Columns

Watch for the light

Watch for the light

This worldwide ailment has many of us climbing the walls. There’s a general feeling of restlessness. My children watch me like a hawk, and I get daily warnings about the dangers that lurk beyond my property boundaries.

Fossils of the Catskill Sea

Fossils of the Catskill Sea

Illustrations from a nineteenth-century geology textbook show typical marine shellfish fossils of Devonian age, a time period running from 419 to 369 million years ago. That’s the age of almost all the rocks here in the Catskills. Those fossils speak to geologists of a time when all of our region lay beneath the waves of a shallow sea, sometimes called the Catskill Sea.

The evening star at its very best

The evening star at its very best

This week, Venus has reached its greatest separation from the sun while standing high above where the sun set. These are rare perfect conditions that make Venus appear as high up as is ever possible. But on top of that, Venus is also at its most brilliant.

In quest of a true spectacle

In quest of a true spectacle

We all enjoy sky-spectacles, and especially those that do not require a telescope. Some are not too frustratingly rare, such as brilliant meteors and rainbows. And we can greatly increase the odds of seeing these if we know when they’re most likely.

Night Sky: The amazing Seven Sisters

Night Sky: The amazing Seven Sisters

Who hasn’t heard of the Seven Sisters,also known as the Pleiades? It’s the most beautiful star cluster and the most famous. It’s obvious to the naked eye and stunning through binoculars, and these nights it’s unusually easy to find.

Beauty from your backyard: The most amazing Evening Star ever

Beauty from your backyard: The most amazing Evening Star ever

We are all finding new ways to have fun at home. Naturally and predictably, I’m recommending you step into your backyard and simply look up around dinnertime, just as darkness falls. So happens, this is a most extraordinary time to gaze at the heavens. Halfway up the western sky you’ll see an unbelievably bright “star.” This is of course the planet Venus, also known as the Evening Star.

Mark Sherman: We’ll get through this

Mark Sherman: We’ll get through this

As FDR said in his first inaugural address in 1933, when the country was in the midst of a horrendous depression: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” More recently, Governor Cuomo said the current situation is not in itself so horrific. It is fear that can lead to hoarding of food and other socially harmful behaviors.