Category Archives: Astronomy

What Star Is This?

Here’s an excellent reflection on astronomy and what the Star of Bethlehem could have been. Convincing was the notion that it wasn’t really a celestial object as notable as The First Noel describes: They looked up and saw a starShining … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: The Last Stargazers

It’s one of the best science non-fiction books I’ve read this year. Astronomer Emily Levesque accomplishes something informative and accessible in her book. It’s been well-regarded by reviewers and readers alike. When I started reading, I thought it was going … Continue reading

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Conjunction Malfunction

The Conjunction of 2020 has been on my calendar for years. When I moved to Minnesota, I thought I’d have a better chance of clear skies. As I mentioned on social media, alas, it’s cloudy where I am, where I … Continue reading

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Belt of Venus

On the drive east through North Dakota this evening we beheld the Belt of Venus. I wish I had hands free to snap a picture. Usually, earthlings are more focused on the setting or rising sun and the colorful shadings … Continue reading

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Three Bodies, No Problem

The next few nights the fat crescent moon drifts past Jupiter and Saturn as they appear from Planet Earth. Leaving church this evening, the rain clouds had largely cleared, but it was a beautiful sight. The moon illuminated the edges … Continue reading

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Mars In Opposition

What is an opposition? It has nothing to do with US elections. It occurs in astronomy when two planets and a star they orbit line up more or less exactly. It takes the blue planet (Earth) a bit more than … Continue reading

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Russian Venus

My wife mentioned to me that Russia has claimed Venus. The Soviets were at the forefront of exploration on that planet for the early decades of the Space Age. Sometimes international politics is more noise than substance. In space, there … Continue reading

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Life On Venus?

A handful of scientists are excited about the prospect of life in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Why? The detection of phosphine (below, left), a gas that, to the best of our knowledge, does not occur unless life as we … Continue reading

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First Glimpses Last Night

The young miss and I got our first views of the comet. My first in over two decades. We live across the street from a nature preserve, and as you might expect in the Pacific Northwest, we have to contend with … Continue reading

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This Week’s Comet

image credit: By Maxime Storn – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 I suppose if the ancients were undergoing pandemic and this comet appeared in the sky, there might be a lot of hand-wringing over this symbol of celestial displeasure. As … Continue reading

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Which Virgin?

There is much pagan mythology connected to the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky. If any of you readers indulge your “horrorscope” you might recognize Virgo, designated a virgin. Perhaps regrettably, this rather large grouping of stars does not … Continue reading

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A Tempter In The Sky

Christians know well the story of Genesis 3. The serpent is the first villain in the Bible.  At the end of the story, punishments are delivered. Early Christians imagined the extended and winding constellation wrapping around the pole star to … Continue reading

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Book Challenge Day 8

One of my two favorite astronomy books of all time. Usually I go for planets and smaller bodies–my astronomy leans more to geology and physics and cosmology. But this book is great.

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Book Challenge Day 1

This series will run simultaneously on my fb page. There, no comment, just cover. Here, a few words. This was the first book I wore out. I got another–the same 1956 edition. Today, my go-to field guide for astronomy is … Continue reading

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Giotto’s Comet

Seasonally appropriate, perhaps you know Giotto’s Adoration of the Magi. The star of wonder looks like a comet to me. Europe’s 1980’s probe to Halley’s comet was named for him, because of this painting. Giotto was thought to have been … Continue reading

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