Dave Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine and science popularizer, brings you thoughts about astronomy, cosmology, nature, the hobby of astronomy, the sometimes disturbingly pseudoscientific culture we live in, and more.
0

Sheldon Reynolds Earth, Wind & Fire contest!

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Well, I’m back. Last week I was not only home for a couple days, hit with the virus that has cycled through most of Astronomy’s staff, but at the office I also was entangled with a variety of special projects. Now I am back online to blog and blog and blog some more. Today I’m proud to announce an online contest in conjunction with a great friend of the magazine, the Grammy-nominated musician Sheldon Reynolds. Sheldon is a years-long astronomy hobbyist and astroimager who beca...
2

James Kevin Ty nails the great sunspot group

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
First of all, let me apologize for taking a couple days off from blogging. I have had a flurry of projects this week, including one that is huge and last minute for the January issue of the magazine. Now that I’ve caught my breath on those special things, back to the norm . . . This morning I saw a beautiful photo of the great sunspot group 1302 presently visible that Philippine astroimager James Kevin Ty posted on my Facebook page. It is such a magnificent image that I felt it needed to b...
1

Huge solar activity portends auroral displays

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Enormous storms on the Sun are creating great opportunities for solar viewing and imaging by amateur astronomers as they watch a monster sunspot group (1302), which is now visible to the naked eye. A significant explosion from the Sun’s corona occurred Saturday morning, September 24, and is making the possibility of tremendous auroral displays very real. Impacts have arrived in Earth’s geomagnetic field, and the huge coronal mass ejection (CME) observed over the weekend means that pe...
1

University of Delaware students capture M101 supernova

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Happy beginning of the week to you; some surprises coming up starting tomorrow — stay tuned. Today I am sharing a lovely image of the galaxy M101 in Ursa Major shot by astronomy students of the University of Delaware at Mount Cuba Observatory, near Greenville. Judi Provencal of the University of Delaware’s physics department sent the pic, which shows the galaxy’s nucleus, spiral arms, and the brilliant supernova the galaxy has recently sported (the brightest star below the gala...
0

Florida's upcoming "Discover the Universe" star party

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Welcome to Friday! Let’s hope that none of us is hit by pieces of an infalling satellite today. I want to let you know about a major star party event coming in 2 weeks that is being put on by Astronomy magazine Contributing Editor Mike Reynolds and his team of folks at Florida State College. Sponsored by the Astronomy Foundation (of which Mike is a director), Astronomy magazine, Explore Scientific, Florida State College, and the Northeast Florida Astronomical Society, the event will take p...
0

John Chumack does it again — Moon meets Pleiades

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Dayton, Ohio, astroimager John Chumack has a way of capturing one cool astroimage after another, and he’s done it again by sending this neat shot of the Moon and the Pleiades star cluster. As John puts it, “It can be a real challenge to shoot anything deep-sky when it is near the bright glow of the Moon. But I was able to process through the Moon’s bright glow to show the waning gibbous phase, instead of just the usual overexposed white blob!” John used a Canon Rebel Xsi ...
0

Astronomy magazine’s Astronomy Foundation page — and downloadable brochure

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
I’ve mentioned the Astronomy Foundation a few times in my blogs — it’s the 2-year-old organization of telescope industry folks who want to encourage a new generation of people to discover amateur astronomy. I happen to be president of the group now through the spring of 2013 and, as such, have created an area on Astronomy.com that will be devoted to Astronomy Foundation topics and content. To check it out, please see www.astronomy.com/astronomyfoundation. Just today, Ass...
1

Sizzling hot image of the week: Rust orange Moon

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Florida astroimager Pete Lardizabal shot this beautiful image of the orange Moon he observed about 9° above the eastern horizon near Jacksonville, Florida, at 8:52 p.m. EDT on September 13, 2011. The extreme orange color seen in the area was due to smoke particles from a large smoldering fire in southern Georgia. “It’s rather unusual to see this intense coloration in concert with relative clarity of the captured image,” writes Lardizabal. He used an Astro-Physics ...
0

Guest blog: From Star Hustler to Star Gazers, by Dean Regas

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Welcome to my 100th blog! This is a day for anniversaries: 100 blogs and 29 years to the day since I joined the staff of Astronomy magazine! And to celebrate, I am taking the day off. Instead of writing something original, I am presenting you with a guest blog by Astronomy magazine contributor, Cincinnati Observatory Center astronomer, and TV’s new Star Gazer, Dean Regas. Dean has written a nice account of the TV show that he is taking the helm of now, remembering the late Jack Horkhe...
0

Guest blog: A Cosmic Palette, Part 2, by Benjamin Palmer

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
You’ve heard before from 16-year-old Benjamin Palmer of Queensbury, New York, an enthusiastic astronomy buff who won Astronomy magazine’s Youth Essay Contest this year and also serves as chair of the Youth Committee for the Astronomy Foundation. Benjamin has written an essay on astronomy and art, and I think you’ll enjoy reading it immensely. What follows is part two; the first part appeared in my blog yesterday. Enjoy!A Cosmic Palette:Astronomy’s Unique Impact on Post-Im...
0

