour when it peaks this coming Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (Nov. 17-18)…
Read More

"X" marks the spot. The cone-shaped zodiacal light (left), formed by comet dust glowing in sunlight, intersects the Milky Way this morning shortly before dawn. Credit: Bob King

The Zodiacal Light Invites You Out Tonight

Sunrise still comes early but not so early that you can’t find a way to view one of early fall’s most fascinating phenomena, the zodiacal light. It shows up best about a half hour before the start of dawn in the eastern sky. What am I talking about? Comet dust … with a bit of asteroid…
Read More


Rosetta’s Comet Undergoes Dramatic Outburst

Just 9 days after making its closest approach to the sun, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko underwent a dramatic outburst. A crack or hole in its crust allowed a bottled-up bubble of dust-laden gas to spew into space in a grand display. Comets, being made of ice and dirt, shed most heavily when nearest the sun as 67P/C-G was…
Read More