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

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Stargazing

Do you feel jaded?  Do you need to experience a little bit of awe at something much bigger than yourself?  I'm not talking about a religious experience. That crap is totally man-made. 

Get your ass outside where you can see the night sky without the glare of city lights.  It's something that humans have done for centuries, for millennia, and it's awed and inspired anyone who takes the time.

Sparkling Galaxies

Thousands of galaxies make up the Coma Cluster, one of the largest and most massive clusters in the universe. This view shows hundreds of those galaxies, including the two most massive   a pair of giant elliptical galaxies just left and right of center. These galaxies contain a trillion or more stars, which spread across a million light-years. [Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/Univ. Arizona]

Stargazing Summary

stargazing iconThe constellations of spring climb to prominence on April evenings. Leo is high in the sky as night falls; under fairly dark skies, it's easy to see the outline of a lion. Virgo follows the lion, highlighted by blue-white Spica. And Boötes, the herdsman, rises parallel to Virgo, highlighted by yellow-orange Arcturus, one of the brightest stars in northern skies. Most of the naked-eye planets are in great view as well. Mercury is low in the western sky for most of the month, brilliant Jupiter climbs high, and Mars and Saturn climb into the late-evening sky by month's end.

More stargazing information

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Radio Program Highlights

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April 4-10: Spreading Out. In the tightly packed confines of a globular cluster, it might be fairly easy for a civilization to spread across hundreds of worlds, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about the weather on an alien world, and much more.

April 11-17: Going High-Tech. A couple of constellations that scoot across the southern sky this week represent high technology — of the 18th century. We'll have details on these gizmonic constellations, plus an evening planet and much more.

April 18-24: Bright Flashes. The most brilliant flashes in the universe may be powered by the birth of some of the darkest objects: black holes. Join us for gamma-ray bursts, plus the Moon and a couple of bright planets and much more, right here.

April 25-May 1: Tech Talk. As with everything else in life, technology is playing a bigger role in astronomy — from robotic telescopes to giant cameras that'll photograph the entire night sky. Join us for this, plus the end of a mission of discovery and more.

Program schedule »

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Coming Up in StarDate Magazine

Next up is our Summer Reading Issue, where we'll bring you excerpts from new books in astronomy and space science. We'll also bring you skywatching tips and charts, plus the latest astronomy news.

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News from the Observatory

First Discovery of a Binary Companion for a Type Ia Supernova
A team of astronomers led by The University of Texas at Austin's Howie Marion has detected a flash of light from the companion to an exploding star. It provides the best evidence on the type of binary star system that leads to Type Ia supernovae. This study reveals the circumstances for the violent death of some white dwarf stars and provides deeper understanding for their use as tools to trace the history of the expansion of the universe.

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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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