As we near mid-June, stargazers in southwest Iowa have the opportunity to view a unique constellation overhead that has several identifying features but the one that intrigues me the most is known as the “Flower Pot.”
As we move into the month of June, it’s been 111 years since an explosion rocked a remote and sparsely inhabited region of Siberia, and what caused the blast is still nothing more than speculation.
At some point in their lives, everyone has been out at night looking at the stars overhead and perhaps on more than one occasion have seen a particularly bright star and asked themselves, “I wonder what star that is?” How many of you have ever made the effort to find out?
I was having a conversation with a gentleman recently and he told me about a trip he had made out west to the Colorado mountains and how startling it was to be able to see so many stars in the night sky compared to how many that were visible to him here in the metropolitan area.
Several times each week, I receive e-mails and phone calls from “StarGazing” readers who have a question or an interest in some things that deal with the stars or other stellar objects.
I hope to be giving a talk to some Boy Scouts in a couple of weeks to try and help them along the path to achieving their astronomy merit badge and that path looks a little tough. In reading over what seems to be a huge amount of studying, I thought a column about star colors would help in s…
Judging from the fanciful names that ancient civilizations gave the constellations, the stars must have appealed to their imagination in no small way.
Two late spring constellations are climbing higher and higher in the eastern sky, and trying to locate both of them makes an evening of stargazing more interesting.
As we wind up the second week of April, I thought I’d go back to a column I did earlier regarding something still unexplained after more than a century has passed since it occurred:
More than 45 years have passed since our astronauts lat set foot on the moon, but in recent weeks, President Donald Trump has renewed the nation’s focus of expanding humanity’s presence beyond Earth.
A couple years back, I wrote a column that dealt with one of the severest forms of discipline that is necessary if a person is to become truly familiar with the heavens.
I read an article recently that was very intriguing since it dealt with a subject I’m very interested in: Exo-planets and the possibility of their ability to harbor life forms.
What ranks as the heavens most familiar constellation, Ursa Major, the Great Bear is now in the northeast sky pretty close to standing on its very long tail.
Of the 88 named constellations, only 57 are visible to stargazers in southwest Iowa, and the one I’m writing about today is, in my opinion, just one of two that look just like what they’re supposed to represent: Leo, the Lion, the other, Scorpio, the Scorpion.
Today’s column is somewhat of a departure from actual stargazing but I thought readers might be interested in learning about a new era in space endeavors that is scheduled to start next week with the launch of the uncrewed SpaceX Demo-1 flight test to the International Space Station (ISS).
After reading a column I wrote several weeks ago, a young stargazer sent me an e-mail asking if I could offer more information on meteors in general and I told him I would try.
Whether it is the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy or the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer, the winter skies during February provide an excellent starting point for observing the heavens.
With a clear eastern sky, it doesn’t take much effort to locate the planet Venus that is now our morning “star” and will be for the next couple of months.
A few days ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine who is somewhat of a “newbie” to the hobby of stargazing and she asked me a question about Earth’s rotation and that of the moon.
I received an e-mail from a reader recently who asked about what appeared to be a halo around the mid-morning Sun and asked what caused it.
What has been labeled as one of the U.S. government’s most intensive research efforts, if not THE most intensive, is being brought to the public via television with the History Channel’s presentation dealing with Project Blue Book.
Although telescopes will become very useful later in your stargazing efforts, binoculars make a great starting point and for certain aspects of observing the sky they are considered the best of all to use.
Over the years I have accumulated a good number of books and periodicals dealing with amateur astronomy, but the one I rely on most frequently in my observing sessions is one published in Canada.
With southwest Iowa now in its seventh full day of the winter season, we can expect an onset of colder nighttime temperatures and stargazers are urged to dress warm when going outside for observing the heavens.
I hope my readers will excuse me for using this column again since it’s been used on several occasions in the past at this time of year but considering NASA’s continuing talk about the possibility of establishing a manned outpost on the lunar surface, I thought perhaps it is still appropriat…
Based on a talk I gave a while back, it’s apparent one of the more difficult aspects of astronomy is the celestial motion and the apparent movement of the stars and our Sun.
During this latter part of November and into the first couple of weeks in December, I usually receive several e-mails from readers who, for the most part, are asking for information about optical aids and the best market for purchasing one as a gift.
Each year about this time, I try to write about one of the heaven ‘s most distinctive constellations since it is now situated in the northeastern sky and is most easily recognized by its unique shape of the letter “W” (although the “W” is now tilted a little bit to its right side.)
A friend of mine asked if I would be “kind” enough to repeat a column I wrote a year or so ago so he could try and assist his three grandkids with a project for their individual school classes. Here you go, Jerry.
Since the beginning of civilization, humanity has wondered whether we are alone in the universe or whether other life forms are “out there” on other planets but have not yet been detected.
Two of the more classical constellations in mythology, Perseus, the Hero, and Pegasus, the Winged Horse, lie almost overhead but are still slightly east in the sky and should be easy to find as long as the cloud cover cooperates and stays away.
I received an e-mail from a reader who was interested in his particular “Sun Sign,” and was wondering when and how they arrive at that particular point in space.
Although there are 88 constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union, there are only about 57 that can be seen by observers in our area.
Almost directly overhead at 9 p.m., the constellation of Cygnus — the Swan — is located right in the middle of the Milky Way with it’s head pointing south like a bird on its autumn migratory flight path.
From now until the end of November, I usually get quite a few inquiries concerning the purchase of binoculars or telescopes for a budding stargazer and what point in time is the right time.
As of Sept. 1, there had been 3,823 confirmed exoplanets discovered in our solar system, and we have learned that rocky, temperate worlds are extremely numerous in our galaxy. Perhaps the next step will involve asking even bigger questions. Could some of these exoplanets host life? And if so…
Marked by a tremendous population of stars and interstellar gasses, the constellation of Sagittarius, the Archer, is believed by astronomers to mark the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.
I was looking back over some of the file copies of my August columns about the Perseid meteor shower and couldn’t help noticing how many post-Perseid columns have “talked” about the dismal display.
Camp Hitchcock, located just north of Crescent, will be hosting their annual “Night Sky” program on Saturday for the annual arrival of the Perseid meteor shower. The program is scheduled to run from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.
For the past several weeks, one of late summertime’s most enduring asterisms has been rising in the eastern sky and is now almost directly overhead and very observable from our vantage point here in southwest Iowa.
Plans are being made for a space venture to the planet Mars in the next several years, but in the interim, NASA is attempting to study the human body’s ability to withstand a 4-year space mission to the red planet.
In conversations as well as emails and phone calls, I’ve received several questions regarding the very bright orange “star” which has been visible in the late night and early morning sky.
Comets have been pretty scarce in our part of the country for quite some time, but now comes word of a comet discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope located on the summit of the Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii, that has the potential to become a naked eye object as we get further into July a…
For many years, space debris has been of growing concern to NASA and other space agencies around the world. Their primary worry is that a collision at orbital velocities could either destroy the satellite or cause significant damage to working satellites.
Just seven days ago, on June 2, planet Earth was struck by a small asteroid that entered our atmosphere over the country of Botswana that is located in the southern part of Africa.