Declassified: The True Tale of Project Orion.
Artist's conception of an Orion vessel about to depart from Mars orbit. (Credit: NASA). Ever wondered if man will ever head to the stars? Certainly, the magnitude… [more]
Astro-Challenge: Daytime Planet Spotting!
A daytime Venus post-occultation in 2007! (Photo by Author). Here’s a fine neighborhood experiment to try. Next time the Moon is around 1st or Last Quarter, show… [more]
Astro-Event: What’s in a Name? Black & Blue Moons through 2020.
The August 2011 Full Moon rising as seen from Astroguyz HQ. (Photo by Author). (Note: This week’s lunar-related event is a fitting tribute to the life of astronaut… [more]
30.10.2012: A Weekend of Apocalyptic Fun at the NecronomiCon!
How many Baktuns in a Pectun again? (Credit: Stone Hill.org). The “busy ‘Con season” for Astroguyz has arrived. Sure, it may have came and went with only one event,… [more]
Week 4-The Quest for Dark Skies: Into the Appalachians.
A very slender Moon... (All photos by Author). The mountains always beckon. In the end, all astronomers must heed the call of dark, pristine skies and head into… [more]
The Top Astronomy Events for 2013.
It has arrived. Welcome to our official guide to the fascinating, the unique, and the down right bizarre in the realm of astronomy coming to a sky near you in 2013.… [more]
A sci-fi classic! Alt-history Steampunk has never been hotter. We recently finished up the fifth book in a brilliant science fiction series courtesy of Pyr Books. We’re talking about The Return of the Discontinued Man by Mark Hodder, out earlier this month. This is the fifth and (final?) book in the outstanding Burton and Swinburne series. [...]
Cue spaceship… it’s Devil’s Tower! Terror is laying awake in a tent the middle of the night in a South Dakota summer thunderstorm, listening to the tree limbs crack in the distance and waiting for the “half-dollar – do they still make half dollars? – sized hail” that the weather radio promises to arrive.
The CHIPS neutrino detector in the lab. All photos by author. Us men are forever looking for a clandestine domain to call our own. Batman has the Batcave, Superman has his Arctic Fortress of Solitude, and supervillians seem to be forever finding secluded islands on which to build their secret lairs. And while one could [...]
Looking out over Lake Superior. (All photos by author). Well, it’s great to be up north in the summertime once again. Summer season, whether it’s in Wisconsin or our home of Northern Maine, is so drop-dead gorgeous that it can convince you to endure the depth of a long winter, one more time. Of course, [...]
A stellar recipe! It’s the hottest topic in modern astrophysics. What exactly is dark matter and dark energy? It is kind of amazing to think that astrophysicists do not yet completely understand just what most of the universe is made of.
Grand Yerkes! Ahhh, cooler weather at last… and while the sixth week of our North American adventure has yet to see us encounter a run on clear skies, we have gotten back out camping once again for the first time in six years. This week has seen us explore the great state of Wisconsin, from [...]
Observatories, old and new at Yerkes… All photos by author. This past week, we ventured into the crossroads of two future eclipses. Where will you be in 2017? Last week, we crossed paths with the upcoming total solar eclipse that will span the United States, now just over three years away. It’s not too early [...]
The Knoxville Sunsphere. All photos by the author. Well, week three on the road is now in progress, and the past week has seen us span from northern Georgia to eastern Tennessee. Unfortunately, weather hasn’t been our friend thus far during the trip, and while it is indeed cooler here in the Appalachian Mountains, it [...]
A properly ring’d Jupiter at the Wetherbee Planetarium in Albany, Georgia. Photo by Author. Summer’s here and our thoughts have turned northward. Our first full week of Dark Skies 2014 has seen us traverse the great state of Florida into the wilds of western Georgia. And never fear… we’re just entering dark sky territory now. [...]
The Hubble at the new Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center. (Photo by author). It has begun. Last week, we issued the preamble to all that is Dark Skies 2014. This week sees wheels a rollin’ with a quick stop over on the Florida Space Coast. A small step (for a) man, sure, and [...]
Astro-Lab, ready for departure… The first single step is almost upon us… Welcome to the brave new world of Astroguyz. Ever since we decided to “check out that blogging thing” seven years ago in May 2007, we’ve been about change. Sure, the web has changed and we’ve evolved along with it. This week, we’re taking [...]
Cepheid variable star RS Puppis. Credit: NASA/HST. It’s arguably one of the greatest questions in modern science. Where are they? Are we truly rare as an intelligent species, or does our brand of curiosity permeate the cosmos? We recently watched a fascinating presentation in the SETI Talks series by Tony Zee that brought up one [...]
Out May 20th! It’s out! One of the most prestigious awards in all of science fiction-dom is the annual Nebula Awards. Hey, Hollywood has the Oscars and the Grammys, and sci-fi has the Hugos and the Nebulas, as well as a scattering of other secondary awards. And every year around springtime, Pyr Books puts together [...]
Ah, tis the month of May. Perhaps April showers may bring May flowers, but here at Astroguyz HQ, it also marks the very precipice of science fiction movie blockbuster season. The X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man 2 are all on our must see list. Is Marvel about to rule the world? And keep [...]
Coming up this Wednesday. Credit: The Virtual Telescope Project. One of the most photogenic celestial events of the month occurs this Wednesday, as the waxing gibbous Moon meets the planet Saturn. And although this conjunction will be a near miss for most of the planet, observers in southern Australia and New Zealand will see the [...]
On sale now. Space is becoming a crowded place. In the past 50+ years, the environs of space around our fair planet have evolved, and the political and even legal landscape has struggled to keep up with it. This week’s review entitled Crowded Orbits: Conflict and Cooperation in Space by James Clay Moltz out from [...]
