Bob King

Copyright Bob King. Used with permission.

We finally have some clear nights in the forecast, and the timing is perfect to see Comet NEOWISE.

By the way, star gazing is a social-distance-friendly activity and your mask may prevent mosquitos from getting up your nose!

Find out more about how to locate Comet NEOWISE here.

Matteo Grassi/Unsplash

Who needs fireworks when you have a Fourth of July penumbral eclipse to look forward to?

Find viewing information for Duluth here and or your location at this website.

Stellarium

No problem seeing June's Strawberry Moon this week, and the twins Castor and Pollux are hanging out with Mercury in the eastern sky.

But  Venus has temporarily disappeared in the sun's glare. (Folks of a certain age may want to enjoy this flashback to John Stewart's album Bombs Away Dream Babies and one of the singles from that album,"Lost Her In The Sun")

Damian Peach. Used with permission.

Yes, it's the Full Flower Moon Wednesday (and Thursday).

Yes, comet SWAN is moving northward and we should be able to see it toward the end of next week.

But the best use of your time between now and next Tuesday, when you can see the constellation Libra and it's three "coolest-ever named stars," is composing a poem rhyming Zubenelgenubi, Zubeneschmali, and Zubenelhakrabi.*

Jeremy Gillard/Flickr

  You say it "Lye-ra" and I say it "Lee-ra"*

  You say it "Vay-ga" and I say it "Vee-ga"

  "Lye-ra"

  "Lee-ra"

   "Vey-ga"

   "Vee-ra"

   Let's go outside and see!

*with apologies to George Gershwin

The best time to see Starlink satellites, the Lyrid meteor shower, how to use YouTube to learn how to pronounce unfamiliar words, and why you need to put next Tuesday on your calendar.

Helpful links:

The biggest moon of the year takes over the night sky tonight, plus a citizen-science photography experiment, and Mars, Saturn and Jupiter line up with the moon next week like "a popcorn string of planets."

And Comet ATLAS, (like a lot of things these days) seems to be falling apart.

©Bob King. Used with permission.

March 18: the crescent moon will be clustered with Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn

March 19: Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn will still be clustered together

Also March 19: it's the first day of spring and the sun will rise due east and set due west

March 20: Mars slides below Jupiter

And when all of these things happen in just a couple of days ... it's a conjunction conjunction.

Full Moon over Lake Superior
Bob King

The only good thing about nights where the air temperature is -20 and the wind chill is worse is that you can be pretty sure the skies will be clear for star-gazing.

Venus, Mars and the "precious" nature of night vision this week on Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy.

©Bob King. Used with permission.

Punctuation matters.

Even the Universe says so.

Larry Weber lets word nerds know when they can see the "celestial semicolon" this weekend, and Bob King even provided an illustration.

In other news, Larry speculated that, if it gets too warm next week for reindeer to fly safely, Christmas might need to be cancelled.

Robson Hatsukami Morgan/Unsplash

Next week, a conjunction* of Venus and Saturn ... and on Friday the 13th, consider a moonlight ski and a peek at the Geminid meteor shower!

You can read about more unearthly goings-on at Bob King's blog here.

 

Bob King/Stellarium

We've got the chance of northern lights tomorrow (Wednesday, November 20) but that will pale in comparison to Thursday night's meteor outburst!

This morning on StarDate, we discovered that, over the years, comets have gotten some seriously bad press.

In fact, in 1910, folks were so concerned about the gases they feared were emitted by the tail of Halley's Comet, they were buying up pills alleged to combat the toxins (Apparently for those too poor to afford the rental of a "submarine boat").

It's true: in space, no one can hear you scream.

But here at KUMD, everyone can hear us offer Bob King's new book as a thank-you gift for your qualifying membership pledge.

©Bob King. Used wth permission.

The moon's going through an awkward phase.

It's gibbous right now, something Italian speakers know means convex on both edges, and fans of Stephen King know means scary and something awful is going to happen.

Bob King. Used with permission.

It turns out that the worst enemies of star-gazers may be clouds - and clear skies.  Clouds: well, that's obvious.  But if that big ol' full moon is hanging over your shoulder, messing up your eyes' ability to adjust to the dark, it's not helping, either.

The solution?

Don't stay up late; get out early.

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