Category Archives: Astronomy

Hypervelocity Planets

An illustration of human willful ignorance of the vastness of space. This Universe Today piece titled “Can ‘Warp Speed’ Planets Zoom Through Interstellar Space?” Astronomer Avi Loeb: These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our Galaxy. … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Astronomy Non-Fiction

Two short and enjoyable reads this past week. Last night I finished Alone in the Universe. John Gribbin takes the reader through a careful tour–in turn: the galaxy, the sun, the solar system, the Earth, the Cambrian Explosion, and human … Continue reading

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Close Conjunction

From the skies of Earth, Jupiter and Venus will have their closest association tomorrow, appearing just a few degrees apart. Actual separation is more than 400 million miles. But it made me think about even closer encounters in the sky. … Continue reading

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Martian Dust Devil

From dust devil alley, on another planet: Half a mile high; almost a hundred feet across. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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Notable Year For Venus

What a source of cheer and inspiration the heavens are! Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is amazing. Venus captured through filters by a backyard telescope and a video camera. A modest 12-inch scope, plus modern equipment allows home capture … Continue reading

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Calibration Cent

This might be the only chance I’ll ever get to post one piece in the two categories of astronomy and coins. Universe Today picked up the story of a 1909 Lincoln Cent being mounted on a calibration target on the … Continue reading

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Smile For A March Conjunction

Do you know the definition of a conjunction? Two or more planets appearing close to a planetbound observer. Twelve conjunctions will occur this calendar year, though half involve a planet you will need binoculars to observe. A good home project … Continue reading

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Steam Planet

News pieces like this are amazing to me. Twenty-five years ago we were acquainted only with planets in our own solar system. Today we know of hundreds, and they are no longer all just data points. We are beginning to … Continue reading

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Slow Down

One great thing about science is how its discoveries continue to confound the experts. Venus has slowed down six minutes and thirty seconds in the past twenty years. How on earth does that happen? I mean: how in the hell … Continue reading

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Jupiter 67, Earth 1

That’s the newest tally of natural moons (if you’re keeping score) between the two most important planets in the solar system. Universe Today has the info on Scott Sheppard’s discoveries of the 66th and 67th moons of Jupiter. Temporarily designated … Continue reading

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Almost Missing Eros

I guess I’ve been too busy with family and Church things to pay much attention to the skies lately. Universe Today startled me this morning with a post on the (relatively) close approach of the asteroid Eros. Tomorrow: sixteen million … Continue reading

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Gingrich On The Moon

Universe Today covered Mr Gingrich’s comments from Florida: By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the Moon and it will be American. Love the moon base idea. I don’t think it would … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Endings

The night before my wife’s surgery, she caught me reading Chris Impey’s How It Ends: From You to the Universe. She was a little concerned, but it wasn’t about her. Honest. Professor Impey’s third popular science (PopSci) book (I’ve not … Continue reading

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Kepler’s Progeny, And A Bit of Blindness

NASA announced three small planets orbiting the red dwarf star KOI-961. The above image (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) compares sizes and distances with Jupiter and the four satellites Galileo discovered. (You can see Jupiter high in the night sky these days, and a … Continue reading

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Perspective

No, not Crystal’s blog, which you should certainly visit. The Little Planet Projection makes an appearance in today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. We’ll always have Paris, yes? A hundred here. The young miss has not had an easy time … Continue reading

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