Stargazers from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 28 Mar 2020 02:16:41 -0700 Stargazers from Creators Syndicate d00909b1fef41f66d2c08a0fee129537 Seeing Double in the Dipper for 03/26/2020 Thu, 26 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of March 29 - April 4, 2020</p> <p>It's pretty easy for us terrestrial stargazers, orbiting a single star like the sun, to believe that the stars of our nighttime sky must be similar to it. </p> <p>In some ways that's true. All are globes of mostly hydrogen that shine by a process of thermonuclear fusion occurring deep within their cores. But, as astronomers have learned over the past few centuries, that's where the similarity often ends. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 26, 2020</p> e629ba21555eb9d0284f68d58910763c Realm of the Galaxies for 03/19/2020 Thu, 19 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of March 22-28, 2020</p> <p>Three or four hours after sunset this week, get away from bright city lights, and take a gander around a pristine, rural sky. </p> <p>Once there, I recommend that you sit back, relax and ponder what lies before you. Every light in the heavens is a distant sun, many hundreds of trillions of miles away &#8212; each so distant that its light has taken decades or centuries to reach our eyes. Each may be home to a planetary system and, perhaps, life forms gazing in wonder into their night sky. Each of these suns is part of our own Milky Way galaxy: our "home star city." <p>Updated: Thu Mar 19, 2020</p> 5a28567b3b00f0766dea2b8f988f6543 Finding Leo After Dark for 03/12/2020 Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of March 15-21, 2020</p> <p>Some of my fondest childhood memories come from school field trips to Philadelphia's Fels Planetarium. </p> <p>Oh, how I looked forward to those magical times under the starry dome. They exposed me to a universe I never would have experienced from behind those rickety old wooden desks at Centennial Elementary School in Easton, Pennsylvania. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 12, 2020</p> 48ca81e600cdf8aeef2b79235f51b30a What Time Is It Anyway? for 03/05/2020 Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of March 8-14, 2020</p> <p>Nothing's ever easy. Take time, for example. </p> <p>What time is it right now? Most people find that a quick glance at their wristwatch gives a sufficient answer. For those of us in science, however, the answer often depends on several factors. When writing about upcoming astronomical events for national and international audiences, I'm constantly faced with determining the time of a celestial event where you live. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 05, 2020</p> f47c386d2839011005ae2a96ab2ea078 Brilliant Stars of the Winter Hexagon for 02/27/2020 Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of March 1-7, 2020</p> <p>Spring is about to spring here in the Earth's Northern Hemisphere. First, we start (at least in most of the U.S.) with the change from standard time to daylight saving time on Sunday, March 8, followed only 11 days later by the vernal equinox: the official onset of spring. </p> <p>The sky, of course, reflects these seasonal changes as the stars of springtime appear higher in our eastern sky each night. It's nice to think of the approach of springtime, but we're not out of winter yet. High in our early evening sky remain the brightest stars of the entire year &#8212; those of winter. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 27, 2020</p> e0795625cd39628778c8c45627bf52fc Spotting the Celestial Unicorn for 02/20/2020 Thu, 20 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Feb. 23-29, 2020</p> <p>Among the stars of the night sky lie constellations that derive from real and imaginary people, animals and objects, but rarely can anyone trace the images they represent. Take, for example, the flying steed known as Pegasus. I defy anyone to look skyward and outline its stars in such a way that they can see a flying horse. And if you can, well, I'm afraid you'll need more help than I can give you. </p> <p>Years ago, during my internship at the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York, our director was fond of saying that the constellations look no more like their namesakes than the George Washington Bridge looks like the father of our country. Of course, he was correct. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 20, 2020</p> 8a2adbcf5cb560a57ac0b53ae59e04de Solar System Show at Dawn for 02/13/2020 Thu, 13 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Week of Feb. 16-22, 2020</p> <p>For this week's sky show, I'm afraid you'll have to set your alarm and get up before dawn. If you do, you'll see a wonderful display of solar system objects in the southeastern sky as the waning crescent moon swings past the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 13, 2020</p> 997ff72193eb269f5ef9dfcfdc79b3e7 A Stellar Romance ... Well, Sort Of for 02/06/2020 Thu, 06 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Feb. 9-15, 2020</p> <p>In just a few days, Saint Valentine's Day will arrive, a time for celebrating the universal emotion of love. And nowhere is love more represented at this time of year than in the starry heavens. </p> <p>Ask any stargazer about this and most will mention Venus, sparkling in the western sky at sunset. After all, she is named for the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty, while the ancient Greeks knew her as Aphrodite and the Babylonians as Ishtar. But I'll bet few modern sky watchers would even think to associate romance with the burly celestial hunter Orion, and yet he's the "star" of our story today. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 06, 2020</p> 30b1a78e618d2a6595509bf8a6d15582 Well, That's a Star of a Different Color! for 01/30/2020 Thu, 30 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Feb. 2-8, 2020</p> <p>One thing I've learned from helping stargazers lo these many years is that beginners often have some deeply ingrained misconceptions. Many think that the moon can be seen only at night and never in the daytime; others believe that the Big Dipper or the Milky Way is always visible in the sky. Still others think we see the stars as they appear now rather than centuries ago. </p> <p>One of the most common misconceptions I've heard is this: "If you've seen one star, you've seen 'em all." This is a pretty understandable perspective; after all, stars appear simply as points of light. How different could they possibly be? Well, ask an experienced skywatcher and they'll tell you that no two stars are exactly alike. Each displays its own personality in a number of ways. One of the most visible stellar personality traits lies in a star's color. