June 29, 2017

Review: Miss Leavitt’s Stars by George Johnson.

An outstanding read!

Sometimes, the greatest discoveries in astronomy can come from those willing to interpret the data in a new way. Just such a paradigm shifting discovery was the result of the diligent work of one Henrietta Swan Leavitt, the subject of a biography by George Johnson which in turn is the topic of this weeks’ review, Miss Leavitt’s Stars out from Norton/Atlas Books. [Read more...]

AstroChallenge: Beta Monocerotis: A True Triple.

Beta Monocerotis: A finder chart. (Created by Author in StarryNight & Paint).

This week, we’d like to turn your attention towards an interesting object in an often overlooked constellation; Monceros. Sandwiched between the flashier constellations of Orion and Canis Major, this rambling constellation sports an interesting multiple star that should be part of your spring repertoire; Beta Monocerotis. [Read more...]

Review: How Old is the Universe? By David A. Weintraub.

Out from Princeton Press.

Probably the toughest questions an astronomer ever has to field with the public are those in cosmology. How old/how big/how far are truly mind bending questions, and difficult to explain to the average man on the street in sound-bite style. This week, we look at David Weintraub’s latest, How Old is the Universe? out by Princeton Press. Fans of this site will remember our review of Is Pluto a Planet? also by Mr. Weintraub a few years back. [Read more...]

Astro-Event: A Very Old Moon Pairs with Venus.

As viewed from North America the moring of Novenebr 5th. (Created by the author in Starry Night).

As viewed from North America the morning of November 5th. (Created by the author in Starry Night).

 

     This week’s astronomy challenge ties in two potential visual challenges: sighting a very slender crescent Moon and a daylight occultation of Venus. A grouping of the next two brightest objects in the sky after the Sun is always a treat; the challenge comes from the fact that the celestial pairing will be very close to a brightening dawn horizon. Venus just passed inferior conjunction on October 28th; it will sport a 2% illuminated crescent about 60” seconds in size at magnitude -4.2. The Moon, meanwhile, will be about 1% illuminated and reaches New on November 6th at 04:52 Universal Time. [Read more...]