April 1, 2020

Astronomy Video of the Week: Chasing Barnard’s Star

Speedy Barnard’s Star. Click here for the animation.

Credit: The Virtual Telescope Project

Double wow.

When it comes to stellar motion, the pattern of constellations you see tonite will look pretty much the same on the day that you die as they appeared on the day you were born. Sure, we’re all whizzing around the core of the Milky Way Galaxy with our stellar neighbors, but the distances between the stars is so vast, that this motion (known as apparent or proper motion) is tiny from year to year. [Read more...]

The Strange Realms of 70 Ophiuchi.

In early 2011, astronomers “discovered”¯ a constellation. Well, not exactly; but if you were to believe the media, the “13th sign”¯ of the zodiac was a new one, at least to them. Hey, non-event it may be, but it was fun to see Ophiuchus trend, as folks pondered the realm of the serpent bearer and wondered exactly what the horoscope of a person born under such an arcane sign could be. The truth is that the Sun has been known to past through 13 constellations since the boundaries of the 88 modern constellations were formalized by the International Astronomical Union in 1922, and the Moon can appear in 18 of them! (Can you name the 6 non-zodiacal signs?) [Read more...]