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Astronomy

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula

The Summer Triangle, a large triangle of bright stars (Deneb, Vega, and Altair), lies straight overhead on September evenings in the United States. Delphinus, Sagitta, and Vulpecula all lie in or...

In Our Skies, September 2021, Viewing Neptune

In Our Skies, September 2021, Viewing Neptune

Just after sunset the night of September 14, the planet Mercury will be visible in the western sky just above the horizon. While it is only 26.8° from the Sun and, therefore, close to the horizon,...

The Unequal Equinox

The Unequal Equinox

I’ve heard it’s possible to balance an egg, or even a broom, on its end on the date of the equinox. There’s a good chance you’ve heard the same thing. It sounds incredible, but it’s true.There’s...

To Photograph the Milky Way

To Photograph the Milky Way

The foundational element in achieving spectacular night photographs is the proper equipment. Most lenses will capture stars, but many do not capture them well. You want a lens that will shoot wide...

Sagittarius

Sagittarius

Sagittarius, the Archer, lies straight above the southern horizon on August evenings at mid-northern latitudes. The band of the Milky Way runs through the western part of Sagittarius; in fact, the...

Comet-dust Streaks

Comet-dust Streaks

I turned over from my back to my side. My husband was soundly asleep beside me, and yet I couldn’t drop off. Suddenly, a thought awakened me even farther. This was August 11, and I had read earlier...

Scorpius

Scorpius

Scorpius, the Scorpion, is one of the most distinctive constellations in the night sky. On July evenings, it sits just above the southern horizon at mid-northern latitudes. Antares, the brightest...

In Our Skies, July 2021, Venus and Mars Conjunction

In Our Skies, July 2021, Venus and Mars Conjunction

Throughout July, Venus and Mars will be visible low in the west just after sunset. The planets will start and end the month a little distance from each other, but on the evening of July 12, they...

Planetary Nebulas

Planetary Nebulas

Have you ever wondered why the area at the back of your elbow is nicknamed the “funny bone”? For starters, it’s really not a bone. It’s the Ulnar nerve. and when you bump it, it’s not funny at all!...

Western Hydra

Western Hydra

Hydra represented a water snake to the ancient Greeks. Like a snake, this constellation is long, narrow, and squiggly. Hydra is the largest constellation in the sky, its form stretching about 75°...

The 2017 Solar Eclipse

The 2017 Solar Eclipse

One ordinary day, I noticed a Nature Friend magazine from March 2017 lying on the couch. I picked it up and started flipping through it. I soon noticed the article by Kevin Shank, “Story Starter for...

Sequoias, Sentinel, and Stars

Sequoias, Sentinel, and Stars

A Mariposa Grove shuttle bus unhurriedly wound its way up the wooded hillside from Yosemite National Park’s southern gate to the famed Mariposa Grove. It paused for a minute to let us and at least...

In Our Skies, March 2021, Lyrid Meteor Shower

As long as the sky is clear, there’s rarely a bad time to be out under the stars. A telescope or even a binocular can reveal scores of galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters, if you know just where to...

The Great Conjunction: Saturn and Jupiter

The Great Conjunction: Saturn and Jupiter

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Photo © Morris Yoder. Jupiter and Saturn appear to pass each other in the sky about once every twenty years. When this happens, astronomers call it a great...