Astro-gear, old and new. It was one of the biggest blessings and curses as a teenager and astronomy enthusiast growing up in Northern Maine back in the pre-internet days of the 1980’s. An interest in astronomy – or any academic pursuit, for that matter – was largely a solitary affair, conducted mainly in a vacuum. [...]
It’s not the Death Star… firing up the laser at LIGO. Credit: NSF/LIGO, Used with permission. It has arrived. The search for gravitational waves is big news right now, and the hunt has heated up thanks to direct evidence for inflation in the early universe from the BICEP 2 project based in Antarctica. But there’s [...]
On sale now! What if? Is a great historical thought exercise to play. What if the Germans got the bomb first? What if Gettysburg had ended differently? Are we existing in some sort of strange alternate history now, and is there a reality in which Paris Hilton is the lizard-tailed President of the United States?
A simulation of the April 29th eclipse from 1 km above the Arctic. Created using Stellarium. This Tuesday, a “ring of fire” annular eclipse will occur that no human eye will witness. This is because the path of the April 29th annular eclipse only briefly touches down for just over 12 minutes over a remote [...]
On sale now. Quick, what was the most pivotal breakthrough of the 19th century? And no, it wasn’t “steampunk”… it was our understanding of electromagnetism, a breakthrough that fundamentally altered our civilization. Electric lights, refrigerators, hi-fis and blogging wouldn’t exist without it. This week’s review looks at the lives and times of two inventors and [...]
Our chart of the passage of Lambda Aquarii behind Venus on April 16th. Created using Stellarium. We love it when backyard observers rise to the challenge. We wrote recently about the prospects for catching the occultation of the +3.7 magnitude star Lambda Aquarii by the planet Venus on the morning of April 16th. Most occultations [...]
A scifi classic! Don’t mess with John Grimes, and don’t ever dare to call him a pirate. He prefers the term privateer, thank you very much. This week, we take a look at the very latest collection of tales of the Galactic Outer Rim by A. Bertram Chandler, collected in one volume for the first [...]
Totality! The April 15th 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse. (Photo by Author). Backyard astro-tech has certainly gotten much more sophisticated since we hand-sketched our first lunar eclipse as a kid back in the 1980’s. During this week’s total lunar eclipse, we thought we’d try our hand at live streaming the event. We’ve been a voracious consumer [...]
On sale now! Where did we come from as a species, and where is the party headed? What’s the expiration date for life on Earth, and just how common — or rare — are we? Those are the big questions in modern day science. This week’s review tackles the latest thinking concerning all of these [...]
Mars Odyssey as seen from Mars Global Surveyor in 2005. Credit: NASA An often overlooked but crucial mission celebrates its 13th full year in space today. On April 7th, 2001, a Delta II rocket lifted off into the late Florida morning from Cape Canaveral carrying the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Mars Odyssey was designed to study [...]
A time exposure of lunar totality shot on ye ole film. (Photo by Author). Eclipse season is neigh for 2014 this coming week, with the first of two total lunar eclipses for 2014. Lunar eclipses are always the big ticket astronomical events for any year, and the total lunar eclipse occurring on the night of [...]
Out on April 8th! If there’s one thing we love, it’s a non-stop space opera action adventure. Military science fiction has really come of its own over the past decades, as first popularized by Robert Heinlein and his classic Starship Troopers. But what of the soldiers themselves? And what of a world where soldiers are [...]
On your marks, get set, Messier Marathon! ‘Tis the season when it’s possible to hunt down all the 110 of the deep sky objects in Messier’s famous deep sky catalog in one night. We recently wrote about the potential for carrying out this feat of astronomical observation for 2014.
On sale now. So, you think you know maps? Author and historian Jerry Brotton will show you otherwise. This week’s review takes us through a fascinating trip back through history from an unusual perspective. A History of the World in 12 Maps looks at how we’ve perceived the surface of this planet we inhabit throughout [...]
The crew of Soyuz TMA-12M (Credit: NASA). The population of humans in space is about to increase by three tomorrow night, when Soyuz TMA-12M takes to skies over the Baikonur cosmodrome in a brilliant night launch. The launch is set to occur at 21:17 Universal Time (UT) or 5:17 PM EDT on Tuesday, March 25th [...]
Out this coming April. Ready for political intrigue? This week, we break tradition a bit from our usual review of science and science fiction books to journey back into the tie-dyed era of the early 1960s and a murder mystery that takes the reader into the darkened recesses of Washington politics.
Ahh, the month of March has arrived. A time of growth, renewal and taxes. Spring is in the air, although it may not feel it for those of you stranded in snowier climes. And yes, we do indeed realize that for folks down under in the southern hemisphere, the reverse is true, as this month [...]
Look! There it is! Credit-The Virtual Star Party. Now the story can be told. You just never know when the universe is going to dangle a discovery right in front of your eyes. We amateur astronomers often pride ourselves on being “visual athletes,” patient steely-eyed observers who let little slip by us. But we too [...]
The Moon approaches Lambda Geminorum (arrowed). The morning was damp with dew and the hour was late. I silently hoped for batteries and gear to hang on, and dared not jitter the scope or camera, for fear of bumping off kilter the perfect alignment of optics and settings that was now producing an exquisite image [...]
On sale now! America’s premier space pioneer has a vision for space exploration. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin has been there. A veteran of Gemini 12 and Apollo 11, Aldrin was the second man to walk on the Moon after Neil Armstrong and has since been a vocal proponent of manned space exploration. And it shows, in [...]
Staring into the heart of Sol… Credit: Fox TV. And so it begins…. Last night, the series premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey aired on Fox TV. The reboot of the popular documentary series had been years in the making, and has been one of the most anticipated events of 2014. Like many space enthusiasts, [...]