Saturn’s Rings

I just can’t get enough of the Cassini probe photographs of the Saturn system. The thought that it might be shut down this year for budgetary reasons, with plenty of science and stunning imagery yet to beam us, is thoroughly depressing and I hope it doesn’t happen. Anyway, today’s Astronomy Photo of the Day (APOD)…

Any bike can be a cargo bike…

My daughter got a new bike for Christmas. She was saving up for it for the Spring (I was matching whatever she saved from her little job at the bakery) but she really needed it now. She rides about 3 miles a day, back and forth to school. Her old bike was too small, and…

Buying Your First Telescope

So, you want to buy your first telescope, and you’re wondering what you should get… Actually, there already are a variety of excellent resources that passionate and knowledgable amateurs have put together. Michael Edelman’s Heretic’s Guide to Choosing and Buying Your First Telescope is comprehensive, reasonable, and I was pleased to see he basically had the same…

Suffering and Rational Thought

11 years and three months ago, I started looking up again, at a night sky that, for the first time in probably 75 years, wasn’t riddled with the blinking lights of airplanes. Satellites still slid by, above the effect of the mess on earth. As readers know, I’ve been looking up ever since and increasingly…

Earthgazing

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo. I’ve explored the circumstances and effects of looking at the Earth from space several times on this blog. In “Two Self Portraits”, I compared two different snapshots of Earth, and in “Gifts from the Sky“, I wrote about the first photograph of earth from space, and what it reveals about…

Meteor Galore! Geminids Tonight!

There are two reliable, often spectacular meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere. The August Perseids, and the December Geminids. In case you are curious about the vaguely Battlestar Galactica names, meteor showers are named from the constellation from which the meteors seem to radiate. So tonight’s Geminids will seem to radiate from a point between…

The Wonder of It All

Like many astronomers, I try, at least once a day, to check in with NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day, or APOD. It’s like one of those calendars where you tear a new sheet off for each day, and it has a deep thought or Farside cartoon or stupid thing that someone who was actually…