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Low Sun, Long Shadows and Icy Atmospherics

Astronomy Questions & Answers

What is the Winter Solstice?

The moment the Sun reaches its southernmost point in the sky marks the December solstice, the official beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere (where it is called the winter solstice) and a time of great celebration in many northern cultures.

Meteor trail over Chelyabinsk

Solar System

AGU 2017: News from the Solar System

­­­Here's a quick look at results announced at the 2017 American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans: exploding meteoroids, Saturn's ring-atmosphere connection, and more bright spots on Ceres.

Geminids in 2017 at 2am

almost no moonlight to interfere

Impressive Geminid Meteors to Peak on December 13–14

If it’s clear Wednesday night and Thursday before dawn, keep a lookout high overhead for the "shooting stars" of the Geminid meteor shower.

New Product Showcase

Rozendaal Astrolabes' Wood Astrolabes

Rozendaal Astrolabes now offers a series of wood astrolabes (starting at $80). These fully functional, attractively handcrafted instruments are 15 centimeters (6 inches) in diameter.

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SBIG's Aluma Series Deep-Sky Cameras

SBIG announces the Aluma Series of cooled imaging cameras (starting at $3,699). They have been engineered with new sensors on the central axis of the unit.

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Pocket Guide from Waterford Press

Waterford Press produces The Night Sky ($7.95), a laminated, folding pocket sky guide featuring seasonal glow-in-the-dark star charts.

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PlaneWave Instruments' Robotic Mount

PlaneWave Instruments introduces the L-500 Direct Drive Mount ($18,000). This single-arm fork mount can operate in equatorial or alt-azimuth configurations, and is rated to support up to 200 pounds of equipment

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Astrograph from Knaeble Optical Systems

German manufacturer Knaeble Optical Systems announces the RCM 360 FC/Ti astrograph (starting at $25,000).

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Beginner Astronomy Guide

Looking for light reading to help introduce a beginner to astronomy? 101 Amazing Sights of the Night Sky by George Moromisato might be your answer.

Science-based Q&A

The Kavli Foundation Q&A: A New Map of Dark Matter?

The prevailing view of the universe has just passed a rigorous new test, but the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy remain frustratingly unsolved.

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Sky-Watcher's Stargate Truss-Tube Dobsonian Telescopes

Sky-Watcher unveiled its Stargate Truss-Tube Dobsonian Telescopes at NEAF. These large 18- and 20-inch f/4 reflectors start at $5,999.

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Eclipse Timer App

If you enjoyed the solar eclipse and want to photograph the next one in 2019, the Solar Eclipse Timer ($1.99) will help you plan and practice your photo sequence.

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Backroadz Truck Tent

Napier introduces the Backroadz Truck Tent ($189.99). The truck-bed tent is designed to fit within the cargo area of your pickup truck to provide a clean, dry camping area that sets up on short notice.

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Observatory Control from Lunático Astronomía

Lunático Astronomía now offers the Dragonfly, a remote observatory control box (450 € — about $530) that works in conjunction with a smartphone app.

Astronomy Questions & Answers

The Kavli Foundation Q&A: What's Life Like at the Remotest Telescopes?

From oxygen-thin mountaintops to barren deserts to the South Pole, many of the world’s most powerful telescopes are in distant, inhospitable environments. Three researchers share their adventures pursuing science at the farthest corners of the world.

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Telescope Controller from Astrometric Instruments

New from Astrometric Instruments comes the PrimeTCS-i telescope controller for equatorial or alt-azimuth telescopes (starting at $3,495).

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Nikon WX Astronomy Binoculars

Nikon introduces the WX series of super-wide-angle binoculars. The 10×50 IF ($6,399.95) features a proprietary field-flattener lens system.

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SkyGuider Pro Equatorial Tracker from iOptron

iOptron unveils the SkyGuider Pro Camera Mount Package ($498), a complete, ultra-portable mount for wide-field astrophotograpy.

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iNova's New Modular CCD Cameras

iNova announces a new series of modular CCD cameras to enable virtually any type of astronomical imaging, the Smart Imaging System (starting at $629 for the SIS224C).

3122 Florence by Gianluca Masi m

0:00 universal time midnight

Backyard Observers Ready to View Asteroid's Close Flyby

This week the big near-Earth asteroid 3122 Florence is passing relatively close by, and skywatchers with even modest telescopes have a chance to spot it.