Fathers Day Skywatchers Gift Guide 2022

Looking for a unique Father’s Day gift that gets Dad outside? Check out the ideas below for the stargazing dad from beginner to advanced. Would dad like to get a closer look at the stars without becoming an astronaut? You could start him out with a good pair of binoculars. If dad is ready for a telescope, don’t waste your money on one that is difficult to assemble or too complicated. Here is a list of quality telescopes ranging from $100 to $2,000. Don’t be confused by terms like focal length, aperture, reflector, and refractor. A reflector telescope uses mirrors […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Fathers Day Skywatchers Gift Guide 2022

Women Astronomers Part 3

Who discovered the most comets, identified the universe’s most common substance, and started the scientific search for extraterrestrial aliens? Women astronomers. Learn their stories. Women make up only 15% of today’s astronomers, yet they have made some of our most important astronomical discoveries. Let’s hear the stories of three of those amazing women in Part 3 of the Name a Star series on female astronomers. In the early 1970s, Vera Rubin was part of a team studying the rotation of spiral galaxies. To their surprise, they found that galaxies were rotating so fast that predictions showed they should break apart […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Women Astronomers Part 3

Women In Astronomy Part 2

In our first Name a Star blog on women in astronomy, we discovered that a group of women did most of the work on the star catalog for which Edward Pickering got credit. Learn how brilliant hard working women advanced the science of astronomy. In 1881 a team of women at the Harvard Observatory called “computers”, helped photograph and catalog the entire night sky to produce the Henry Draper Catalogue. These women painstakingly performed complex calculations needed to process data from those images. Why was it called the Henry Draper Catalogue? Because the widow of astronomer Henry Draper funded the […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Women In Astronomy Part 2

Female Astronomers Who Made The Discoveries, While Men Got The Credit

In honor of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black female Supreme Court Justice, Name a Star is pleased to shine a light on women pioneers in astronomy. Learn their hidden stories. Most would agree that Hypatia of Alexandria was the first female astronomer. Hypatia wrote explanatory notes for Almagest, an astronomical treatise by Ptolemy, the most influential Greek astronomer of his time. Hypatia was brutally murdered in 415 C.E. by a fanatical sect of monks who felt threatened by her level of knowledge and the encouragement for learning that Hypatia had inspired. We have to fast forward to the 18th century […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Female Astronomers Who Made The Discoveries, While Men Got The Credit

Constellation Hydra The Water Snake

Learn how Hercules defeated Hydra the multi headed Water Snake, which grew two new heads every time he cut one off. Find out more about the 88 constellations at Name a Star.  Symbolism: Hydra the Water Snake, the largest constellation in the night sky. Mythology: The oldest stories come from Hindu and Chinese mythology referring to dragons. Stories better known in the west come from ancient Greece describing a mythological hybrid of serpent, lion and bird. One myth associates Hydra with a crow that is sent by Apollo to fetch a cup of water. The crow stops to feast on figs instead of […]

Are Satellites Interfering With Stargazing?

Who Owns The Night Sky? A couple of years ago, an astronomer friend of mine invited the staff of Name a Star to watch a satellite train. Most stargazers have observed satellites, especially the largest satellite, the International Space Station, but what you may ask is a satellite train? Several companies are in the process of launching rocket ships that deploy multiple satellites at once. When the satellites are first released, they streak across the sky in a line before spreading out to their intended orbits. On the night 2 years ago when I saw my first satellite train, there […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Are Satellites Interfering With Stargazing?

Valentines Day Stars

Learn About The Stormy Relationship Of Double Stars That Sometimes Explode In A Super Nova Did you know there are double stars in the sky that are bound so tightly together that they have the same celestial address? Naming a double star makes a great gift, especially for Valentine’s Day. Let’s learn more about these astronomical phenomena. Scientists divide double stars into two types, visual binaries and optical doubles.  Binary stars are bound gravitationally sharing the same orbit. Optical doubles appear to be close, but are actually a chance line-of-sight alignment of two stars at different distances from the observer.  […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Valentines Day Stars

Memorials Stars

Memorials Come In Many Forms Including The Taj Mahal, A Local Park Bench, And Your Grandfather’s Gravestone Since we just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s discuss how we memorialize special people. Memorials come in many forms including granite soldiers, towering obelisks, historic buildings, roadside crucifixes, memorial bridges, stars in the sky, and no end of scattered mementos. Some of them were left by ancestors for reasons that may be obscured by time.  Webster defines memorial as something that keeps remembrance alive or commemorates. Memorials are an important part of every culture. They allow people to remember a deceased […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on Memorials Stars

Constellation Taurus The Bull Known For Over 15,000 Years

Symbolism: Bull. It has been associated with the bull in many cultures and mythologies: Greek and Egyptian among others, and even going back to Ancient Babylon.  Mythology: Taurus is the second sign in the zodiac and represents those born from April 20 to May 20. In Greek mythology, Taurus is usually associated with Zeus, who adopted the shape of a bull in order to seduce and abduct Europa, the beautiful daughter of the Phoenician King Agenor. Zeus mingled with the king’s herd and, being the most handsome bull there, he got Europa’s attention. The princess admired the bull and, when she sat […]

December 2021 Stargazing – Meteor Showers, Planet Alignments, And A New Comet

If you can stand the cold, December could be the best month of the year for stargazing. We better start with the planet Venus, because it won’t be back in the evening sky until December 2022. Get out of bed early (3:30am – 5:30am) on the mornings around Thursday, December 9 to see Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard), a new comet discovered in January of this year. It is located one-third of the way up the eastern sky, near the circle of stars that form the head of Serpens Caput (the Snake’s Head). You may need binoculars for a good view. […]

Posted in Recent | Comments Off on December 2021 Stargazing – Meteor Showers, Planet Alignments, And A New Comet