Spying a Rare ‘Ring of Fire’ Around Venus at Inferior Conjunction

Amazing things happen in the day-to-day sky that often go unnoticed during our normal routine. Just such a curious ‘non-event’ happened this week, when Venus reached inferior conjunction between the Earth and the Sun on its race from the dusk to the dawn sky. And what’s even more amazing, is the fact that some skilled observers followed this passage and caught sight of Venus as a tiny blazing ‘ring of fire’ silhouetted against the dazzling sky.

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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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Comet Y4 ATLAS Breaks Up…Enter Comet F8 SWAN

Comet SWAN

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

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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