Aurora Watch Sunday And Monday Nights Aug. 4-5

OK, it’s only a minor storm, but any storm is good news. We’ve been lacking in the green glowy stuff this year as solar activity tumbles toward a minimum. Our main aurora-makers now are coronal holes which are openings in the sun’s corona that allow solar particles to stream unfettered into space. You can’t see…
Read More

Gifts Of Sagittarius — A Deep-Sky Binocular Guide

A week ago we used Saturn to find the constellation of Sagittarius the archer, better known as the Teapot. Today, we’ll go a bit deeper and explore some of the many deep sky objects you can see there with a pair of binoculars. The term deep sky object (DSO) refers to anything other than stars and…
Read More

Crescents Everywhere

This weekend my wife and stacked three cords of wood — two of oak and one of birch. It was one the hottest jobs I’ve done in a long, long time. My shirt and pants were soaked with sweat, but what a satisfying sight to see all that neatly stacked wood. Back in the house…
Read More

Why The Milky Way Looks Cockeyed In The Sky

A reader asked a great question the other day about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is north of the band of the Milky Way or south. Remember that when we look at the band, we’re looking directly into the plane of the galaxy, neither above nor below. From mid-northern latitudes the galaxy appears high in the…
Read More

It’s Thunderstorm Season — Look For Sprites!

Had I not been so focused on observing a gas cloud 4,000 light years away I might have seen my first sprite last night. Sprites are massive electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorms. They look like jellyfish tentacles. Unlike lightning, which at 10,000° F is as hot as the face of the sun, sprites…
Read More