Today is Monday, Dec. 10, 2018

NAKED EYE
Under assault by the universe

Under assault by the universe

By David Ward The universe is a scary place. Lurking out there in the depths of the cosmos are unbelievably massive black holes sucking up everything in sight. Not to mention supernova explosions, huge stars in their death throes blasting their guts out across the vastness of space. Then there are entire galaxies slamming into...
Infinitely intriguing

Infinitely intriguing

By David Ward The universe is a big place. We know that there are perhaps trillions of galaxies out there, each with hundreds of billions of stars. If these sound like big numbers, they are. Our minds simply cannot grasp the vastness of it all. Astronomers estimate that there are more stars visible in their...
Fanciful star patterns tell ancient stories

Fanciful star patterns tell ancient stories

By David Ward Ancient people saw a lot of strange creatures in the night sky above. They did not have our modern day wonders like iPads or smart phones to distract them. They simply gazed up into the cosmos at night and their imaginations went wild. It is a natural tendency for us humans to...
Feeling star-struck by the vastness of the universe

Feeling star-struck by the vastness of the universe

By David Ward How many stars do you think you can see up in the night sky? I often ask this question at my stargazing events. Usually the answer I hear is “millions at least” or “ billions and billions.” Actually, if you have really good eyes and there is no moon to wash out...
Drench yourself in meteor showers

Drench yourself in meteor showers

By David Ward August is meteor shower month, and if the skies are still clear of smoke, it will be a great time to see lots of shooting stars. Last year’s show was spoiled by a large, bright moon that washed out the dark skies. This year the moon is out of the way and...
Let the planets be in your summer skygazing orbit

Let the planets be in your summer skygazing orbit

By David Ward Welcome to the summer of the planets! Have you ever thought about buying a small telescope to show your kids the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter? Now might be a good time because all the naked-eye planets are on display this summer. Let’s start with what is easy to...
Stargazing runs in the family

Stargazing runs in the family

By David Ward I come from a long line of amateur astronomers. For generations, my ancestors from both sides of the family have gazed up in wonder at the beauty of the night sky. My mother even wrote a column about the stars for a newsletter at the retirement home where she lived her last...
Count your lucky stars — if  you can

Count your lucky stars — if you can

By David Ward Have you ever been out under a dark night sky filled to the brim with stars? Maybe you were camping out somewhere in the wilderness far away from city lights. Maybe you wondered how many stars you could see. I often ask this question at a star-gazing program. The answer is usually...
Bear with us for the story of Arcturus

Bear with us for the story of Arcturus

By David Ward A sure sign of spring for stargazers is the Big Dipper rising in the northeast. Look for it standing on its handle as soon as the sky gets dark. Follow the curve of the handle down and to the right towards a bright orange-looking star low in the east. Arcturus is its...
Looking for real star power? It’s out there

Looking for real star power? It’s out there

By David Ward Standing outside on a peaceful star-studded winter night, it is impossible for us to comprehend the tremendous raw power of the stars. In the daytime we get a feel for the power of the sun. It is too bright to look at and it will burn our skin if we are not...