Category Archives: Astronomy

Update on the Previous

Still just dipping one happy toe into summer… I’m outside by the Weber, enthroned in my Coleman chair; and applewood smoke is still gently rising along with the Schlieren (those heat-shimmers whose English name I don’t know).  The ribs are … Continue reading

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Well, That’s That

The Humanity Star is crashing to earth, long ahead of schedule. It’s oddly fitting. The “disco ball” was launched into orbit in January and was supposed to orbit the earth for nine months.  It was fleetingly visible from the Northeast, … Continue reading

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Stephen Hawking–A Reminiscence

Stephen Hawking is dead at 76. I vividly remember his visit to the University of Chicago in 1986.  His lecture, given via a graduate student to a packed Mandel Hall, was titled “Why Time Moves Forward” or something like that. … Continue reading

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Fifth Day of Christmas

Happy five golden rings. It got down to nearly zero Fahrenheit last night.  This morning, the hot-water heater sent voluminous puffs of steam out the chimney.  The day started cloudy but the sun is coming through.  I’m home, cleaning the … Continue reading

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Jupiter

Jupiter was up and brilliant in the pre-dawn sky.  Three of the Galilean moons visible.  The planet was very bright indeed but I could still resolve the main equatorial bands. I’d been up since the wee hours with the telescope.  … Continue reading

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Iridium Flare?

I was just (4:30 AM) outside admiring the stars, which are crystal clear (till you get to the light pollution southwards).  I distinctly saw a brilliant flash high up, and as my eye caught it, it quickly faded, briefly revealing … Continue reading

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The Stars This Morning

I was up quite early, and while coffee was brewing and a cozy fire getting underway, I went out onto the patio to look at the stars. My patio looks directly to the path of the ecliptic, so the constellations … Continue reading

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Early This Morning

Shortly before dawn I stepped onto the patio to look at the stars. Just at his meridian, Orion was clear and bright, his bow clearly visible, Betelgeuse quite red.  To the west, Taurus and the Pleiades, Aldebaran also visibly ruddy.  … Continue reading

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Neptune

I’ve been hunting for Neptune.  I think I’ve found it. It’s been on my to-do list, but I haven’t been at this very long, and there are so many obstacles, from early bedtime on school nights to clouds to full … Continue reading

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The Cooling Tower

The open star cluster in Cygnus known as M29 is also now nicknamed “the Cooling Tower” due to its oddly symmetrical shape, evoking the hyperboloid shape of the chimneys of a nuclear power plant.  The principal stars form a box … Continue reading

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