The Sun, An Ordinary Yet Extraordinary Star

Sometimes I have to remind myself that the sun is a star. It seems so singular, so incredible. Our planet turns to face it every day, so it’s easy to take for granted. But every so often I look up and take a quick, wincing look at that glaring disk. Feel the intensity of its…
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What Does The Milky Way Look Like From Above?

August nights are some of the best of the year to see the Milky Way. With no moon in the sky in the coming week, try to get out of town and treat yourself and your family to one of nature’s most perspective-altering sights: the sight of our own galaxy arching high overhead. From a…
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Perseid Meteor Shower Trickle Will Soon Become A Torrent

In the past few days several people have mentioned they’ve been seeing more meteors than usual. Late July through mid-August is always one of the best times of years to spot a meteor without even trying. Several different showers overlap from mid-July through mid-August, the reason for the uptick. Three meteor showers are currently active:…
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Hubble Gives Us Saturn

Enjoy this photo of Saturn from one of the finest instruments on the planet. Or off the planet. The Hubble Space Telescope orbits 335 miles (540 km) above the Earth’s surface and completes one revolution in about 97 minutes. The color and detail in the photo are stunning. Be sure to click on the image…
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Ophiuchus Part 2 — Are You A Serpentarius?

In ancient times, Ophiuchus, the constellation we met yesterday, also went by Serpentarius. That name rings true since he crosses the sky with a large snake coiled around his legs. After the constellation boundaries were formalized in 1930, a section of the sun’s yearly path that once led seamlessly between the zodiacal constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius, now…
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