Category Archives: Astronomy

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 »

Where to see a model Solar System

By | May 30, 2017

You may recall that Douglas Adams, in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, warned of the dangers of having an accurate perspective on your place in the universe. He was speaking tongue-in-cheek, of course; there is nothing more bracing than getting a sense of the scale of something huge, even the solar system, which is pretty provincial as the universe goes.… Read More »

Maria Mitchell’s legacy in Nantucket

By | May 29, 2017

The Maria Mitchell Association of Nantucket hosts visitors at two observatories, an aquarium, and a natural history museum. These sites continue the educational work and research of Maria Mitchell (1818–1889), an American astronomer and educator. Tutored by her father, who believed that girls should be educated as well as boys are, Mitchell became America’s first professional female astronomer. She was also a strong advocate for women’s education and… Read More »