Category Archives: astronomy

Pan: a small “ravioli moon” of Saturn

On September 15, the Cassini spacecraft, 13 years after launch and after helping scientists acquire tons of knowledge, will cease its orbiting of Saturn and plunge into the planet’s atmosphere, disintegrating in the process. This suicidal move was deliberate, as scientists didn’t want to contaminate any of Saturn’s moons in case they prove habitable.  Just four […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

This is the 16,000th post I’ve put up since this website started in 2009. Next landmark: getting 50,000 subscribers! I am posting part 2 of reader Loren Russell’s photos of insects he found on the snow in a hike in Oregon. Part 1 was posted yesterday with this introduction: A new camera and an email from […]

Google Doodle celebrates discovery of exoplanets

An “exoplanet” is a planet outside the solar system, and today’s Google Doodle, remarkably timely (and cute), celebrates yesterday’s announcement (published in Nature; I haven’t yet read the paper) of seven exoplanets found orbiting around a single star called “Trappist-1”, forty light years away:   As NASA reports, there are seven planets, all roughly the size of […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a diversity of photos today, but remember to send your good ones in, as the tank is continually draining. The first one comes from Garry VanGelderen, who lives in Ontario (all readers’ notes indented): Male pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) on my suet feeder, in my backyard in the last few days [sent on Jan. […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Rodger Atkin sent a lovely dragonfly photo from Thailand, which may be a mimic. Though I know of no mimetic dragonflies, I don’t know much about Odonata, and Rodger  asks readers if they know anything about this one. His notes: This was taken in my yard in Thailand. I have never seen markings like those […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Remember to send in your good wildlife photos; the tank is getting a bit low. Reader Mark Sturtevant sent a batch of insect photos, which I’ve divided into two parts. Here are the first five with his notes (indented): The first picture is of a Pale Green Assassin Bug (Zelus luridus), which is feeding on an unidentifiable […]

Readers’ wildlife photos and video

We have two contributions today, the first being two landscapes from Stephen Barnard taken on November 15 from his home in Idaho. His caption: Here’s the sunrise this morning (looking southeast), and its counterpart, a minute or two later, in the northwest. And from reader Tim Anderson in Oz, we have what I believe is […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs

Today we have some moon shots, the first from Nicole Reggia: And this one from Stephen Barnard: Here’s a modest attempt at astrophotography. The color cast is due to the moon being slightly obscured by a wispy cloud illuminated by the setting sun. Stephen threw in a bull moose (Alces alces): . . . and […]

BBC Astronomy contest winners

The BBC has announced the winners of its Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, and although I’m not showing the prize-winning image (it doesn’t move me), here are a few I especially liked.  Go over and see the others. The BBC’s captions are indented: The runner-up in this section was also a composite image. Taken […]

Here’s the Philae lander!

This was a tough one, and I sure didn’t see it. Here’s the original picture as posted this a.m.: I’ve circled Philae: And here’s the detail of the area I circled; this and the top picture come from Rosetta Blog via reader coel: I think that at least one reader guess it correctly. The interesting […]