Posts Tagged 'night sky'

The year’s best stars

The year’s best stars

This week we face into the winter Milky Way, the spiral arm that’s opposite the galactic core. The Aztecs and Mayas regarded this luminescent band as the path taken by the newly departed en route to heaven. In medieval Europe it was called by its Latin name, Via Galactica, meaning “Milk Street.”

Starry, starry weekend – and a bloodless Blood Moon

Starry, starry weekend – and a bloodless Blood Moon

Of the ten first-magnitude stars in the heavens, eight of them will surround the Moon. You’ll notice that the star directly below the Moon is also the very brightest. This blue gem is the famous Dog Star: Sirius. It also happens to be the very closest star we can ever see from New York State.

Methane: Blue flames and the green planet

Methane: Blue flames and the green planet

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.

Equivocally equinoctial: The first moment of fall

Equivocally equinoctial: The first moment of fall

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.