Category Archives: Astronomy

Ribs, Rain, Miracles

How I spent my summer vacation… 1. Happy Lammas Day!  Lammas, or Loaf-Mass, a festival of first fruits, isn’t in the church calendar anymore, but was held over and recontextualized from the Celtic festival of Lughnasa, marking the first day … Continue reading

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Mars After All

Last evening Slooh had a program on the Mars opposition–when the Sun, earth, and Mars were in syzygy  (a straight line, with earth in the middle).  Further, Mars was at perihelion and earth nearly at aphelion.  (Counterintuitively for Northern Hemisphere … Continue reading

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First Mars, Now Aquarius

So tomorrow is the total lunar eclipse and Mars at opposition.  Two gorgeous red bodies in the sky at once.  Mind you, the northeastern United States won’t see the eclipse, but I’m hopeful thanks to Slooh, a community of stargazers … Continue reading

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Just as Mars approaches its historic perihelion,  what happens?  Days and days of cloudy weather. Typical. The old joke is that the surest way to bring rain is to buy a new telescope. The lawn is happy–no longer the brown … Continue reading

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The last two moonless nights have been perfect for Mars-watching. Yesterday morning at 3 AM, the red planet was a huge dollop of peach ice cream in the southern sky.  This morning I got up at 2 AM to view … Continue reading

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Corporate Stalkers

I got a postcard the other day.  It came to my own mailbox, with my name and address on it.  It was from a company that wanted to sell me T-shirts with my last name on them, and with an … Continue reading

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The Stars Last Night

Make that two nights ago…I’m losing track… Anyway, Lyra was up early, while the sky was still aglow with  solstitial sunset. I resolved Epsilon Lyrae, the famous double-double, as well as Sheliak and the nearby Ring Nebula. Vega is dazzlingly … Continue reading

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Mars etc.

I was up before 2:30 this morning to have a look at Mars, which is drawing ever nearer.  This July marks its closest approach since the spectacular event of 2003. The red planet was hiding behind dense foliage, so I … Continue reading

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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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