Guest blog: A Cosmic Palette, Part 1, by Benjamin Palmer

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
You’ve heard before from 16-year-old Benjamin Palmer of Queensbury, New York, an enthusiastic astronomy buff who won Astronomy magazine’s Youth Essay Contest this year and also serves as chair of the Youth Committee for the Astronomy Foundation. Benjamin has written an essay on astronomy and art, and I think you’ll enjoy reading it immensely. The first part follows; part two will come tomorrow. Enjoy!A Cosmic Palette: Astronomy’s Unique Impact on Post-Impressionism &ld...
0

Monster sunspot imaged by John Chumack

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Check out this huge sunspot captured by astroimager John Chumack in Dayton, Ohio, September 12. It is a striking image of our Sun, the source of all our energy in the solar system, the entity that makes life possible on our planet, and the nuclear engine that will ultimately wipe out life on Earth another 600 or 800 million years from now when the oceans boil away. There’s a positive thought for a Tuesday, huh?! John shot the image, which he describes as “kind of looking like Leo or ...
2

Astronomy at the Beach: A model skygazing outreach event

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of being asked to come to Astronomy at the Beach near Detroit, Michigan, the 15th annual public star party put on by seven different astronomy clubs in the metro area. Despite the fact that I was in Green Bay for the Packers-Saints game on Thursday night (and arrived back home at 2 a.m. Friday), I was a good guy and got up, made my flight, and was Detroit-bound by 10 a.m. John Schroer of the Detroit Science Center was the contact person who asked m...
1

On the road: Astronomy at the Beach

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
For the 15th year in a row this weekend, the seven astronomy clubs in the Detroit, Michigan, metro area are sponsoring Astronomy at the Beach, an observing event held at Maple Beach at the Kensington Metropark near Brighton, Michigan, northwest of the city. It will feature nighttime observing, solar observing, astronomy-themed movies, activities for kids, talks by scientists and amateur astronomers, planetarium presentations, and laser tours of the sky that will delight hundreds of people who co...
1

Supernova in M101 imaged by Tom Bash

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
As first I described on Friday, August 26, a type Ia supernova discovered on Wednesday, August 24, in the nearby galaxy M101 in Ursa Major is the nearest type Ia supernova astronomers have found since 1972. The brightness of this exploding star is on the rise and now shines at about 10th magnitude, presumably near maximum. On Saturday, August 27, Tom Bash shot this fine portrait of M101 and its supernova at the Julian Starfest in Julian, California. He used a Celestron HD-11 on a CGEM-DX mount,...
1

Sizzling hot image of the week: van den Bergh 142

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Few astroimagers have the kind of history and spectacular results as Tony Hallas, contributing editor to Astronomy magazine and experienced skyshooter. For years, Tony has pioneered shooting deep-sky objects in color, and his recent image of the dark nebula van den Bergh 142 is one of the greats. Located in the heart of IC 1396, a fantastic emission nebula in Cepheus, this nebula is visible with large amateur scopes on very dark nights. Amazingly, Hallas shot this image during Full Moon from For...
4

Close encounters of the cometary kind

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Several of you who were at star parties over the past few days commented to me about how cool it was to see Comet Garradd slide past the rich globular cluster M71 in Sagitta, a close encounter that occurred on the evening of Saturday, August 27. C/2009 P1 (Garradd), as it’s officially known, was discovered by Australian astronomer Gordon Garradd and has been making a show in the evening sky, currently shining at magnitude 8.2 and well-placed for observing. The energetic Ohio astroimager Jo...
1

Supernova in M101 imaged by Kevin Boucher

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
As first I described on Friday that a supernova discovered on Wednesday, August 24, in the nearby galaxy M101 in Ursa Major is the nearest type Ia supernova astronomers have found since 1972. The brightness of this exploding star is on the rise, and it could be visible in binoculars within a week or so. On Monday evening, August 29, Kevin Boucher of the Aldrich Astronomical Society Imaging Group in Massachusetts shot this fine portrait of M101 and its supernova. “There wasn’t a lot ...
1

Supernova in M101 imaged by Jimmy Westlake

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
As I first described on Friday, a supernova discovered August 24 in the nearby galaxy M101 in Ursa Major is the nearest type Ia supernova astronomers have found since 1972. The brightness of this exploding star is on the rise, and it could be visible in binoculars within a week or so. Yesterday, Jimmy Westlake, a professor of astronomy at Colorado Mountain College in Alpine (and a longtime astroimager), sent these “before and after” images of the supernova, which now hovers aro...
0

Supernova in M101 imaged by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
  As I described on Friday, a type Ia supernova discovered Wednesday, August 24, in the nearby galaxy M101 in Ursa Major is the nearest type Ia supernova astronomers have found since 1972. The brightness of this exploding star is on the rise, and it could be visible in binoculars within a week or so. Late on Friday, our good friend Anthony Ayiomamitis in Greece, a superb astroimager, sent his latest picture of the galaxy and its attendant supernova, which is reproduced here. Anthony shot ...
5

