What is Celestial Navigation?
We’ve been dreaming of the stars for longer than we can remember, staring up at the twinkling lights that fill the night sky and wondering what they are. We’ve even written songs about them. Centuries ago, before the advent of GPS, explorers and adventurers relied on celestial navigation to help them map a path to their destination. What is celestial navigation, how does it work and when was it relied upon? Contrary to what its name suggests, celestial navigation doesn’t mean we’re navigating our way through the stars. Instead, from here on earth, navigators could use the stars to plot a course — even across the ocean where there were…
The Resurgence of Astrology
Astrology: Capricorn, Pisces, Scorpio... daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes. You know the thing. It’s easy to confuse with astronomy which is more telescopes and rocket launches. While an astrologist might argue they are the same thing, an astronomer will vehemently refute this. There has always been a lot of doubt and scepticism about the validity of astrology.
Intermediate Black Hole Could Explain Black Hole Evolution
Black holes are one of the most terrifying things in the universe. It shows the real power of gravity, which is usually a relatively weak force when it grows large enough. Eventually, it becomes sufficient to control entire galaxies. But we don’t know as much about black holes as we might like. We understand them mostly from a mathematical perspective, although we have been able to observe their behavior by watching the things around them. Black holes are a well-known and now proven phenomenon, but intermediate black holes are a whole different ball game, mostly because they’re still hypothetical. They start out as stellar black holes. These are the smallest…
Preparing For Launch: An Update on JWST
Move over, Hubble! NASA's currently in the middle of building Hubble's successor as we speak. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWTS) will help astronomers understand the history of the universe using infrared technology and a mirror coated in 24-karat gold! To discover how these function, read on, and prepare to launch!
Light Pollution – What Is It and Why It’s Bad
We often hear about air, water and land pollution, but we rarely hear about light pollution. So, what’s light pollution? All the artificial light that humanity creates comes under light pollution. The artificial might be of any source like burning fuels at refineries, street lights, head lights etc… As we now know what light pollution actually is, let’s talk about the harmful effects that they cause. Light pollution creates a great problem to the astronomers and causes a great harm to the ecological balance. In a place called Bries Canyon if there are no lights at all, we will be able to see 75000 starts, but if we put up one…
Blue Gas Giant Discovered in Distant Solar System
Scientists have determined the color of an alien planet for the first time. Even though we've never directly observed an alien planet, since they are outshined by their host star, scientists have found a way to show that they are there, and what their properties are, by examining the effect they have on the star, which we can observe.
Nearest Exoplanet Discovered in the Alpha Centauri System
Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory have discovered the nearest extrasolar planet to date, in the Alpha Centauri star system 4.3 light years away. The system is composed of three stars -- two stars similar in size to our Sun orbiting close to each other and…
Monthly Stargazing Calendar for September 2012
By the end of the month on September 29, Uranus will be at opposition. The gas giant will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This makes it the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
Monthly Stargazing Calendar for June 2012
Today on June 5 we will have the chance to witness the transit of Venus across the Sun. This extremely rare event will be entirely visible throughout most of eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and Alaska.
Monthly Stargazing Calendar for March 2012
On March 3, Mars was at opposition. The Earth passed Mars as the two planets wheeled around the sun in their respective orbits. This time the opposition was an unfavorable one because Mars was at aphelion on February 15, which means it was at its farthest point from the sun.