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Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Look Deep Into the Universe

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 13:29
See Galaxies!

What do you see if you look out at the universe? From Earth's surface, you see stars, planets, and galaxies. Of all these objects, galaxies are the most fascinating and evocative, but also tougher to spot in the sky than the others. Yes, there are a few naked-eye galaxies: the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. If you want to be complete, of course the Milky Way Galaxy is extremely easy to spot, but only because we're IN it. Most other galaxies are outside ours and they require magnification (binoculars and telescopes) if you want to see more than fuzzy blob of light. Astronomers have always seen many more galaxies with their larger research observatories, but nowadays, with the advent of advanced telescopes, such as Hubble Space Telescope, they're seeing a LOT more galaxies than they used to!

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Cosmos for the Next Generation

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 23:37

Are you watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey?  In the U.S., it airs on Sundays on Fox TV and on Mondays on National Geographic Channel. You can also see episodes online at CosmosOnTV.com. For space enthusiasts, astronomers, and others simply interested in learning more about our universe, this program is the one to see. It's the next generation of a series begun by Dr. Carl Sagan in 1980, a series that set a whole generation of astronomers and science writers on their career paths.

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Saturn May Have a New Moon

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 02:00

Cassini Spots a New Object in Saturn's Rings

If you're out stargazing over the next few months, at some point, you will notice the planet Saturn. On these April nights, it's rising late in the evening (right now around 10 p.m. or thereabouts), so you have to stay up to find it. But, it's well worth the look. The rings alone give this planet an otherworldly and fascinating appearance.

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Watch the Moon Turn Red

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 07:18

simulated view of lunar eclipse

How the April 14-15, 2014 lunar eclipse could look during totality. The Moon will be near the bright star Spica. Created by Carolyn Collins Petersen using Stellarium open source software. Click image for a larger version.)

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A Black Hole Cannibal at the Milky Way’s Heart

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 12:04
How Black Holes Grow

Gas cloud headed toward the black hole in Milky Way Galaxy's heart.

For the past few years, astronomers have been watching with great interest as a cloud of gas called G2 gets ever closer to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The cloud (shown in the image at left) is headed directly into Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and will get caught up in the accretion disk of material surrounding and feeding into our black hole. The collision is already starting to occur, although the largest mass of the cloud has not yet arrived at the disk. But, the outer edges are starting to feel the pull of the black hole and that is providing a unique opportunity for astronomers to watch as a black hole swallows up material.

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Ten Great Sky Sights for April 2014

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 19:06

I've been a stargazer since I was a child, and continue to go out and explore the sky when the conditions are right. Skygazing is an easy pastime, and a rewarding one. Want to check out the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn? See the Moon turn red? Experience a meteor shower? They're all available on April evenings after the sky gets dark. You don't need any special equipment, but if you do have binoculars or a small telescope, use them. Here's a list of ten great sky sights for April for you to search out. Go to About.com's star chart page...

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New S*T*A*R Officers

These are the new Club Officers, voted in at the June 2013 Business Meeting.