A telescope tour of Arizona and New Mexico

By | November 7, 2017

The dry air and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico make these states prime astronomical destinations. You have numerous options for astronomy-related excursions in this area; this post features seven observatories that are open to the public. Most of them offer tours, other activities, and/or visitor centers. In addition to their scheduled programs and activities, many of them… Read More »

Mount Wilson’s 100-inch telescope turns 100

By | November 1, 2017

One hundred years ago today, astronomers at Mount Wilson Observatory got their first look through the observatory’s newest instrument, a 100-inch telescope that for a while was the largest in the world. At the time, this location in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena was a great dark-sky site, and the telescope would prove to be tremendously useful.… Read More »

Goodbye, Cassini

By | September 30, 2017

The spacecraft Cassini, after 13 years of studying Saturn, recently ended its mission by diving into the planet. The mission was designed to end this way so that there would be zero chance that the spacecraft will run into any of Saturn’s moons in decades to come, running the risk of contaminating them with Earth organisms. If the… Read More »

Live coverage of August 21 solar eclipse

By | August 20, 2017

For those of us who are staying put to watch the partial solar eclipse we get in our home town, rather than traveling to totality, and for those who travel to see totality and are, alas, clouded out, there’s always the internet. NASA is offering live coverage, and Weather Underground is teaming with Twitter to present a live… Read More »

Science and art: Galleries and exhibits

By | July 16, 2017

The worlds of science and art overlap, as the subjects of scientific research inspire artists. These destinations offer artistic perspectives on the work of scientists and the often-beautiful things and systems that they study. The exhibits at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge include the glass flowers, or, more formally, the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass… Read More »

Lava flows, cinder cones, and more: Volcanic vacations in the western US

By | July 3, 2017

The big destination in the US for volcano-lovers is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park; however, you have plenty of options for seeing more mature volcanic landscapes in the continental US. The Cascade Range The Cascade Range is a chain of volcanoes that originated in the interaction between tectonic plates. As the oceanic Juan de Fuca plate slides below the North American… Read More »