Stargazers from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 19 Sep 2020 21:35:22 -0700 Stargazers from Creators Syndicate d64057c3fa2bca65fad7da93ca6452a2 Autumn Is Coming ... Thankfully! for 09/17/2020 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of Sept. 20-26, 2020</p> <p>Well, I don't know about you, but I've had just about as much of the summer of 2020 as I can take. I've lived in the desert for a quarter-century, and while I enjoy the hot, dry summers, three consecutive months is plenty, thank you. </p> <p>Couple the searing heat with smoke from all the western wildfires and wearing face masks outdoors, and, well, you can see why I'll be overjoyed to welcome autumn to our part of planet Earth next week. I can only hope that, within a few weeks, our high temperatures will drop back to consistently double-digit numbers and the smoke will finally clear out. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> 9c19cccc8333e4999163e31fb8a52d6e The Celestial Dragon for 09/10/2020 Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of Sept. 13-19, 2020</p> <p>While leading one of my popular Night Sky Tours recently, our discussion somehow turned to the constellation of Draco, the dragon. </p> <p>Draco isn't one of the top 10 stellar groupings that people can name, but I was surprised that, when I mentioned it, I heard a chuckle coming from the darkness &#8212; as if I were making it all up. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 10, 2020</p> 9f6866ea0fbee524a9bd92bcc156676b Finding Neptune After Dark for 09/03/2020 Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of Sept. 6-12, 2020</p> <p>Scientists are in the business of classifying everything from butterflies to rocks to clouds to stars. And sometimes, when new understanding becomes available, they must go back and reclassify things to make them better fit the scheme. </p> <p>So, it should have come as no surprise to anyone who follows science that astronomers reclassified Pluto &#8212; a tiny ice ball near the edge of our planetary system &#8212; as a "dwarf planet." <p>Updated: Thu Sep 03, 2020</p> d50baceb20b6be07117d279851c4a4e5 Watery Moon for 08/27/2020 Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of Aug. 30 - Sept. 5, 2020</p> <p>When the full moon rises in the east around sunset on Tuesday, Sept. 1, many stargazers around the globe will be watching. </p> <p>To the eye, the full moon commands respect. Not only does its rising orb appear much larger than it actually is &#8212; an effect called the "moon illusion" &#8212; but its brilliance obliterates from view all but the brightest stars and planets. It's hard not to pay attention to the full moon! <p>Updated: Thu Aug 27, 2020</p> 9d3ab8a4fe7e2210cfcc285b8edc4fdb Little Big Mars ... Redux for 08/20/2020 Thu, 20 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of Aug. 23-29, 2020</p> <p>They say nothing can live forever, but I strongly disagree. Post something absurd on the internet, and I guarantee it will never go away. In fact, it will come back to life time and time and time again. </p> <p>A perfect example is the "Mars as big as the full moon" story. It's been a few years since I've seen what has become known as the "Mars Hoax" &#8212; that near the end of August, we will experience the most spectacular sight in the history of life on this planet with Mars swelling in our sky to the size of the full moon! <p>Updated: Thu Aug 20, 2020</p> 05bf1cb809d017a5f66f779dceca4872 Messier's Celestial Goldmine for 08/13/2020 Thu, 13 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of August 16-22, 2020</p> <p>At this time of year, early-evening stargazers can tour one of the richest pieces of celestial real estate: the Milky Way. </p> <p>Viewing the Milky Way on a clear August night is a truly marvelous experience. Wispy bunches of stars &#8212; so tightly packed that they appear to the eye as a milky band of light &#8212; are punctuated not only by bright individual stars but also by tiny regions that appear as hazy clumps. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 13, 2020</p> 595b2aa0c7175c03ea833711a33103b1 Dog Days of Summer for 08/06/2020 Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of Aug. 9-15, 2020</p> <p>As much of the Earth's Northern Hemisphere swelters under the oppressive heat of late summer, pay close attention, and I'll bet that, before the season is out, you hear someone refer to this time of year as the "dog days of summer." </p> <p>Now, one might guess that this term comes from the seemingly lethargic behavior of our canine companions in the late-summer heat, but then one would be barking up the wrong tree. No, its origin &#8212; like that of many everyday phrases &#8212; lies among the stars. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 06, 2020</p> d28957a7bcd2f92cc147af7ae1451091 The Sky Is Falling! for 07/30/2020 Thu, 30 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of August 2-8, 2020</p> <p>Few sights are as thrilling as the fiery spectacle known as a falling star, also called a shooting star or meteor. Astronomers cannot predict exactly when or where a meteor will appear, but each year during mid-August, skywatchers head away from the city lights to view one of the year's most reliable displays: the Perseid meteor shower. </p> <p>This year will be no exception; the shower's peak will occur during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Aug. 12, but stargazers will surely spot a few early meteors from this shower over the next week or so.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 30, 2020</p> 1780a211de02d8f9277f9976d58607bf Who Was the First Astronaut? Yes, Indeed! for 07/23/2020 Thu, 23 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of July 26 - August 1, 2020</p> <p>One of my favorite stories about the moon comes from ancient China and tells of the world's first "astronaut," a brave soul named Wan Hu. No, this isn't the opening of an Abbott & Costello routine, but the story is nearly as amusing. </p> <p>Hu is said to have been a minor official in the Ming dynasty and, as legend goes, wanted desperately to journey to the moon. Of course, this was impossible in those days, but Wan Hu believed that China's advanced rocket and fireworks technology was the key to achieving his dream. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 23, 2020</p> 5cee8a25063fbc50139841d92e9dbf60 The Iceball Cometh for 07/16/2020 Thu, 16 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Week of July 19-25, 2020</p> <p>It's been quite a while since we've seen a bright comet in our skies. Many stargazers remember the show put on by Comet Hale-Bopp 23 years ago, but most folks can't recall seeing another one since. </p> <p>One is now swinging past the Earth and, while it won't compare to Hale-Bopp, it has become barely visible to the unaided eye. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 16, 2020</p> 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>