Today is Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018

NAKED EYE
Keep your eye on the moon as January ends

Keep your eye on the moon as January ends

By David Ward If you enjoy being out in the winter moonlight, then put the night of Jan. 30-31 on your calendar. First of all, the moon is full, which happens every 29 days or so. Also, it is a blue moon, meaning that it is the second full moon in a calendar month. That...
Naked Eye: The clear, cold reality of winter nights: they are great for gazing

Naked Eye: The clear, cold reality of winter nights: they are great for gazing

We do not have a lot of clear nights this time of year, so if the clouds have parted be sure to take a look up at all the bright stars of winter. Cold weather actually makes for great star gazing, as long as you are not freezing to death out there...
Iridium satellites have a flare for the dramatic

Iridium satellites have a flare for the dramatic

By David Ward Have you ever seen a bright flash in the night sky, brighter than any star and lasting just two or three seconds? If so, you may have witnessed a phenomenon known as an Iridium flare. There are an estimated 3,000 spacecraft orbiting the earth right now. Sixty-six of these belong to a...
A long look into the night sky

A long look into the night sky

By David Ward   They say that on a clear day you can see forever, but on a clear night you can see even farther. Have you ever wondered how far you can see when you look up at the stars at night? It is almost impossible for us to comprehend the vast distances that...
It’s getting darker, go outside!

It’s getting darker, go outside!

By David Ward Does it seem like the days are getting shorter and shorter at an almost alarming rate? If so, you are not just imagining things. Right around the fall equinox, the length of daylight lessens faster that at any other time of year. On Sept. 22 the apparent motion of the sun in...
The news about neutrinos

The news about neutrinos

By David Ward The universe sounds like a pretty scary place. Galaxies are colliding, stars are exploding and black holes are sucking up stars and planets like giant cosmic vacuum cleaners. All that stuff is far, far away, light years away, right? Here on Earth you are safe. The cosmos cannot touch you here. All...
Cruising along in a quiet corner of the galaxy

Cruising along in a quiet corner of the galaxy

By David Ward It has been called the Backbone of the Night. The Cherokee Indians thought it was cornmeal strewn across the sky by a giant dog. The Greeks believed it to be spilled breast milk from a divine goddess. The philosopher Aristotle insisted it was “the ignition of the fiery exhalation of stars in...
Once-in-a-lifetime event will eclipse any other experience

Once-in-a-lifetime event will eclipse any other experience

By David Ward Less than two months from now we get to experience the event of a lifetime, a chance to stand under the shadow of the moon. It has been 38 years since a total eclipse of the sun has visited the continental United States. Here in the Methow Valley, most of the sun...
The stars — and planets — are not really aligned

The stars — and planets — are not really aligned

By David Ward If you can stay up late enough until it gets dark, and if you dare to brave the swarms of mosquitoes, there are things to see, as always, up in the night sky. The most obvious is the planet Jupiter. Look for it high in the southwest just as it is getting...
Saturn claims the starring role in parade of planets

Saturn claims the starring role in parade of planets

By David Ward As soon as it gets dark, go out and look to the east for a really bright object up there in the sky. If it is moving, it is probably the International Space Station or an airplane. If it is not, congratulations, you have found Jupiter. To make sure, check and see...