March Skies 2015
31 – The growing or waxing Moon is washing out more and more of the stars, though Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, the Lion, remains visible, tonight seen above our nearest celestial neighbor, about half way up in the east this evening. The two climb quite high into the south by 11:30 PM EDT.
April Skies 2015
Orion’s stars, so familiar for the past several months, are now sinking into the twilight. The spring stars may not dazzle in comparison, yet the Big Dipper is placed high in the northeast, Leo, the Lion champions the southern skies, and Gemini’s Twins settle into the west. Jupiter begins the month high in the south, while Venus simply dazzles one third of the way up in the west in the evening twilight. Late in the month, Mercury climbs into the western twilight, the beginning of a display that continues into May. Meanwhile, Saturn rises late in the evening, while Mars fades into the sunset, not to return until later in the year.
1 – April Fool's Day is a great day to talk about “foolish” ideas that keep making the rounds. For example, Jupiter, that brilliant object high in the south, has sometimes been described as a “failed” star. Not true, for Jupiter would have to be 80 times more massive to create hydrogen fusion inside, and become a star. It does look nice, though!
2 – The dazzling light of the Moon leaves the brighter stars to admire, including the bright star due east at 9:45 this evening, well to the left of the Moon. This is Arcturus, whose pale reddish orange color indicates it is a red giant star, formerly like our Sun, but its core has run out of its primary fuel, hydrogen. It is now cooling off (turning more red) and getting larger (brighter).
Orion in late February (click on image for larger image in a new tab)
The latest information on the Rosetta Mission from ESA, solar activity, and the Aurora Borealis (northern lights).
Sky and Telescope’s safe eclipse viewing guide
You can view the partial eclipse safely and easily following the directions provided.
The Mars Science Laboratory – Curiosity Rover
This is the home page for the Curiosity Rover. Explore the site to find images, videos, and volumes of science information.
The Mars Exploration Program
This is the home page for all of the on-going missions to Mars.
The Mars page of the website Nine Planets
Nine Planets is a great website featuring information about each planet (and even though there are only eight “planets”, you’ll find information about nearly all of the moons, dwarf planets, and other small solar system bodies)
Sky & Telescope's Interactive Star Chart
You must register first (it's free) to use this on-line chart. Follow the directions to get a chart that will show the sky for any location, at any time. You can also create a .pdf file to view from your computer any time.
The Old Farmer's Almanac
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Each day brings a fascinating look at astronomy, and an explanation of what you are seeing.
Vermont Astronomical Society
The Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) is a group of amateur astronomers that has been serving northern Vermont for over 45 years. Membership ranges from beginning naked-eye stargazers to advanced amateurs with home observatories and elaborate equipment.
This is the home of NASA, where science ranges from the Earth to the ends of the universe. That means there's a lot to explore!
News and information about the Earth-Sun environment, including astronomy events (eclipses, moon phenomena, asteroids, etc.), discoveries, and Northern Lights.
Sky & Telescope Magazine
Books: There are thousands of books, and each has information that can be helpful. You might collect a few before you find one that matches your taste and way of thinking about astronomy. To help you get started, check with your local library or favorite book store for the following titles:
The Stars by H. A. Rey
Rey, well known for writing and illustrating the "Curious George" books, wrote this wonderful introduction to the night sky in the 1950s, and it remains one of the best for a wide range of ages and interests.
NightWatch by Terrence Dickinson
This ring-bound book leads the beginning star gazer through the heavens, rich in photographs, charts, and lots of practical information.
Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinkley Allen
For those who love the myths and origins of star names and constellations, this is a wonderful start. Some of the interpretations have been challenged in recent years as others have looked into the subject, so it is not considered the final authority. But it is still a wealth of ideas and information.
Night Sky: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guides) by Mark R. Chartrand
This all around guide book shows you how to find the constellations, describes the nature of the heavens and the objects we see, and how to set up and use a telescope
Exploring the Night Skies with Binoculars by David Chandler
This is must, because it gives such practical and realistic expectations about what you can see.
Also of interest:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy by Christopher De Pree and Alan Axelrod
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo
The Sky: A User’s Guide by David Levy