SETI Researchers can now Scan all Data at the Very Large Array for any Evidence of Alien Transmissions

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, located in central New Mexico. Credit: NRAO

On February 14th, 2020, the SETI Insitute and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announced a new partnership, which they appropriately named the Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (COSMIC SETI). This partnership will allow the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to participate in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) for the first time in its history.

In recent weeks, the project took a big step forward with the installation of fiber optic amplifiers and splitters on all VLA antennas, which give COSMIC access to the data streams from the entire VLA. Once this digital backend is online, COSMIC will have access to all data provided by the VLAs 27 radio antennas, which will be able to conduct observations 24/7. In the process, COSMIC SETI will examine around 40 million stars in the Milky Way for possible signs of intelligent life.

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Book Review: Atlas of Solar Eclipses 2020 to 2045

Love solar eclipses? It’s the main question on everyone’s mind post-totality, once the all-too-brief darkness gives way back to light of day…

When’s the next total solar eclipse?

Anyone who has stood in the shadow of the Moon during totality knows the thrill of a total solar eclipse. Now, there’s great new atlas for planning your next great eclipse-chasing adventure. The Atlas of Solar Eclipses 2020 to 2045 by eclipse-chaser and cartographer Michael Zeiler and Michael E. Bakich is an indispensable astronomical resource.

This guide covers every solar eclipse out to 2045, starting with this weekend’s annular eclipse across southern Asia on June 21, 2020, all the way out to the total solar eclipse of August 12, 2045 crossing North America, the Caribbean and South America.

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Review: Galileo and the Science Deniers by Mario Livio

So, you think you know Galileo? A new book out from Simon and Schuster publishing looks at the exploits of one of the most famous astronomers there ever was: Galileo Galilei. Galileo and the Science Deniers by Dr. Mario Livio not only looks at the life and times of the famous astronomer, but busts some of the most famous myths surrounding Galileo, and looks at his greatest discoveries and tempestuous clash with the Roman Catholic Church and its aftermath. Livio also connects the science denialism of the day with comparisons to modern clashes between politics and science.

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Our Review of Stellina: a ‘Smart Telescope’ for 21st Century Astronomy

Stellina may usher in a revolution in amateur astronomy.

It’s a common scene at star parties, post-Christmas. As darkness falls, someone approaches us with a new telescope, often in still unassembled. “I can’t figure this thing out,” is the inevitable refrain. “Can you show me how to use this @#$%! thing?”

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Catching the Peak of the 2020 April Lyrids

Stuck at home with clear skies? We’re all in a similar situation, as the ongoing pandemic sees most of the worldwide amateur astronomy community observing from home or from their backyard. One astronomical sure-fire event coming up this week requires no special equipment, just a set of working ‘Mk-1 eyeballs’ and a clear sky: the April Lyrids.

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Comet Y4 ATLAS Breaks Up…Enter Comet F8 SWAN

Comet SWAN
Newly discovered Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN, imaged using the remote Q56 Telescope Live in Australia. Image credit: E. Guido, M. Rocchetto, and A. Valvasori.

When it comes to comets, the only thing that is certain is the orbital path. Though the cosmos has yet to send us a really bright comet for 2020 to keep us occupied during the ongoing worldwide pandemic and lock down, it has sent us a steady stream of descent binocular comets, including C/2017 T2 PanSTARRS, C/2019 Y1 ATLAS, and C/2019 Y4 ATLAS. And though Y4 ATLAS won’t match the “Comet of the Century” media hype, another interesting binocular comet has just made its presence known over the past weekend: C/2020 F8 SWAN.

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Following Comet Y1 ATLAS: the ‘Lost Comet’ of Spring

Comet Y1 ATLAS
Comet C/2019 Y1 ATLAS from February 16th. Image credit: Slooh/José J. Chambó

Got clear skies? If you’re like us, you’ve been putting the recent pandemic-induced exile to productive use, and got out under the nighttime sky. And though 2020 has yet to offer up a good bright ‘Comet of the Century’ to keep us entertained, there have been a steady stream of good binocular comets for northern hemisphere viewers, including C/2017 T2 PanSTARRS and C/2019 Y4 ATLAS. This week, I’d like to turn your attention to another good binocular comet that is currently at its peak: the ‘other’ comet ATLAS, C/2019 Y1 ATLAS.

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Dawn Patrol: Following this Month’s ‘March of the Planets’

Slim Moon
A slender waning crescent Moon as seen from Jimena de la Frontera, Spain. Credit: Dave Dickinson

Are you hanging out at home this week, and looking to observe some naked eye planets? As we mentioned last week, while Venus is shining bright in the dusk sky, all of the other four naked eye planets of Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury are skulking in the early dawn.

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