A Galaxy of Planets

As far as we know, it was Galileo who first aimed a telescope at the night sky. This is easy to believe, since we can imagine that most other men of Galileo’s time were interested more in enemy encampments, brothel windows, and then, maybe, and a very distant third, the night sky.* Galileo was a…

How big is the biggest star? Freakin’ BIG!

One of the great challenges, and thus joys, of studying the universe is getting a sense of the scale of what you’re looking at. We are very tiny. The universe is very large. Language begins to fail here. Large is the smallest cup of coffee you can get at most American coffee shops. We’re talking…

The Great Vanishing Act (of the Night Sky)

Ever drive out into the countryside and marveled at the big strip of the Milky Way arching across the sky and thousands of stars shining everywhere, then wondered why you couldn’t see that from downtown Geneva or from your own driveway? No, the air is not clearer. There’s simply less lights. The splendor of the…

Arizona/Southern Utah

Page, Arizona: It’s strange to see a town planned and built in the 1950s. There’s a turn in the road where every church is lined up in a row.The next turn, motels. I saw my friend Cristina’s band “Native Country” there. They’re a Navajo country and western band. That’s right, Indians have become cowboys, buried…

Origin Story

One day, I came home, and Mom was gone and the car was packed and Dad said we were going to the mountains. Mom had suffered a nervous breakdown and Dad wanted to get me out of there. It was in Lake Placid that I first saw an unpolluted night sky. And was transformed.