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…Are You Lost? Ask The North Star For Directions

04/07/2017 // 14 Comments

  You’re lost in the woods. The coyotes are hungry. You don’t have a map. Or a compass. Or a flashlight. Or a cellphone. You’re trapped inside an arboreal prison. How are you going to breakout and find your way back to camp? Shhh…did hear that? The coyotes are howling. Quick. Let’s get out of here. So… …here’s the plan. Use the Big Dipper     All you need to do is locate the Big Dipper. Easy, right? Ursa Major is a bright circumpolar constellation in the northern hemisphere. Two stars in the dipper asterism point to Polaris: Merak [Click Here To Read Article...]

Astrophotography: The Blue Hour

03/31/2017 // 10 Comments

Every educated photographer on planet Earth is familiar with the Golden Hour. Shhh…come a little closer…I’m gonna whisper a top secret in your ear…just kidding! I’m gonna tell you a secret but forgive me if I don’t whisper in your ear (you’ll have to pay me extra). The golden hour gets all the hype, but did you know there’s another hour? Yup, it’s true! This special time of evening is called the “blue hour”. Sounds pretty sweet, huh? There are a few cosmic events that can be seen during the the blue hour. Planets are usually [Click Here To Read Article...]

Astrophotography: How To Photograph Stars With Cheap Gear

03/03/2017 // 9 Comments

If you’re mentally fortified with specialized knowledge, then photographing stars can be as easy as celestial pie—even if you only have access to cheap lenses or cameras. Don’t sacrifice your piggy bank to the astronomical gods! Your porcelain swine shall live to oink another day. It should be obvious that you need a camera and lens to photograph stars, right? Exactly. The camera should ideally allow the photographer to manually adjust the exposure parameters. Nope. You’re not gonna aim a camera at the night sky, blastoff an exposure, and expect the automatic settings to [Click Here To Read Article...]

Astronomy Binoculars: How to Observe Stars Instead Of Your Neighbor

02/25/2017 // 9 Comments

Most binoculars spend most of their existence buried inside a closet, or perhaps inside a spacious drawer. A few naughty binoculars have only observed the nasty habits of someone’s unaware neighbor, and a lonesome binocular can do nothing but collect time snow (dust). Binoculars are intuitive and easy to use. A telescope needs eyepieces or a variety of other tools, but binoculars are the total package. You can just grab ’em and go. Simple as that.   Lightweight / portable Cheap or relatively inexpensive Easy to use   A typical binocular can easily be stored, and will [Click Here To Read Article...]

Claim Your Spot Among The Stars

02/21/2017 // 3 Comments

If you think it’s expensive to claim your spot among the stars, then you’re absolutely correct! Astronomical characters of ancient lore accomplished heroic feats to earn their eternal right to lounge upon the night sky. True story: Hercules wrestled a mythical man-eating lion and won. We can all agree putting a mythical man-eating lion in a headlock deserves stellar praise! But it’s risky business. You may or may not want to put a mythical man-eating lion in a headlock, but since you’re not bestowed with the strength of 10 men, then let’s assume the mythical [Click Here To Read Article...]

Don’t Worry! The Moon Is Just Going Through A Gibbous Phase

02/10/2017 // 7 Comments

  Earth’s Moon has quite the attitude, but don’t worry! It’s just going through a phase. Teenage astronomical objects can be unpredictable and very moody. The Moon is at least 4.53 billion years old, but that doesn’t stop it from having 8 unique phases, which means the Moon probably has a personality disorder. Try not to judge. We all go through phases, right? Some of us dye our hair unusual colors, while other people wear leopard skin pants.   Moon Phases   New Moon Waxing Crescent First Quarter Waxing Gibbous Full Moon Waning Gibbous Last Quarter [Click Here To Read Article...]

Celestial Hunting Season: How To Locate The Orion Nebula

01/31/2017 // 10 Comments

  You look like the type of smart individual who likes to read about space clouds. Did you know it’s possible to see the Orion Nebula with nothin’ but those squishy orbs inside your face? The universe looks like an angry toddler tossed a handful of sparkly glitter all over the place, which means it can be a pain in the ass to navigate the night sky. Don’t be intimated by the sparkly mess above your head. M42 (Orion Nebula) is one of the most popular space clouds. Period. Everyone knows about M42, right? Sure. Yup. Perhaps they know a little something about the Orion [Click Here To Read Article...]

Tiny Things You’ll Never Notice In Your Lifetime

01/27/2017 // 17 Comments

Size is matter of perspective. Small objects may seem large if observed through a different pair of eyes. How long would it take you to stroll across a field? Forget the fact that you possibility “ran” a 25 minute mile in gym class, or the fact that the teacher would have needed a sundial to truly time your efforts. Forget all that. Now imagine a hypothetical flea. This hypothetical flea is perched on a blade of grass. How long do you think it would take your imaginary hypothetical flea to journey across the entire field? Think real hard, then imagine the hardships this [Click Here To Read Article...]

It’s Okay To Look Like A Dog

01/21/2017 // 9 Comments

  Wouldn’t it be cool if the sky was brought down to Earth? Imagine if you could reach in your closet and select your very own atmospheric phenomenon. Do you want to become a living embodiment of airy ethereal forces? Mother Nature ensures the fickle characteristics of kaleidoscopic optical manifestations. Not anymore. You can now summon your own sundog, and look damn good doing it!     Sundogs appear out of thin air—hexagonal ice crystals refract light into a colorful smear, which appears within close proximity to the Sun (about 22°). Cirrus clouds often provide the [Click Here To Read Article...]

No Money Astronomy: Let’s Sneak Into The Amusement Park

01/17/2017 // 9 Comments

The universe is a giant amusement park, and you’re not welcome to climb aboard the pretty galactic Ferris wheel. Why? Because you must be THIS tall! Or so it seems. Many people sacrificed their piggy banks to the amateur astronomy gods, but all they got in return was some lousy glass. True story. Telescopes, eye pieces, mounts, filters—these toys can be…ummm…expensive. And that means the admittance price must be literally sky high if you want to enjoy the amusement park above your head. Come on! If you think that’s true, then you haven’t been paying attention! [Click Here To Read Article...]