Astronomy

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...