Category Archives: Astronomy

The Brightest Stars

I’ve been reading quite a bit in 2013, including some books on astronomy. In the next few weeks, I’ll take a look at some volumes currently on my bookshelf and assess them for readability by the general public, for amateur … Continue reading

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Once-In-A-Century Fireball

Universe Today has amazing video footage from many sources of the meteor’s encounter with Russia. This might convince a few doubters it’s a very good idea to track as much space stuff as we possibly can.

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Tau Ceti Musings: Interstellar Obsolescence

With the discovery of five planets orbiting the star Tau Ceti, does this mean all the sf literature on that system is now obsolete? My take is that Asimov, Clarke, Niven, and others will eventually pass into the realm of … Continue reading

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Advent Lectionary: The Cosmology of Psalm 72

The psalm for Advent’s first Tuesday is the 72nd. It appears prominently on Epiphany, but we get a daytime preview of it on the third Mass of Advent. What do you make of the cosmology implied in verse 7? Justice … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Martian Summer

I just finished Andrew Kessler’s Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission. This book gives a peppy, irreverent, and informative inside view of the 2008 mission to the polar region of Mars. … Continue reading

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Note The Moon’s Movements

Did you catch the full moon last night with Jupiter as a “punctuation mark” just above it? Over Iowa, the king of planets was almost washed out in the moonlight and hazy sky in the east last night. Today’s Astronomy … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Mirror Earth

For the past twenty years scientists have been finding planets outside the solar system. Michael Lemonick’s book is an excellent introduction to the science, as well as the story behind it: real people conducting extra-solar exploration. It’s logical that astronomers find … Continue reading

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No Craters on Methone, What’s Up?

No craters on this 3-mile moon of Saturn. What’s up with that? If this is a pile of ice rubble and dust, then why is it oblong? And maybe there are craters underneath a fluffy surface.

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Give A Wink

I was thinking back to that summer night when I was ten, and had anticipated all evening the walk on the moon after the successful landing of the lunar module, Eagle. I could not keep my eyes open for the … Continue reading

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Crescent With Triangle

We’re on the trek home from my aunt’s funeral in Ohio today. Leaving the Greek restaurant (spanakopita!) just after sunset, the crescent moon made a lovely counterpoint to the triangle of Mars, Saturn, and Spica. Check out this western image … Continue reading

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Satellite Imagination: Honoring a Wife

Pluto has been demoted from planethood, but before that determination and after, it has been carefully studied. As much as a point of light on a photographic plate can be studied. Clyde Tombaugh really picked a needle out of a … Continue reading

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An Inkling on Mercury

C.S. Lewis wrote of Mars and Venus, but not the solar system’s innermost planet. His good friend, J.R.R. Tolkien now has a namesake crater there, near the Mercurian north pole. The convention is that craters on that planet are named … Continue reading

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Curious About Curiosity?

The site Universe Today as ample coverage of the Curiosity landing on Mars. You can catch the image of the parachute stage of the landing snatched from Mars orbit (left). There’s a movie picking things up after the heat shield was jettisoned. … Continue reading

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Space Aquarium

I see the astronauts at the International Space Station are getting pets of sorts. More than pet fish, really. These little guys will help researchers determine the progress of bone and muscle loss in a microgravity (weightless) environment. That’s the … Continue reading

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Another Polar Vortex

The Cassini probe spotted a vortex over Titan’s south pole. It’s now early spring in Titan’s southern hemisphere. Cassini will be watching seasonal changes carefully for the next several years. This is not unique to dense atmospheres in the solar … Continue reading

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