May 28, 2017

July 2013-Life in the AstroBlogosphere: Who’s Who in the AstroTwitterverse

Astrophoto-shoot take 2;

note inclusion of AstroLab!

Recently, we wrote up an article on The New Social Face of Astronomy for the August 2013 issue of Sky &Telescope. Among the many cyber-corners and crannies of ye ole Internet that we explored was the world of Twitter. Twitter is a great source of fast breaking information, tailor made for certain aspects of astronomy such as meteorite falls, satellite reentries, new comet discoveries and nova flare-ups. [Read more...]

Astro-Event: Of Meteor Showers & Near Earth Asteroids.

Toutatis near Aldebaran on December 19th.

It’s a shooting gallery out there. As the scarred surface of our Moon attests, the inner solar system is routinely criss-crossed by comets and asteroids that would do our precious niche of the universe harm.

[Read more...]

Astro-Event-Perseid Weekend: “It’s Raining Meteors!”

How ‘bout that sky-crane landing Curiosity made on Mars, huh? Over a ton of the finest in human science engineering all moving from 3.6 miles per second to stationary on the surface of Mars in seven minutes flat. It must’ve truly lit up the Martian atmosphere for any would-be Martians on the ground… [Read more...]

AstroEvent: The Geminids Round Out 2011.

2011 has been quite a year, both terrestrial and otherwise. This week sees the last of the big scheduled astronomical happenings of the year in the form of the Geminid meteor shower. This shower is one of the yearly standbys along with the Perseids that are always sure to produce. The Geminids have a long peak centered on the morning of December 14th when an idealized Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of up to 120 meteors per hour may be seen. Problems will arise, however, from an 82% illuminated waning gibbous Moon in the adjacent constellation of Cancer. Rising roughly around 10PM local on the night of the peak, this makes for the worst possible Moon phase as it’ll be high and bright in the early AM hours, just as the meteor shower is getting into high gear. But as always, I wouldn’t let that stop you from looking! To use a rough sports analogy, you’ll see zero meteors if you do not try.

Moon path and position on the 14th. (Created by author is Starry Night & Paint).

This shower is also unique in that its source isn’t a comet, but an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon. The first asteroid discovered by a spacecraft, namely the Infrared Astronomical Satellite in 1983, there’s a fair amount of conjecture as to exactly what 3200 Phaethon is; is it a true Palladian-type asteroid or an inactive comet nucleus? [Read more...]

Astro-Event: Will the 2011 Perseids Perform?

A classic summer astronomical standby may be in trouble this year, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking. That’s right, we’re talking about the Perseids, the “old faithful” of meteor showers that gets northern hemisphere residents bundled up and out under the summer stars every mid-August.

[Read more...]