EYES TO THE SKY September 18-30, 2018

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At nightfall, look for the Great Square of Pegasus suspended above the eastern horizon. The Great Square is an easy to recognize pattern that is shaped by three stars of the constellation Pegasus – the winged horse of ancient Greek mythology – and one star belonging to Andromeda, the constellation that follows Pegasus in the […]

EYES TO THE SKY September 4 – 16, 2018

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My address: Planet Earth, Orion spur, the Perseus arm of the Milky Way Galaxy “A galaxy is a gargantuan collection of stellar and interstellar matter – stars, gas, dust, neutron stars, black holes – isolated in space and held together by its own gravity. Astronomers are aware of literally millions of galaxies beyond our own.” Astronomy […]

EYES TO THE SKY August 20 – September 2, 2018

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The Summer Triangle, an impressive star pattern shaped by three bright stars, is visible high in the southeast as twilight deepens and is prominent all night.   In the evening sky, the Summer Triangle hovers above Mars, the not-to-be-missed brightest celestial body – excepting the moon – in the southeastern sky. Altair, the lowest star […]

EYES TO THE SKY August 6 – 19, 2018

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See streaks of light dart through a field of stars glittering in darkness. Streaks of light with long and lasting trails stir eyes, heart and voice to heaven’s touch. One of the greatest shows of the season here on planet Earth is underway right now; it is the Perseid meteor shower.   A meteor is […]

EYES TO THE SKY July 23 – August 5, 2018

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The culmination of an extraordinary celestial event is underway. Look to the southeast at nightfall: a glowing golden orb rising above the skyline will bewilder you if you have not seen planet Mars recently. Distinctly yellowish and shining at a magnitude of -2.75 today, Mars reaches peak brilliance (-2.78m) from the 26th through the 28th, […]

EYES TO THE SKY July 9 – 22, 2018

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In early twilight, within half an hour of sunset when the western sky is pale blue, planet Venus turns our heads to receive its brilliant light, now 15 degrees above the horizon. Tonight, the 9th, Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, is in conjunction with Venus: when twilight deepens, see “the […]

EYES TO THE SKY June 25 – July 8, 2018

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In a country cabin on a clear night last week, I was on my way to bed at about 11 o’clock when I made a detour to the front door. If the stars and planets are so bright that you spot them from a window, the allure of the rest of the sky is irresistible, […]

EYES TO THE SKY June 11 – 24, 2018

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When we look up to the night sky we see beyond Earth’s protective atmosphere to the planets in our solar system and the universe of stars that comprise our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy. Observatory Director, Dr. Eileen Ryan, explains this image, “I’m observing with the telescope from the control room in the observatory building. […]

EYES TO THE SKY May 29 – June 10, 2018

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A note from a reader: “It is now 9pm. For the past few months, about this time in the evening, I view a very bright “planet.” I face west and this object is descending pretty quickly. Two months ago I figured it was Jupiter, now I am told Jupiter will not appear until a few more […]

EYES TO THE SKY May 14 – 27, 2018

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As twilight deepens, the starlike light of bright Jupiter appears above the southeastern horizon. Jupiter climbs to its highest point around midnight, then descends toward the southwest. On May 8-9, Jupiter, Earth and the Sun lined up, a momentous celestial phenomenon known as “opposition.” Around this time of opposition, the planet is brightest for the […]