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 30, 2020</p> bbcb67fcdebb645bdc70972af7afe2a4 A Faded Star for 01/23/2020 Thu, 23 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2020</p> <p>If you've been stargazing at all recently, you may have noticed the great constellation Orion hovering in the southeastern sky after dark, with its rectangular form and three central stars in a nearly straight line. You may also have noticed something a bit odd about it &#8212; but you can't quite say what it is. </p> <p>Back in the fall, when I first saw Orion after six months of it being below the horizon, I noticed it, too. The star at its northeasternmost corner &#8212; Betelgeuse &#8212; seemed much fainter than I remembered it. It still is. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 23, 2020</p> 667235b4971e17721d55cef75b26b42d Mars and Its Rival for 01/16/2020 Thu, 16 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Jan. 19-25, 2020</p> <p>If you're like most folks, you don't like to rise before the sun to head out into the cold winter air and gaze skyward. But this week, you must, for a historically significant sight is waiting there for you to enjoy. </p> <p>As dawn is breaking this week, take a look low toward the southeastern sky. There you will see two fairly bright reddish-orange "stars." One &#8212; the fainter of the two &#8212; is the planet Mars. The brighter is the star Antares. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 16, 2020</p> d64776f5e968cd062729a0981e8610b8 The Celestial Giraffe for 01/09/2020 Thu, 09 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of January 12-18, 2020</p> <p>Every week, I try to present a feature of the night sky that's fairly easy for stargazers to spot; sure it might take a little effort, but there's nothing wrong with that. So this week, I thought I'd offer you a bit more of a challenge. </p> <p>Just after dark this week, there's a group of stars in the northern sky that I'll bet you've never seen. In fact, it's a star grouping that many experienced stargazers have neither seen, nor even heard of. Its name is Camelopardalis, and it has to rank right up there with the most obscure constellations in all the heavens. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 09, 2020</p> 1ab3a4c2921d8da640854819b0f6cfce Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star ... for 01/02/2020 Thu, 02 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Week of Jan. 5-11, 2020</p> <p>It began as a five-verse poem called "The Star" that appeared in the 1806 publication "Rhymes for the Nursery." More than three decades later, this poem by Ann and Jane Taylor was set to music &#8212; a 1761 French folk tune that, coincidentally, seemed to fit perfectly: <p>Updated: Thu Jan 02, 2020</p> a570646cf054af7f1a7b1e494fdf9a3d The First Meteor Shower of 2020 for 12/26/2019 Thu, 26 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Dec. 29, 2019 - Jan. 4, 2020</p> <p>If you missed the spectacular Geminid meteor shower of mid-December &#8212; and many of us did because of bright moonlight &#8212; you've got another chance. Not with the Geminids, of course &#8212; they won't return until next December &#8212; but with the Quadrantid shower, which peaks on the morning of Jan. 4, 2020. </p> <p>Never heard of it? I'm not surprised; few beginning stargazers have. By anyone's definition, the Quadrantids is an unusual meteor shower. <p>Updated: Thu Dec 26, 2019</p> 62dd4c99767302be8969ffcf7bc8e4c2 Moon and Venus at Dusk for 12/19/2019 Thu, 19 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Week of Dec. 22-28, 2019</p> <p>If you haven't yet checked out Venus glistening low in the southwestern sky at dusk, now would be a great time to do so. Many people might have missed seeing it there because of low-lying clouds or mountains blocking the view, but with late December upon us, it's now beginning to climb higher in our sky as it rounds the sun. <p>Updated: Thu Dec 19, 2019</p> 0d4a39f9e5dc2566b0fa84f2e36d88ca The Winter Solstice for 12/12/2019 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Week of Dec. 15-21, 2019</p> <p>One of my favorite days of the year is right around the corner. Christmas? New Year's Eve? Valentine's Day? <p>Updated: Thu Dec 12, 2019</p> ef9083bdd681593e953f2b3a97f7257c Viewing the Moonlit Geminid Meteors for 12/05/2019 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Dec. 8-14, 2019</p> <p>It's December, and with it comes colder temperatures throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere and, in the sky, the most prolific meteor shower of the year: the Geminids. </p> <p>Never heard of it? Well, that's not a huge surprise. If you ask beginning stargazers which is the most spectacular meteor shower of the year, I'll bet that many will cite the Perseid meteor shower in mid-August. I suspect that most would be surprised to learn that the Geminids are often brighter and more plentiful than the Perseids. <p>Updated: Thu Dec 05, 2019</p> 56050554fee514582533dc0579e4ff7d What's Your Sign? for 11/28/2019 Thu, 28 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Week of Dec.1-7, 2019</p> <p>Anyone frequenting singles bars back in the 1970s or '80s has surely heard the question: What's your sign? And while most of us can recite the answer quickly, the truth is that few people know what it actually means. </p> <p>It's really quite simple. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 28, 2019</p> b28c7c6f109da79a8240d85b86870e88 Planetary Dance at Dusk for 11/21/2019 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Week of Nov. 24-30, 2019</p> <p>You may have noticed two bright "stars" shining in the southwestern sky at dusk and appearing much closer to one another from night to night. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 21, 2019</p> 337879ea845766b7bceb93e9ee1f5390 The Mysterious Case of Epsilon Aurigae for 11/14/2019 Thu, 14 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Week of Nov. 17-23, 2019</p> <p>Ever since I was a youngster, I've been fascinated by how crime scene investigators can reconstruct a crime with such amazing accuracy from relatively scant evidence. They don't have the luxury of watching the crime occur and often don't even have an eyewitness. Instead, they must work backward from their own later observations and measurements &#8212; using tools such as physics, chemistry and biology &#8212; to reconstruct logically what must have occurred to produce the evidence as it now appears. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 14, 2019</p>