Night Sky columnist Bob Berman has two telescopes that he wants to give away to stargazers who need them.
Seven+ sinister sisters watch over our Halloween rituals. Halloween’s date actually revolved around the Pleiades.
When the universe’s first- and fourth-most-abundant elements combine, the result is often a gas that, surprisingly, has recently cleaned up our air. It’s methane. Most folks call it natural gas. It’s also known as marsh gas and swamp gas, since it’s released by decomposing plants.
Very thin cirrus can be invisible, and here is where their magic can truly shine. Occasionally at this time of year, when the Sun is lowish but not extremely low, look overhead and you may see an upside-down rainbow called a circumzenithal arc.
Through binoculars, the 3,000 stars visible to the naked eye on the clearest night in the Catskills jump to 30,000.
The Autumnal Equinox takes place on Friday afternoon, Sept. 22, at 4:02 p.m. At that moment, Earth will angle perfectly sideways to the Sun. Neither pole will tip toward or away from that favorite star of ours. And therefore, as the media never tire of reminding us, days and nights should theoretically be equal. We’ve often pointed out that this is never true.
The radiation would start to arrive three to ten hours after the blast, and consist of fine dust particles. Breathing these could deliver fatal doses, with death expected in six to eight days.
Monday, August 21: For the first time in nearly four decades, a total solar eclipse sweeps a path across the mainland US. Most backyard astronomers have never seen one. No surprise; they’re rare. For any spot on Earth, totality happens once every 360 years on average. Some places, like Los Angeles, will wait more than a millennium. Even if you can’t make it to the path of totality, there will be an eclipse-viewing party at Red Hook’s Linden Avenue Middle School and another at Rhinebeck’s Starr Library. Don’t forget your goggles!
This Solstice conjunction will be the most spectacular meeting of planets in our lives.
Some are pure fun. They’re fun either because they sound intriguing, or else denote a little-known phenomenon that deserves wider recognition.