HOT NEWS! Supernova in M101 could be visible in binoculars

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
A type Ia supernova discovered Wednesday, August 24, in the nearby galaxy M101 in Ursa Major is the nearest type Ia supernova astronomers have found since 1986. The brightness of this exploding star is on the rise, and it could be visible in a 6-inch telescope within a week or so. Astronomers at the Palomar Transient Factory project on California’s Palomar Mountain discovered the supernova using the Oschin Schmidt telescope at Palomar Mountain Observatory. The supernova is designated SN 2...
1

Cool video of Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
As East Coast residents prepare to be hammered by Hurricane Irene, check out this amazing video of the storm shot yesterday from 230 miles (370 kilometers) above Earth’s surface by the crew of the International Space Station. The movie shows the storm as it washed over the Bahamas at about 3:10 p.m. EDT on August 24, 2011. Irene is currently moving northwest and is classified as a Category 3 storm, with winds of 120 mph (193 km/h). It is heading toward North Carolina’s Outer Banks a...
1

John Chumack nails Comet Garradd

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
There’s a reasonably bright comet in the sky right now — Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd), discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Gordon Garradd. The comet is now visible through binoculars and small telescopes, an evening object glowing at around magnitude 8, and showing a nice, intense, bright green coma. The comet is in the tiny constellation Sagitta in the summer Milky Way, and will continue to be visible for some time to come. Astronomy magazine contributor John Chumack captured ...
0

Sizzling hot image of the week: Heckathorn-Fesen-Gull 1

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Rarely do you get a look at a planetary nebula that’s this old. The endgame for Sun-like stars, planetary nebulae — so named because many years ago their disks appeared like planets in the eyepiece — are clouds of gas slowly dissipating into surrounding space. They’re one of the methods the universe uses for its stellar recycling program. Noted astroimager Don Goldman recently captured an amazing planetary nebula, Heckathorn-Fesen-Gull 1. What sounds like the first case o...
0

How young people can influence astronomical research — part two

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Today I’m sharing part two of a guest story by 16-year-old Benjamin Palmer of Queensbury, New York (you can find part one here) . Benjamin is an active amateur astronomer, won this year’s Astronomy magazine Youth Essay Contest, and is chair of a committee on Youth in Astronomy for the Astronomy Foundation.* * * *Surfing the web, surfing the cosmosAs the Internet has expanded over the decades, a novel breed of observers has emerged. These individuals depend not on eyepieces, filters, ...
0

How young people can influence astronomical research — part one

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Today I’m sharing part one of a guest story by 16-year-old Benjamin Palmer, of Queensbury, New York. Benjamin is an active amateur astronomer, won this year’s Astronomy magazine Youth Essay Contest, and is chair of a committee on Youth in Astronomy for the Astronomy Foundation. Please enjoy the first part of this great article written by Benjamin, with the conclusion to come tomorrow. * * * *When pondering the mystique of the cosmos, one unequivocal truth prevails: The only thing cer...
0

How you can help save the next space telescope

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
I’m sure most of you are well aware of the danger the James Webb Space Telescope faces from Congressional budget cutting. Now is the time to rise to action to save JWST, which represents the next generation of our exploration of the distant universe. Here is an informational email from the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that suggests how you can get involved now to help the future of astronomy and science. Please read it and take action. It is all up to you. JWST: What Can We Do Now?...
0

More Perseids from Ohio

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
A few days ago, I shared an image of some Perseid meteors captured by John Chumack at his observatory near Dayton, Ohio. Although the Moon was very close to Full and, therefore, the conditions hardly ideal this year, observers did catch quite a few Perseids over the past several days, and I hope you were one of them. I have the pleasure of sharing another image of John's, this one taken August 12, when he captured more than 100 meteors. For more on John's astroimaging, see http://www.g...
0

A new phase for the Astronomy Outreach Foundation

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
Many of you are familiar with the telescope industry’s first trade association, the Astronomy Outreach Foundation, which was created in late 2009 to spread interest in astronomy, especially to younger folks. The group has recently undergone a reorganization. Now named simply the Astronomy Foundation (AF), the organization consists of telescope manufacturers, clubs, magazines, and devoted amateur astronomers who wish to spread the joy of our hobby. See the group’s website at astronomy...
1

Welcome Sheldon Reynolds as contributing editor

Posted 7 years ago by David Eicher
I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming a new contributing editor to Astronomy magazine, Sheldon Reynolds, amateur astronomer, astroimager, and entertainer. Those who know the music business may be aware of Sheldon’s career as a member of the Commodores, as lead guitarist and vocalist for Earth, Wind & Fire, and as a writer and producer of many other musical ventures. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Sheldon followed his 14-year career in EWF with several years of involvement managing E...

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter. View our Privacy Policy.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook