Category: Sky Talk

SkyTalk April | A Celestial Compass, Calendar & Clock

The sky’s best-known figure (with the possible exception of the constellation Orion) is the Big Dipper.  The Dipper itself is actually not a constellation but only part of one—Ursae Major, the Great Bear.  It’s an “asterism” or a distinctive pattern made up of parts of one or more constellations.  But it surely has to be …


SkyTalk March | The Amazing Beehive Cluster

On March evenings, a very famous but subtle stellar commune sits right on the celestial meridian (the north-south line in the sky passing overhead) in the constellation Cancer. A fascinating sight whether using the unaided eye, binoculars, or wide-field telescopes, it’s a “must-see” target for skywatchers. To identify the Beehive Star Cluster and its host …


SkyTalk February | Honoring Edmund Scientifics Telescopes

Few realize the role that Edmund Scientifics telescopes have played over the years in the growth of amateur astronomy. If you are among those who own one of these vintage instruments, you may be sitting on a wonderful window on the heavens for your personal observing pleasure—and valued collector’s item in many cases as well! …


SkyTalk January | A Perfect Eclipse Of The Moon!

Be sure to mark your calendar for January 20th. A spectacular total lunar eclipse will be widely visible from all of North America later that evening (and somewhat into the hours after midnight). Five eclipses will occur in 2019—three solar and two lunar. But this is the only one of the five visible in the …


Mars Comes Close!

A lot is going on in the sky this month, including a beautifully-paired conjunction of radiant Venus and the crescent Moon low in the western twilight on the 15th, and the Moon hovering just above Jupiter on the 20th in the southwest at dusk. (That date is also “Moon Day”—the anniversary of the first landing …


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!


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 …


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 …


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 …