April 2, 2020

In Search of Latitude 0°:Between Hemispheres in Ecuador!

Many folks flock to what they presume is the Earth’s equator just north of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city at Mitad del Mundo. They are greeted by egg-balancers, mariachi bands, and all manner of methods to separate the credulous from their money, but alas, not science. There seems to be something about latitude 0 degrees that makes people just throw common sense to the wind. [Read more...]

The Oldest Observatory in South America.

An undiscovered astronomical gem sits in the downtown heart of Quito, Ecuador. Amid the high altitude urban bustle stands the Quito Observatory, a three turreted victorian style complex in triangular La Alameda park. Built in 1875, this observatory now serves as a recently reopened museum and weather station, and is  still occassionally utilized for public outreach on clear evenings.

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Astro-Challenge:The Magellanic Clouds.

Ah…the southern hemisphere has all the good stuff. As we here at Astroguyz dip below the equator for the fifth time on a trip to Ecuador, we thought we’d include an old friend and a unique celestial pairing that most people have never seen. The Magellanic clouds are actually small satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way; the Large Magellanic cloud (LMC) is at a distance of 160,000 light years and contains about 10 billion stars, while the Small Magellanic cloud (SMC) is at a distance of 200,000 light years and weighs in at 7 billion solar masses.

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Astro-event of the Week, March 16th-22nd, 2009: The Spring Equinox.

This week’s astro-event is an abstract meeting of the ecliptic and the equator; the spring, or vernal equinox, occurs on Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 07:44 EDT. This is an interesting time to watch the true rising and setting positions of the Sun, as they are directly east and west, respectively, for observers world wide.

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