Astronomy magazine editors share their unique insight from behind the scenes of the science, hobby, and magazine.
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class, day 5

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
Supermassive Black Holes, Lasers, and Adaptive Optics….OH MY! By Maya Fitch and Sarah Deitrich On Day 6, we went to Macquarie University to hear a presentation by Dr. Richard McDermid, a lecturer and researcher at Macquarie University. Just the title sounded exciting: “Lighting the Dark – Weighing Supermassive Black Holes with Lasers.” What's a black hole? It's an object so compact that not even light can escape. Dr. McDermid told us that a "normal" black hole co...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class, day 4 and a half

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE BLAsT CLASS AT THE DISH: THE PARKES-NASA PARTNERSHIP By Tyler Coleman and Sandy Ackman As mentioned in our previous entry, we got a personal tour from John Sarkissian, an operations scientist at the Parkes Radio Telescope, but there was so much to do and see that we needed another entry to capture even part of it. If this telescope looks like a textbook radio telescope, that’s because it was so well-designed, effective, and durable that radio telescopes sin...
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Solar eclipse viewing in Orlando

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
The Orlando Science Center will be offering an eclipse viewing party to celebrate the first total solar eclipse in 99 years! Central Florida will experience 85% totality on August 21 and the Orlando Science Center is celebrating the day with presentations, demos, and more! There will be crafts and sensory activities available for the younger eclipse enthusiasts. Admission will also get viewers eclipse glasses and/or using the center's telescope filters.  The event will run from 1 p.m. - ...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class, Day 4

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
By Gaby Loredo and Diane Brewer On the 27th of July, we got the privilege to visit the Parkes Dish, a large single-dish, 64-meter radio telescope, and we were given a personal tour by Operations Scientist John Sarkissian. A radio telescope works in the radio wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum, picking up radio waves from distant space bodies. Unlike an optical telescope, a radio telescope does not receive visuals. Instead, the waves it receives are translated into intensity ma...
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Celebrate the solar eclipse with the Adler Planetarium

Posted 10 months ago by Alison Klesman
Located in Chicago, Illinois, along the scenic lakefront, the Adler Planetarium is the United States’ oldest planetarium and the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Although it’s a well-established institution, the Adler is also a forward-thinking and modern establishment focused on bringing the wonder of the skies down to Earth through engaging exhibits, science education promotion, and special events. The last time the Chicago area was in the path of a total solar eclip...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class, Day 3

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
ABORIGINAL SKY STORIES  By Benjamin Blume and Remey Shelton The Scottish-born Australian Dr. David McKinnon is a retired professor and astronomer who came and talked to us about Aboriginal sky stories and his work sharing astronomy with schoolchildren. We were honored to be the first group of people to hear the story of the Seven Sisters – what we call the Pleiades - from Senior Elder of the Wiradyuri Nation, Auntie Gloria Rogers, who is said to be related to the third sister. The ...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class, Day 2

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
  By Aliyah Mohammed and Cristal Hernandez The BLAsT Class welcomed Mr. Alex Massey as the first guest speaker. Alex Massey is an artist specializing in astronomical sketching. However, he is not your typical artist. He utilizes tools such as makeup brushes, chalk, and pencils to recreate beautiful celestial phenomenon. He started the night off by demonstrating the process of creating these images. He focuses first on capturing the “big picture,” and then adds layers...
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Guest blog: Bucket List Astronomy Class, Day 1

Posted 10 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
Introduction, by C. Renee James Crosby, Still, and Nash sang about the draw of the southern night sky. Seeing the Southern Cross for the first time sticks in your mind, as does witnessing the the richness of Australia's night sky. So when my colleague Scott Miller and I decided to anchor a traveling university astronomy class on the upcoming total eclipse - which we’ll see in Casper, Wyoming – we knew we had to find a way to show our students the glory of the southern sky ...
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Solar Eclipse Celebration party for Milwaukee residents

Posted 11 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
If you’re looking for a solar eclipse party in Milwaukee, look no further. Join other eclipse enthusiasts at the Solar Eclipse Celebration on August 21 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.  The party will run from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., with live music by the band The Belle Weather kicking off at 12:15 until 1:00, then resuming from 1:30 to 2:15. Eclipse viewing glasses will be available for purchase so you can be prepared for the 86% maximum visibility at 1:18 p.m. F...
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Milwaukee residents, prepare for the eclipse with this event

Posted 11 months ago by Nicole Kiefert
Wisconsin residents, come prepare for the 2017 solar eclipse with a new event at UWM!  The Manfred Olson Planetarium at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is hosting a special eclipse show for the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21. The show, called The Sun’s Disappearing Act, is being directed by Director Jean Creighton and Robin Mello from the Peck School of the Arts.  The show will be lead by UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium student staff members who will go over the history, c...
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Get ready for the Eclipse Across America

