A Happy Halloween for Hubble
NASA administrator Michael Griffin today gave the Hubble Space Telescope a new lease on life by announcing that astronauts will visit the observatory in 2008 to make repairs and upgrades.
A Rare Transit of Mercury Occurs on Nov. 8, 2006
Usually you expect to see planets at night. But in broad daylight on Wednesday, November 8th, the planet Mercury will cross the face of the Sun.
Orionid Meteor Shower to Peak Oct. 20-24, 2006
The Orionid meteor shower isn't one of the year's richest, but it's pretty, producing up to 20 "shooting stars" per hour.
From Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a telescope-toting 747SP airliner, has received a fresh coat of paint in preparation for its first test flight.
New AAS Award for Backyard Research
A new award from the American Astronomical Society recognizes the contribution of backyard stargazers to advancing the science of astronomy.
Airborne Observatory Rolls On
After narrowly avoiding the budget ax, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is nearing its first flight.
"The Day We Lost Pluto"
In order to resolve their ongoing debate over the definition of the word "planet," astronomers seem prepared to demote Pluto.
Planet Debate Heats Up
All hell broke loose when astronomers began openly debating the definition of the word "planet" at the general assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Prague.
What's a Planet?
The biggest question facing the world's professional astronomers, now gathered in Prague, is how to define the word "planet" and whether the definition should include Pluto.
Sky Publishing Launches New Web Site
The publisher of Sky & Telescope and Night Sky magazines unveils a destination Web site for stargazing enthusiasts of all levels.
Senators Step In to Save Space Science
The US Senate is moving to boost NASA's budget and restore funding for a host of space-science missions now on the chopping block.
What is a Sundog, and How Did "Sundogs" Get Their Name?
Why are "sundogs" called by that name? Bob Johnson / SkyandTelescope.com Photo Gallery Before answering the why question, let me answer the what question that comes before: namely, what is a sundog, or mock Sun, in the first place? A sundog is a concentrated patch of sunlight occasionally seen about…
How can a telescope have an f/ratio of f/42?
I was amazed at Jim Melka’s beautiful picture of Mars on page 136 of the January 2006 issue but puzzled by the caption, which said that he used a 12-inch reflector at f/42. How is this possible? Knowing that a telescope’s f/ratio is its focal length divided by its aperture,…
When will the last total solar eclipse occur?
With the Moon slowly receding from Earth, there will come a time when it no longer has sufficient angular size to cover the Sun completely. When will the last total solar eclipse occur? When the Moon’s at its closest and biggest and it can no longer cover the Sun at…
How can I see more colors through my telescope?
Nebulae and galaxies invariably look like shapeless, colorless blobs in my 6-inch telescope, a far cry from their spectacular appearance in photographs. If I buy a 12- or 14-inch scope, will I see a dramatic improvement? Would that it were so! A larger telescope will better reveal the shapes of…
Why Are There No Green Stars?
There are red stars, orange stars, yellow stars, and blue stars. Why no green stars?
Could you see astronauts on the Moon?
If there were astronauts on the Moon, could we see them? I get some variant of this question almost every time I show someone his or her first view of the Moon through a telescope, especially at high magnification. The breathtaking sight of lunar craters, mountains, and other features down…
How can eyepieces offer a telescope's widest true field?
Some eyepieces are being advertised as offering the widest possible true field in any telescope. How is this determined? The amount of sky shown by an eyepiece is governed by the diameter of its field stop, the ring that defines the edge of the visible field. On a given telescope,…
DIY: Astronomy Projects & Guidance
My Place in the Dark
Twenty weekends and countless trips to the building-supplies store later, I'd done it — I had an observatory to call my own.
Big Weekend at Big Bear
Amateur astronomers seeking dark skies and great bargains flocked to the 2006 RTMC Astronomy Expo in California for Memorial Day weekend.