Category Archives: constellations

Looking Up At Two Crosses

Did you know there are two crosses in Earth’s sky? This image from Astronomy Picture of the Day today captures both of them. But you have to get as far south as Hawaii. We talked about one of the crosses … Continue reading

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The Fish Enthrone a King

King of the planets, that is. If you are looking up in the night sky these days at that bright object high in the sky, behold Jupiter. It’s well placed for viewing, being on the opposite side of the sun … Continue reading

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Getting Bullish on Star Clusters

Astronomers now believe that most stars are formed in clusters. Giant interstellar clouds of gas and dust produce dozens to hundreds of stars in fairly close associations. Then over millions of years, these families become more diffuse as the gravity … Continue reading

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The Dogs of Winter

Last night was an amazingly good night for skywatching. The (earthbound) dog and I went for a walk a few blocks from the house. Temperature was in the teens and a bitter wind was cutting into my coat from the … Continue reading

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Chasing Rabbits

The family dog and I have been enjoying (or enduring) nightly walks this winter, usually when I get home from an evening meeting or before I go to bed. We live in a curious neighborhood a bit over a mile … Continue reading

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Two At The Foot of the Cross

Tammy Plotner writes at Universe Today today: Summertime conjures up great images of enjoying a double dip ice cream cone, and what more wonderful way to enjoy than with two flavors? Would you like to have some fun while the … Continue reading

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Crab Holding The Beehive

We took a break from packing last night and went to the astronomy society’s public opening for Summer ’08. The Powell Observatory is an amazing site to visit. It houses our club’s telescopes and a 30-seat room for weekly presentations … Continue reading

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Ara: Altar of Wonder

The little-known constellation of the altar (Latin: Ara) might be a traditionalist’s favorite, if you can navigate the scorpion’s sting. Before worshipping, consider this altar was commissioned by the pagan gods of Olympus to commemorate their victory over the mythological … Continue reading

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Sagittarius: Your New Year’s Sun Sign, But Not Mine

In astrology, the sun sign rules. Presumably, it is the constellation in which the sun was found on one’s day of birth. But traditional astrology has never benefitted from something like a church council, which would resolve the problem of … Continue reading

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Perseus Holds A Comet

Comet 17P/Holmes is now visible for Northern Hemisphere stargazers. On Wednesday this week some outburst from this two-mile-wide body kicked up its brightness from magnitude 17 to nearly 2, a factor of about a half-million. Chris Peterson of Cloudbait Observatory … Continue reading

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Ursa Major: Biblical Constellation

How many of the eighty-eight constellations are mentioned in the Bible? Ursa Major, the “Great Bear” is one of them: Job (9.9) asks: (W)ho made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south(?) And later God … Continue reading

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Ursa Minor: Magnitude Guide

The constellation Ursa Minor (Little Bear for those who prefer the vernacular) contains Polaris, the star which will point you north–if you have a mostly cloudless night. It also contains a helpful guidepost for judging the magnitudes of other stars … Continue reading

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Ophiuchus and the Holy Cross

Before the Liturgy of the Word at the school Mass, our pastor asked the kids to listen for mention of any reptiles in the readings today. During the homily, as he preached on the feast and drew in the notion … Continue reading

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The Dolphin Leaps in Dark Skies

Saturday night at the astronomy club, I was introduced to a constellation you just can’t see in a city, Dephinus, the dolphin. Even Brittany agreed it looked like a leaping dolphin when I pointed it out. In dark skies, it … Continue reading

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