Posted 11 months ago by Alison Klesman
The Great American Eclipse is coming, and soon. Whether you read our website regularly or receive our magazine each month, you likely already know that we here at Astronomy are pretty excited — and we’re not the only ones. On July 13, CuriosityStream will premiere its newest series: Eclipse Across America. This four-episode series is designed to get you ready for the biggest astronomical event to hit the United States in 99 years. It’s also the only eclipse documentary that ...
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Help St. Louis students view the eclipse

Posted 11 months ago by Michael Bakich
I received this plea for funding support from one of the people behind observing activities for the August 21 total solar eclipse in the St. Louis area. I thought I'd share it with our readers. Background The St. Louis Eclipse Task Force has been working since 2014 to prepare the St. Louis region for the August 21 total solar eclipse. In 2016, the task force launched its “Solar Glasses for Kids” program with the goal of providing ISO certified solar glasses to as many students as p...
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Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: Toward the Future

Posted 11 months ago by Alison Klesman
I’m finally on my way home to Wisconsin from Santiago, Chile, by way of a connection in Dallas/Fort Worth. Our final morning in San Pedro was spent exploring otherworldly landscapes in the Valle de la Luna (otherwise known as the Valley of the Moon), which ranged from huge, untouched sand dunes to literal pillars of salt and hills rich with sparkling gypsum. The drive back to the airport in Calama was beautiful, and our final dinner in Santiago following the flight back was full of livel...
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Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: ALMA Day 2

Posted 11 months ago by Alison Klesman
Saturday morning, the ACEAP ambassadors dutifully forewent their coffee in preparation for the physical required to visit the “high site” at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Observatory. The Array Operations Site, or AOS, is located about 16,700 feet (5,000 meters) above sea level – which is why there’s a short physical required prior to ascending. This site is where the 66 radio dishes and the correlator that processes the signals they receive ar...
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Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: ALMA Day 1

Posted 11 months ago by Alison Klesman
This will be a quick post for a couple of reasons – the main one being that tomorrow, we’re headed up to tour the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Array Operations Site (AOS) above 16,000 feet, and we’ve all been told to get a good night’s sleep to ensure we pass the physical required to go that high. We landed in Calama yesterday afternoon and drove the rest of the way to San Pedro de Atacama, which is beautiful (if dry) and sunny. This morning, the...
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Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: Santiago & La Serena

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
It’s been a busy week so far in Chile! But first, a little more background: Why am I here in the Southern Hemisphere? I’m participating in ACEAP: the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program, supported by the National Science Foundation and run via a collaboration of Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), and Gemini Observatory.  This unique program has several interlocki...
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Celestron's June issue of Astronomy Insights is available!

Posted one year ago by Nicole Kiefert
The June issue of Astronomy Insights is now available online. Insights is a digital supplement brought to readers by Celestron.  This 10-page issue of Insights covers the upcoming August 21, 2017 "Great American" eclipse. This issue features helpful articles to prepare for the big day, including: 5 things to do to get the most of the eclipse, 10 things to do on eclipse day, solar eclipse geometry, eclipse patterns, and tips to view the eclipse safely. You can find this month's issue he...
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Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program: We're Here!

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
My first day in Chile has been a busy one so far. After a slightly delayed flight (which, for me, is pretty much par for the course), we touched down in rainy Santiago about seven and a half hours later around 8:30am. Customs wasn’t a difficult process, and soon I’d found my luggage and my driver and was off to our hotel. Of course, I made the mistake of sitting on the bed “for a few minutes” after checking in – I’m glad I set an alarm, because soon it was ...
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Lowell Observatory is hosting an eclipse event in Madras, Oregon

Posted one year ago by Nicole Kiefert
The two day event is packed with presentations, star parties, and more.  The Lowell Observatory is hosting an educational event for the total solar eclipse August 20 and 21 in Madras, Oregon. The event, called the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience, will include presentations, a star party, science demonstrations, and, of course, viewing the eclipse.  The activities will be held on the football field at Madras High School and the Madras Performing Arts Center. The festivitie...
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Asteroid Shatner is now officially part of our solar system

Posted one year ago by Michael Bakich
Someone once said, "Good things come to those who wait." And I now can announce that a very good thing has happened, indeed: the Minor Planet Center (MPC) has officially named an asteroid for William Shatner. Shatner (31556) also goes by the moniker 1999 EP5. (Actually, the 5 is a subscript, but I don't know how to create one in this blogging software.) Roy A. Tucker, who operates Goodricke-Pigott Observatory, discovered this minor planet March 13, 1999. That date was the 69th anniversary of th...
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The 230th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: Wednesday & Thursday

