Astro-Challenge: Adventures in Daytime Astronomy

Daytime planets

It’s one of the stranger observations in ancient literature, and one of the earliest recorded tales of daytime astronomy.

A curious account comes to us from the 1st century AD Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, concerning the exploits of Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus, who notes that:

“The Sun’s radiance makes the fix’d stars invisible in the daytime, although they are shining as much as in the night, which becomes manifest at a solar eclipse and also when the star is reflected in a very deep well.”

Continue reading “Astro-Challenge: Adventures in Daytime Astronomy”

Review: Canadarm and Collaboration by Elizabeth Howell

Canadarm

Think you know everything there is to know about the famous Canadarm, and the story of the Canadian space program? A new book out next month delves deep into the fascinating backstory of the Canadian Space Agency.

The book is Canadarm and Collaboration: How Canada’s Astronauts and Space Robots Explore New Worlds by Elizabeth Howell, out on October 20th, 2020 by ECW Press.

Continue reading “Review: Canadarm and Collaboration by Elizabeth Howell”

First Laser Space Debris Detection Made… in Daylight

space debris

A new technique may prove to be a powerful tool in the battle to mitigate space debris.

As the Space Age continues into its seventh decade, space debris is now growing at an exponential rate. Most of this debris is in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and ranges from bus-sized discarded rocket boosters and defunct satellites, to tiny millimeter-sized fragments.

Continue reading “First Laser Space Debris Detection Made… in Daylight”

Hubble Examines Earth’s Reflection as an ‘Exoplanet’ During a Lunar Eclipse

Hubble eclipse

What would we look for in a distant exoplanet in the hunt for Earth-like worlds, and perhaps life? A recent observation carried out by the Hubble Space Telescope found tell-tale signatures from our home planet by looking at a familiar source under extraordinary circumstances: Earth’s Moon, during a total lunar eclipse.

Continue reading “Hubble Examines Earth’s Reflection as an ‘Exoplanet’ During a Lunar Eclipse”

Amazing Images of Comet F3 NEOWISE From Around the World

Comet F3 NEOWISE continues to dazzle in these spectacular images.

Cometary dawn. Image credit and copyright: Jonathan Truong.

Just. Wow. If you’re like us, your space-feed has been inundated with some pretty spectacular images of Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE as of late. F3 NEOWISE broke from the pack of good binocular comets for 2020 early this month, to become one of the best northern hemisphere comets in a generation.

Continue reading “Amazing Images of Comet F3 NEOWISE From Around the World”

Comet F3 NEOWISE May Perform in July

Watch for comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE at dusk in late July… if it survives perihelion.

Update – Friday July 3rd: Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE reaches perihelion today at 16:18 UT/12:18 PM EDT. As of writing this, several observers worldwide have recovered the comet at dawn, and it seems to be holding steady at magnitude +0.5. The dawn apparition is, however, a tough catch, as the comet stays very low to the northeast at dawn in early July. We’ve added in a finder chart (below) for this brief dawn apparition; things improve greatly towards mid-July, as the comet shifts over to the dusk sky and heads out away from the Sun. Let’s hope it stays bright, and maybe throws an outburst our way! We’ll continue to post updates on Twitter as @Astroguyz as the celestial situation warrants.

Ready for one more? 2020 has thus far offered up a steady celestial parade of binocular comets, including C/2019 Y1 and Y4 ATLAS, 2017 T2 PanSTARRS, and 2019 U6 Lemmon. Now, we have one more inner solar system interloper from the Oort Cloud with potential: C/2020 F3 NEOWISE.

Continue reading “Comet F3 NEOWISE May Perform in July”