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Blog Archive


Some Details About Transits of Venus

Posted by David Shortt on 2012/05/22 06:02 CDT | 2 comments

The upcoming rare transit of Venus is one step in a long dance among Earth, Venus and the Sun. Transits of Venus follow a peculiar pattern—two transits 8 years apart, then 105.5 years with no transits, then two transits 8 years apart, then 121.5 years with no transits, for a total cycle of 243 years—and thereby hangs a tale.

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Night Sky Guide for Summer 2012

Posted by Ray Sanders on 2012/05/11 11:14 CDT

This summer should provide great opportunities for stargazers to view planets, meteor showers, the transit of Venus, and for some, the annular solar eclipse. Check out these highlights of what you can look forward to this summer.

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Planetary Radio: Taking Back the Night

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/04/17 03:39 CDT

Planetary Radio for April 16, 2012 features an interview with Scott Kardel of the International Dark Sky Association.

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Online Astronomy Course Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/03/06 11:27 CST

All the archived lectures from my free Introduction to Astronomy and the Solar System course, as well as links to the syllabus and how to watch the lectures live, can be found online.

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Infographic: Viewing our universe's colors

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/14 03:08 CST

An infographic explains in what "colors" of electromagnetic radiation we been able to observe our universe, over the length of the space age.

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Checking up on Jupiter and Saturn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/10 01:51 CST

It's amateur astronomers, not professionals, who are shouldering the burden of constant monitoring of the weather on Jupiter and Saturn. What's going on these days in the outer solar system?

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Bruce Betts' Free Online Intro To Astronomy Course

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/01/31 08:35 CST

Bruce Betts will be returning to the virtual classroom at California State University, Dominguez Hills for an Intro To Astronomy course. The first lecture will be Wednesday, February 8, from 3:00 to 4:30pm Pacific Time.

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Today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast Offers a Free, Online Astronomy Class!

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/01/26 09:06 CST

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast begins this year's effort with an interview with Bruce Betts, who will be starting an online astronomy course. A transcription of the interview is included in this post, as well as a link to the podcast.

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Watch this week's Google+ Space Hangout

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/19 03:12 CST

This week's lineup is a largely astronomical crowd so most of the conversation concerned dark matter and boiling exoplanets and imaging the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

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What's Up in the Winter Sky

Posted by Ray Sanders on 2011/11/18 10:34 CST

The warm days and cool evenings of fall are giving way to cold days and colder nights. For many amateur astronomers, observing during winter is a bit of a challenge - clouds, dew, ice, and of course, the cold.

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Video: Top 5 Awesome Things About the Webb Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/15 05:51 CDT

With all the turmoil over the House's cancellation of the James Webb Space Telescope it seems an appropriate time to post this YouTube video.

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Observing at the WIYN

Posted by Meg Schwamb on 2011/06/08 02:43 CDT

On May 5 and 6, I had a run on the WIYN (Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO) telescope, a 3.5 m telescope, the second largest telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona.

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Summer Sights of the Solar System

Posted by Ray Sanders on 2011/06/07 03:23 CDT

What can you expect to see if you look at the night sky this summer (2011)?

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Citizen Science projects for Planetary Science: Get Involved! Do Science!

Posted by Mike Malaska on 2011/05/12 05:13 CDT

Citizen Science projects let volunteers easily contribute to active science programs. They're useful when there is so much data it overwhelms computing algorithms (if they exist) or the scientific research team attempting to process it.

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WISE's first brown (green?) dwarf

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 05:05 CST

Look at the center of this star-studded image and you'll find an emerald green dot.

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Three things to watch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/20 05:38 CDT

It's high summer (in the northern hemisphere anyway) and many of you may be seeking shelter from the heat. If you need to collapse on the couch and watch TV, I have three space-y recommendations for you.

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Talking Lasers on Aussie Radio

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/05/13 04:35 CDT

Through a crazy random happenstance, I was just interviewed by a friend of a friend of a friend at Australian radio station 'triple j' for a feature on lasers!

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Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/02 01:58 CDT

David Seal muses on his time as the mission planner for Cassini, and the history behind its name, and astronomy in Rome.

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Fly me to the Moon...

Posted by Jim Bell on 2009/05/04 12:46 CDT

Jim Bell describes his proposal to join the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Cameras science team.

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