Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Stargazing

The truth is out there. Somewhere.

Pushing Toward Earth 2.0

University of Texas at Austin astronomers working with NASA's Kepler mission have helped to discover the first near-Earth-sized planet around a Sun-like star in the "habitable zone," the range of distances where liquid water could pool on a planet's surface. They used the university's McDonald Observatory to help confirm the finding, which has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

Stargazing Summary

Summer evenings offer the most glorious view of the Milky Way of the entire year. The glowing band of our home galaxy arcs from Sagittarius and Scorpius in the south to the graceful outline of the swan overhead to the west of Cassiopeia in the north. Although it's not visible from most light-polluted urban areas, under dark country skies it offers a magnificent sight.

More stargazing information »

Radio Program Highlights

If you want to start hearing the StarDate program in your area, you can request a station to carry our program by emailing the request to

August 3-9: Magnetars. It may sound like a villain from a Marvel comic book, but a magnetar is really the "corpse" of a once-mighty star — and the most powerful magnet in the universe. Join us for magnetars and much more.

August 10-16: Galactic Hub. The center of our Milky Way galaxy is filled with massive stars, massive gas clouds, and a supermassive black hole. Join us for details on the galactic center, plus a look at the Perseid meteors and more.

August 17-23: Moon meanderings. The Moon moves by a couple of colorful objects this week — the golden planet Saturn and the orange star Antares, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about some astronomical discoveries made in an unusual lab.

August 24-30: Hunting Planets. Astronomers at McDonald Observatory are hunting for a special class of planets, known as cold Jupiters. They can tell us a lot about whether our own solar system is different from the rest or just one of the pack.

Program schedule »

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Coming Up In StarDate Magazine

In our September/October issue, we'll fill you in on the National Park Service's efforts to preserve dark skies. Merlin answers your astronomy questions, and we've got tips and charts to aid your fall skywatching adventures.

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About SkyTips

SkyTips is a monthly email newsletter for visitors to McDonald Observatory and StarDate Online. Each issue features stargazing highlights, upcoming StarDate radio program descriptions, and other news. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and family.

SkyTips is a publication of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach Office, 2609 University Ave. A2100, Austin, TX 78712. Reproduction of SkyTips content is permitted with proper credit given to McDonald Observatory.

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