Stargazers from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 11 Jul 2020 10:29:04 -0700 Stargazers from Creators Syndicate 8244f78e7d9eacd2be374f1d553e0df4 Saturn: Lord of the Rings for 07/09/2020 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of July 12-18, 2020</p> <p>If I were to ask which you think is our solar system's most beautiful planet, how would you respond? </p> <p>Some would answer that the red planet Mars or the glistening planet Venus beat all others. Some might argue that the Earth is the most beautiful of all. These all are legitimate contenders, but if you've ever peered through a telescope at the ringed planet Saturn, you will almost certainly choose the "Lord of the Rings."<p>Updated: Thu Jul 09, 2020</p> cf7101d57426c885a2d8e5feb1965082 The Return of Jupiter for 07/02/2020 Thu, 02 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of July 5-11, 2020</p> <p>Summer skywatchers will soon be enjoying a couple of planetary visitors in our night sky. This week, the giant planet Jupiter returns to our early evening sky.</p> <p>Jupiter reaches its opposition point on July 14, when it appears opposite the sun in our sky. In other words, as the sun sets in the northwest, Jupiter rises over the southeastern horizon and shines brilliantly in our sky all night long. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 02, 2020</p> 8ca5b00db3af55dde88efc71d38894c2 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse for 06/25/2020 Thu, 25 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of June 28 - July 4, 2020</p> <p>If you're looking for a celestial challenge this week, you're in luck. </p> <p>On the night of Saturday, July 4, you might want to pay close attention to the full moon. If you do, you may be treated to a celestial phenomenon that few, if any, stargazers will even notice: a penumbral eclipse of the moon. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 25, 2020</p> 4ed3d27fca424d85ad32991b601887e7 Celestial Second Bananas for 06/18/2020 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of June 21 - 27, 2020</p> <p>Back in the days of burlesque, there was a skit in which the comic was given a banana after delivering the punchline to a very funny joke. This may be the origin of the term "top banana" &#8212; a reference to someone reaching the top of his or her business. </p> <p>The term "second banana" may have also originated from this same skit, but second bananas are seldom remembered. For example, who knows the second person to reach the South Pole? Or the second to build a lightbulb? Or the second to walk on the moon? OK, if you're reading these words, you probably know that one ... but you get my point. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 18, 2020</p> 7def188fcbadd96c06a79c7393b9f455 The Solstice and the Analemma for 06/11/2020 Thu, 11 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of June 14-20, 2020</p> <p>Look on any globe or map, and you're bound to find a mysterious figure-eight pattern. It's called the "analemma", and it really isn't that mysterious. It outlines the position of the sun in the noontime sky throughout the year. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 11, 2020</p> c341143f0dfe9c7272baba05bf969659 Message to the Stars for 06/04/2020 Thu, 04 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of June 7-13, 2020</p> <p>A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the constellation Hercules and referred briefly to one of the "faint fuzzies" we can see within. Today, we'll take a closer look at that amazing celestial gem. </p> <p>It was on November 16, 1974, that astronomers sent skyward a cryptic three-minute radio signal from the newly dedicated 1,000-foot-diameter radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It carried into the heavens the story of our world, our species and our understanding of the cosmos. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 04, 2020</p> 59097720724421ea9e4062209fec9593 When Darkness Falls for 05/28/2020 Thu, 28 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of May 31 - June 6, 2020</p> <p>Sometimes, we astronomers toss around terms that we consider to be "obvious" &#8212; and to us, they are &#8212; but people who hear or read our words often wonder just what the heck we're talking about. <p>Updated: Thu May 28, 2020</p> 664acb11a29caac4e2b8473cd34204a9 The Celestial Strongman for 05/21/2020 Thu, 21 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of May 24-30, 2020</p> <p>No matter how long I study the sky, there will always be star groupings I just can't "see". Certainly, the ancients didn't make it easy for us; they never actually devised the constellations to look like animals, objects and people but rather to simply represent them in the heavens. <p>Updated: Thu May 21, 2020</p> 1b25371c33427d96dc2753b0798e5747 Seeing the Inner Planets at Dusk for 05/14/2020 Thu, 14 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of May 17-23, 2020</p> <p>Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, yet it's not the hottest of our solar system. That honor belongs to Venus, nearly twice as far from the searing heat of our star. <p>Updated: Thu May 14, 2020</p> 65bd533291f9112cd73a59d923abc3a9 A Cosmic Menagerie for 05/07/2020 Thu, 07 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of May 10-16, 2020</p> <p>Nearly every indigenous culture on Earth established its own unique set of constellations in their sky, but we in the West recognize those created primarily by the Greeks and early European explorers and astronomers. <p>Updated: Thu May 07, 2020</p> e8810844be0c9033e62a24ff803d4e20 Seeing the Earth's Shadow for 04/30/2020 Thu, 30 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of May 3-9, 2020</p> <p>During spring and summer months, it's fun to sit outdoors and gaze at the stars, but beginning stargazers might be surprised to learn that some stars seem to move. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 30, 2020</p> c84751b3329f2fccb8e60bb5c6731e5a Measure the Sky for 04/23/2020 Thu, 23 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of April 26 - May 2, 2020</p> <p>It was a beautiful sunny day in 1966, and I remember it well. There I sat in Mrs. Moyer's tenth grade geometry class, daydreaming out the window and pondering everything except acute angles, midpoints and spheres. </p> <p>"After all," I reasoned, "What use is knowing that a circle can be broken into 360 equal parts, each 1 degree wide? I've got better things to think about!" <span class="column--highlighted-text">The irony is that out that very window existed circles that I would use just about every day of my professional life. </span><p>Updated: Thu Apr 23, 2020</p> 1a2899d1a7cd820ab954bd5006f7d883 Enjoying the Lyrid Meteor Shower for 04/16/2020 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Week of April 19-25, 2020</p> <p>With springtime well underway, now's a great time to "self-isolate" far from other people and the blinding lights of large cities to enjoy the sky in its true splendor. And what a great time to begin searching for "falling" or "shooting" stars, known to astronomers as "meteors." <p>Updated: Thu Apr 16, 2020</p> 06e3efb281a10e0bde848ec6d0bd9e8c Planetary Dance at Dawn for 04/09/2020 Thu, 09 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of April 12-18, 2020</p> <p>A wonderful assortment of solar system bodies converges high in the southeastern sky this coming week, but to see this, you'll need to head outdoors before dawn. </p> <p>The most brilliant of these celestial bodies is the planet Jupiter. Jupiter appears so bright for good reason. It's a cloudy world some 11 times the diameter of the Earth that reflects into space more than half of all sunlight falling onto its cloud tops. The only reason it doesn't appear even brighter is because of its great distance from us, right now about 471.6 million miles.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 09, 2020</p> 5c5fd8f44f2e6c2ea296266775bcdc7d Finding Arcturus and Spica for 04/02/2020 Thu, 02 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of April 5-11, 2020</p> <p>The brilliant moon dominates our evening sky this week. Expect it to reach its full phase on the night of Tuesday, April 7, when you'll see it rise in the east around sunset. Its orange disk will appear immense as it clears the horizon, but this is the result of a fascinating optical illusion known as the "moon illusion." </p> <p>As it ascends in the eastern sky, the moon's light will obliterate all but the brightest of stars, giving us an opportunity to check out some of the brighter features of the springtime evening sky. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 02, 2020</p> 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>