Night Sky

Monday’s transit of Mercury: The year’s biggest sky event?

If you know any backyard astronomers, you’ve heard them rant and rave about the upcoming transit of Mercury. It is purportedly the biggest celestial event of the year. It’s when the smallest, speediest…

When does science cross over into hype?

Some have always questioned the space program. They point to a particular mission – for example NASA’s Juno spacecraft to Jupiter that will arrive 12 weeks from now – and ask whether we…

As Mercury spins, it has no axial tilt. (NASA)

It’s the year’s best time to observe the innermost planet

The innermost planet is weird in so many ways, it’s hard to find aspects that aren’t strange. This is the year’s best time to see Mercury as an evening star. It’s strangely satisfying,…

(Dion Ogust | Almanac Weekly)

How the Moon ties into Easter and Passover

Unlike today’s city folk, for whom moonlight is charming but useless, in the pre-electric centuries the Moon was vital. Although moonlight is 450,000 times less bright than sunlight, it adequately lights up paths…

(José Francisco Salgado)

HVP performs Borealis with Northern Lights projections at Bardavon

Canadian composer John Estacio had a startling experience when he moved to the city of Edmonton. It was “the first time ever I experienced the glorious spectacle of the Aurora Borealis. Up until that…

Jupiter's second moon, Europa, remains the likeliest place for extraterrestrial life. Its warm salty oceans get replenished with amino acids from incoming comets. To see more of NASA's space tourism posters, log on to: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/visions-of-the-future/

Close look at a giant in the sky

This week, Jupiter stands at “opposition” (to the Sun), when it’s closest to us, and brightest and biggest of the entire year. You’ve already probably noticed it. It’s that single ultrabright “star” in…

sun-@

Gravity waves, daylight and a brilliant planet

So now we’re sure that gravity waves exist. Is this exciting? I think most physicists are sort of excited. We’ve long believed that they’re real. Even way back in college, we all trusted…

This next week is an ideal time for stargazing and especially exploring the Moon, which is now ideally illuminated for breathtaking detail. None of it costs a penny. Please also consider coming to my free 8 p.m. talk at SUNY-New Paltz’s Coykendall Science Building this Tuesday evening, February 16, for the Mid-Hudson Astronomy Association. (photo by Thomas Bresson)

Romance in the heavens: Where to find free Valentine’s gifts

When I was a teenager, I fell in love a couple of times. I’d sweep my hand towards the night sky and say, “That’s Arcturus. That’s your star.” Girlfriends loved that. (Yes, I…

Aurora Borealis (Beverly)

Great easy spectacles…like this weekend’s unique triangle

When you go online, you probably first get to a welcome screen. It delivers the day’s news and sometimes includes a high-profile upcoming astronomy event. Since 2010, such sky headlines have revolved around…

Almanac Weekly’s Night Sky columnist Bob Berman in his observatory in Willow (photo by Philip Kamrass | Albany Times Union)

That striking planet alignment is this week

This past week, the major media carried headlines about a lineup of planets. They urged everyone to watch the sky just before dawn. Except they all got it wrong. It seems no one…

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