Bug-Eyed Over The Milky Way

Boy, it’s a buggy time of year. Standing under an incredible Milky Way, I tried to picture all the insects between us and the stars — wayward moths, fireflies shaking green lanterns, mosquitos out for blood, spiders riding silk parachutes and many others too small to alert the senses. Our planet is so intensely alive. July nights…
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What’s That Bright Star At Dawn?

Several people have asked me in recent days what that bright “star” is shining near the sun at dawn. It’s Venus, brightest of the planets. Venus was in inferior conjunction with the sun on March 25, the date it wrapped up its evening sky run. During inferior conjunction, a planet passes between the Earth and sun…
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Global Telescope Seeks First Black Hole Photo

Astronomers have been busy this week using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to make the first-ever pictures of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The project began on April 5 and will finish on the 14th. Rather than a single telescope, the EVT will link eight radio telescopes around…
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Heavenly Ho Ho Ho! From A Cosmic Santa Claus

If you look closely, you might be able to picture the face of Santa Claus in these festive pink clouds. You’re seeing two overlapping glowing nebulas called NGC 248 in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a small galaxy that orbits the Milky Way like a planet orbit the sun. Intense radiation from hot young stars in the center…
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Astronomers Plan To Take First Picture Of A Black Hole Next April

On two nights in April 2017, eight observatories around the planet will function together as one Earth-size telescope to simultaneously observe Sagittarius A* (Sagittarius A star), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Collectively known as the Event Horizon Telescope, this will be humanity’s first attempt to get an image of a black hole.…
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