B33 - Horsehead Nebula

Pareidolia – Familiar Patterns from Randomness

Seeing familiar shapes in clouds is termed Pareidolia.  Since mankind first looked skyward, astronomers have been creating familiar patterns out of random groups of stars as Constellations.  Telescopes reveal vistas of randomness that scream for human interpretation.  Faces, animals, and familiar man-made devices emerge.  Here are a few examples: Smiley Face in Open Cluster M35, […]

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Star Trails

Lahaina Noon is Uniquely Hawaiian in the United States

The State of Hawaii is in the tropic zone and experiences Lahaina Noon twice a year. The tropics extend 23.5-degrees north and south of the equator.  Specifically, for the Big Island at 19-degrees north latitude, due to the Earth’s tilt, the Sun will appear to move north to 23.5-degrees latitude in the first half of […]

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Center of Milky Way Brimming with Black Holes

Astronomers had theorized and now confirmed that the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way is surrounded by many stellar mass black holes. The Chandra X-Ray telescope has discovered 12 active stellar mass black holes within 3-light years of the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*.  Theory predicts many more quiescent […]

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Starry Telescope

Astronomy versus Meta-Astronomy

Astronomy, as a science, is the systematic measurement of space-time and all the objects that exist therein.  Meta-Astronomy is unconstrained theory and imagination. Astronomers measure all the physical parameters and motions of bodies in space-time.  We know that due to the finite speed of light, that we are looking into the past as we look […]

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Measuring the Universe

Astronomy Factoid List

Astronomy Factoid 1: The Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours.  This results in a star appearing to move 1-degree every 4 minutes to the west.  15-degrees each hour.  Telescopes that track the stars must be driven at that speed, 15-degrees per hour to the west. Astronomy Factoid 2: Earth Orbits the Sun […]

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Occultation Study

Occultation of Stars by Heavenly Bodies

 The Study of the Occultation of stars by Asteroids, Planets and Moons. As heavenly bodies cross over a star, their shadow is cast on the surface of the Earth.  By timing the length of the occultation of a star, we can deduce the diameter of the asteroid, and refine its orbital motion.  Multiple observations from […]

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Harvard Computers

Women in 19th Century Astronomy

In the late 19th century, Harvard Observatory hired a group of women for the job of Computer. The job was measuring the positions of stars and analyzing star spectra on glass plate photographs.  They painstakingly reduced the X-Y positions of the stars to Right Ascension and Declination via trigonometry, cataloging 855,000 stars.  Women were not […]

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Earth Orbit and calendar

Why does the Calendar give February only 28 Days?

Our ancestors had a Calendar where the months would drift through the seasons. In other words, the Calendar was not tied to the actual year.  They were based on special ritualistic numbers that had no relation to the external world.  Astrology was a major driving source for converting to 12 months for the 12 Zodiacal […]

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Starry Telescope

Tips for Setting Up a New Telescope

A new Telescope needs to be properly setup to perform successfully. Unlike binoculars, you cannot just point a new telescope in the general direction and be able to find what you are looking for unless everything has been properly aligned.  Here’s some tips to help you have a successful start to the hobby of astronomy. […]

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Astrophotography – the next step in Astronomy

After casually viewing the sky with your telescope, the next urge is to take pictures – Astrophotography. A camera, telescope, suitable mount, and software to process images are the key requirements to do astrophotography. Digital cameras are rapidly improving. Cell phone cameras are adequate for Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn images.  But, most other deep […]

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