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
For me, the last two days of this year’s spring AAS meeting seemed to narrow in on both the future and the past of astronomy. From confirmation of quintessential theories to a look back over the ground astronomers have covered in a relatively short time, the talks I attended were both enlightening and encouraging.  Wednesday morning marked the final press conference of the meeting. It was at this conference that Kailash Sahu of the Space Telescope Science Institute announced the fi...
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The 230th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: Tuesday

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
Tuesday at the AAS was a trip through a number of different astronomical fields, from stars to galaxies and back to the solar system we call home. The day kicked off with a press conference on “inconstant stars.” Rodolfo Montez from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory spoke about work charting R Aquarii’s X-ray jets. The R Aquarii system contains a white dwarf and a red giant star, whose “volatile stellar relationship” has resulted in a breathtaking nebula ...
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The 230th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society: Monday

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
This week marks the 230th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, currently taking place in Austin, Texas. It’s been a busy first few days. I’ve had to pick and choose between simultaneous sessions once or twice, but I haven’t been disappointed in the least by any of the fantastic talks I’ve attended so far. My Monday morning began with an exciting press conference covering recent discoveries in the field of black holes (a subject near and dear to my heart, I adm...
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Sidewalk astronomy club leader is heading to Chile

Posted one year ago by Nicole Kiefert
The group is working to get younger generations interested in STEM education. A new kind of astronomy group is popping up all over the country. The group, called #popscope, is a public astronomy project run by volunteers who take science to the streets to get the community and youth involved. The volunteers are taking the pop-up telescope method around to promote STEM education in public spaces and to get the community more invested in science. One of those #popscope volunteers, Ariel Hicks,...
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The Adler Planetarium celebrates women in space science and STEM education in a full-day special event

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
Last Thursday, May 11, the Women’s Board of the Adler Planetarium hosted their 15th annual Women in Space Science Award Celebration. This day-long event began with an award ceremony honoring a unique and accomplished woman in the field of space science and exploration, then culminated in an afternoon STEM workshop for local Chicago schoolgirls. I had the pleasure of attending the celebration, which this year honored Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Interiors Program Manager and Chief Astron...
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Testing Equipment for the Eclipse Megamovie

Posted one year ago by Michael Bakich
This guest blog comes to us from Juan Carlos Martínez Oliveros. I see the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, as a great opportunity for scientific developments, and a unique opportunity for scientists and the public to work together to make awesome discoveries. Just knowing approximately how many people will see this event and that in many ways each member of the public will be a scientist (at least for a day) fills me with energy. That’s why I’m honored to be part of th...
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Celestron's April issue of Astronomy insights is now available!

Posted one year ago by Nicole Kiefert
  The February 2017 issue of Astronomy Insights is available online.  Insights is a digital supplement brought to readers by Celestron. This 10-page issue of Insights is specifically about Orion and the deep-sky treasures you can find within it. Learn more about the fascinating nebulas in the sky and see stunning pictures this this month's issue of Astronomy Insights. You can find it here.   ...
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Join the hunt for dark matter with CuriosityStream's new film

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
Dark matter is a term that elicits both curiosity and confusion. First posited in the 1930s, the case for dark matter has grown in the ensuing decades, as measurements consistently found that galaxies were forming and moving as if they had more mass than was visible. This invisible mass was dubbed, naturally, “dark matter,” because it neither absorbs nor gives off light. Astronomers now believe that dark matter is the substance that gives the universe structure, guiding “no...
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All along the eclipse path

Posted one year ago by Michael Bakich
A week ago, Michael Zeiler, owner of GreatAmericanEclipse.com, sent me something outlandish. Something eccentric. Something amazing: a 50-foot-long map that charts the path of the Moon’s shadow during the August 21 total solar eclipse. Zeiler had produced a much (much!) smaller version for sale. And although most people into astronomy generally think of him as the eclipse map guru, his actual job is as a technical writer at the Environmental Systems Research Institute. There, he helped de...
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Miniverse: Bringing the solar system down to Earth

Posted one year ago by Alison Klesman
We all know space is vast — but how vast is vast? When it comes to the solar system, everyday units of measurement such as inches, feet, and miles become too small to realistically measure the distance between planets. For example, the average distance between Earth and the Sun is nearly 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers). You likely have a hard time really picturing 93,000,000 miles, but can you picture 2,680? That’s easy — just picture the United States! 2,680 miles...

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