December 13, 2017

Astro-Event: See Mercury at its Best.

Looking east the morning of December 3rd an hour before dawn.

(Created by the Author in Starry Night).

By now, you’ve no doubt been thrilled by last week’s dramatic passage of Venus and Saturn in the dawn sky. Well, as the old Late-night TV ad cliché says, “But wait, there’s more…”

Fresh off of inferior conjunct and a near transit of the Sun that missed the solar limb by less than 8’ minutes on November 17th, the planet Mercury joins the pair for a stunning gathering. [Read more...]

Astro-Event: A Meteoric Weekend!

We bring you this week’s installment of the astronomy event of the week a few days early to get “eyeballs on the sky” for the first good meteor shower of spring 2012. The Lyrids, generally a lesser shower with rates around 10 per hour, may just be worth watching out for this year. [Read more...]

Astro-Event: Catching a Good Meteor Shower on a Bad Year.

This week’s astro-event holds a special place in our lifetime of observing memories. In 1998, we deployed to Kuwait (a definite switch of scenery!) from our home station of Eielson AFB, Alaska during an escalation with Iraq that was to become Operation Desert Fox. But to this day, what has stuck in many airmen’s minds including my own was not the brush with combat, but seeing the 1998 Leonid meteors from a dark sky site. [Read more...]

Astro-Events: Of Comets and Meteor Showers.

Locating the Orionid radiant; (Photo/graphic by Author).

Early October saw one for the record books, as the obscure Draconid meteors put on a show for northern hemisphere observers topping a zenithal hourly rate of 338 ±15 per hour centered on October 8th, 20:04 UT. While not quite approaching storm levels, that’s the most impressive showing we’ve had from any meteor shower yet this century… the Draconids may produce once again in October 2018, and then we’ll have to wait ‘til the early 2030’s for the Leonids to ramp up again… incidentally, the Leonids, Draconids and the long defunct Andromedids are some of the only meteor showers that have historically approached storm intensity, usually informally defined as a ZHR ?1,000. [Read more...]

AstroEvent of the Week: 22.06.09: Will the June Bootids Perform?

This weeks’ event is a total wild card. Most years, the meteor shower known as the June Bootids warrants nary a second thought, as rates tend to hover around 10 per hour on or around the morning of June 27th. However, this shower is notoriously unpredictable; showers in 1998, 2004 and even as far back as 1916 have produced outbursts in excess of 100 per hour. Predictions this year run the gamut; no large swarm is forecast to intersect the Earth’s orbit, favoring instead 2010.

[Read more...]

Family Backyard Stargazing

We here at Astroguyz firmly believe that astronomy begins in the home.

During warm summer nights, simple star gazing can be a fun family event or a fuss free date. Many think that astronomy involves expensive astronomical equipment and Carl Sagan-like knowledge of the stars; [Read more...]