What’s Happening To Betelgeuse? Observers Report It’s Unusually Faint

Betelgeuse in Orion is one of the brightest stars in the sky. The 10th brightest if you check the list, but that’s only an average because its light isn’t constant. Instead, Betelgeuse is a variable star with a brightness that varies from about magnitude 0.2 — nearly the equal of Rigel in the knee of Orion…
Read More

Follow The Old Moon To Christmas

With winter’s late-rising sun we’ve been treated to so many beautiful sunrises these past weeks. It’s been too easy to get out of bed around 7:30 and just look out the window. Even before rising, the coming sun reddens the underbellies of any clouds present or fashions a feather of light from minute ice crystals…
Read More

Swing Low Sweet Sun, Winter Starts Dec. 21!

Winter is coming! Wait, it’s been here since November, right? For many of us it certainly feels that way. I’ve been shoveling snow and chipping ice for the past six weeks. Ready or not the season’s official start begins at 10:19 p.m. (Central Time) Saturday, December 21. On the first day of summer, the sun…
Read More

Love Note To Venus

I’m in love. With Venus. What is it about this planet that excites me each time it returns to the evening or morning sky? Venus spends weeks or months lost in the solar glare. Finally, with great perseverance, it frees itself from the sun’s grasp and shines with a bright light of its own like…
Read More

NASA’s NICER Mission Reveals Hot-Spot Surprises On Palpitating Pulsar

When a massive star runs out of fuel it dies spectacularly, collapsing under its own weight and exploding as a supernova. While the outer layers of the star fly away in the ungodly eruption, there’s often a tiny remnant left behind called a neutron star. Normally, electrons and protons in a star’s core keep their…
Read More