Category Archives: astronomy

Reflections of an Eclipse

Snappy title, huh? Actually, it should be, “Using a Mirror to View the Total Solar Eclipse,” but I thought that a bit dry. (Image of the McMath Pierce Heliostat mirror at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF ) If … Continue reading

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Getting Past the Eclipse Hype

Considering the absurd level of hype and some of the more ridiculous exaggerations and crackpot  claims of mystical silliness, I am sorry to say that I will be glad when the whole thing is over. Eclipses are amazing and beautiful. … Continue reading

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The Last Total Solar Eclipse in the USA

I have seen references several times lately online, including an article in Popular Science, stating that the last total solar eclipse visible from the United States was in 1918. This is simply not true. There have been several total eclipses … Continue reading

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Einstein and Eddington

We had a free week of HBO so we decided to check out a couple of movies. The first was Einstein and Eddington, a BBC/HBO docu-drama about the relationship between Big Al (more appropriately, “Al Who?” at the time) and … Continue reading

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Never to poke your ear with your elbow

Trying to view the Moon tonight (Monday, March 27, 2017) would be like trying to poke your ear with your elbow — you can’t do it and it would not be very bright if you tried. You see, the Moon … Continue reading

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Vesper Shines in the Evening Sky

Any clear night through early March, look to the western sky shortly after it gets dark. You can’t miss that extremely bright “star.” Some have mistaken it for the landing lights of an incoming plane, and in the past it … Continue reading

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How’s Your Altitude (and Azimuth)?

Astronomers use several different coordinate systems to specify the location of objects in the heavens. Some are useful for use with small telescopes, but can be hard to visualize. The oldest and simplest, called Altitude and Azimuth, is no longer … Continue reading

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