Stargazers from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 31 May 2020 16:03:47 -0700 Stargazers from Creators Syndicate 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> 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>