Credit: Bob King

‘Challenge’ Photos And A Jupiter-Moon Conjunction

Did you have any luck with last night’s challenge of finding the crescent moon and all five bright planets? I decided to take the challenge too. There were a few surprises. First, the both the thin lunar crescent and Venus were higher and easier to see than I expected. And once the sky darkened a…
Read More

Mercury moon venus jupiter Aug 4_FEA

Observing Challenge — See A Slim Crescent, Venus, Mercury And Jupiter At Dusk

Every so often in this blog we feature an observing challenge. Since the summer weather’s so nice and you have a little free time after dinner, why not grab your binoculars and head out to the nearest western horizon shortly after sunset. If the air is transparent with no haze or clouds obstructing the view, tomorrow…
Read More

Venus elongation phasesFEA

Hello Venus, Hello Mercury!

Quick. How many naked eye planets can you see in the night sky? If you answered three — Jupiter, Mars and Saturn — congratulations, you’re three-fifths correct! But two others have been sneaking up from behind when we weren’t paying attention. Venus has recently returned to the evening sky after a many-month hiatus, and Mercury’s putting…
Read More

Ceres iceFEA

Ice Goes Into Hiding On Ceres / Dawn, Pluto Probe Update

We know there’s ice inside Ceres, but it may be chillin’ on the surface, too. Scientists with NASA’s Dawn mission have identified permanently shadowed craters on the dwarf planet that have likely been cold enough to trap water ice for a billion years. “The conditions on Ceres are right for accumulating deposits of water ice,” said…
Read More

Mercury transit May 9_2016 8_50am_FEA

Let The Transit Begin!

“So you took the day off work to watch a little black dot cross the sun?” my wife asked drily. Well yes. Yes I did. OK, so I’m a little nuts. I admit it. Just came back in after getting my first look at Mercury through a 3-inch refractor, and it was much more obvious even…
Read More