16May2018

Lunar, Planetary & Stellar Showcase

Despite having the latest sunset, longest twilight, and shortest night of the year, the month of June still offers an opportunity to see the sky’s brightest objects appear as darkness slowly descends—the Moon, five planets, and three radiant summer stars! ———————————————————————————————————— Because it takes so long for it to get dark this month, many sky …

27Apr2018

Telescope “Power”

“How powerful is that telescope?” is a question that’s often asked by those considering purchasing one (or seeing various telescopes at an astronomy club star party). And it’s certainly understandable in that power has always been associated with these optical marvels. But in reality, a telescope actually has three kinds of power—two of which are …

22Mar2018

Small Telescope Astronomy

Today’s mantra that “bigger is better” when it comes to TV screens, cars, houses, stadiums, etc. definitely doesn’t apply to telescopes for stargazing. Turns out that small scopes have some important advantages over larger ones and, surprisingly, in many cases can provide views of celestial wonders unmatched by the biggest of instruments!

16Feb2018

Becoming A Stargazer

If you step out doors on a clear night and look up as the sky, technically you are already a stargazer! But stargazing as an exciting hobby entails a lot more than just a casual glance skyward. It’s a never-ending cosmic adventure that you can embark on simply by following the three basic steps discussed …

21Nov2017

December’s Delightful Shooting Stars

SCIENTIFICS – SKY TALK – DECEMBER, 2017 Were I to pick my favorite of the year’s several good annual meteor showers, it wouldn’t be the famed Perseids of August (seemingly everyone’s favorite) but rather the Geminids of December. It consistently offers more “shooting stars” than any other display—typically at least 100 per hour, and occasionally …

Boy Happy while opening Magic Gift, lights and Stars
07Nov2017
16Oct2017

Spot the First Planet Ever Discovered

The sky this month (and next) offers an opportunity to see the first planet to be “discovered” in our solar system—Uranus! At magnitude 5.7 it can be spotted with the unaided eye under very dark viewing conditions. The smallest pair of binoculars will definitely show it, while telescopes will reveal that it is indeed a …

18Sep2017

Touching A Star

How would you like to touch a star the next clear night? It’s not only possible but inevitable due to the amazing “photon connection”! So many of nature’s wonders we often fail to recognize in our busy lives (the majestic rising of the Earth’s shadow in the east at sunset being just one example). But …

04Sep2017

Celestial Traffic Jam!

SKY TALK – SEPTEMBER, 2017 Celestial Traffic Jam! Most of our columns (in addition to telescope-related topics) are devoted to celestial objects and events visible in the evening sky. But occasionally, something spectacular happens in the pre-dawn morning sky worth rising early for—as is the case of this month’s lunar-planetary-stellar conclave. ———————————————————————————————————— On the early …

Camera view solar eclipse