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

Monday, August 1, 2016

August Stargazing

2016 is zipping by! Holy black holes, Batman!

A New Kind of Black Hole

An image based on a supercomputer simulation of the cosmological environment where primordial gas undergoes the direct collapse to a black hole. Read more below.

Stargazing Summary
Mars, Antares, and Saturn remain tightly grouped this month, although Mars begins to move away from the others at month's end. By then, Venus will be inching its way into the early evening twilight, beginning a long run as the Evening Star. One of August's greatest treats, though, is the Milky Way, which arcs overhead by midnight. It's anchored in the south by teapot-shaped Sagittarius, which is next door to Scorpius, home to Antares and the temporary home of Mars and Saturn.

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 1-7: Rising beauty. The beautiful planet Venus is rising from the evening twilight this month, and we'll tell you how to find it. We'll also talk about impacts on Jupiter, the "imperial" month of August, and much more.

August 8-14: Moon, meteors, and more. The Perseid meteor shower is at its best this week, and we'll tell you all about it. And we'll also talk about a shifting tableau of the Moon, two planets, and the heart of the scorpion. Join us for this and much more.

August 15-21: Muleskinner. Astronomers have come from many different backgrounds, including one who started his career as a muleskinner, then helped measure the expansion of the universe. Join us for Milton Humason and more.

August 22-28: Galactic sunflower. One of the most beautiful galaxies around looks like a cosmic sunflower. It may owe that appearance to an act of cannibalism. Join us for the Sunflower galaxy, bits of stars on the ocean floor, and much more.

August 29-September 4: Faint giant. The giant planet Neptune is at its best this week, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about some "Neptunes" in other star systems. Join us for the planet Neptune, plus a "wimpy" dark matter particle and more. 

Program schedule »

Hear StarDate every day on more than 330 radio stations nationwide. Find an affiliate »

Coming Up in StarDate Magazine
In our next issue, get the latest on the search for a large, unseen planet some astronomers think is lurking in the Kuiper Belt, and meet pioneering 19th-century British astronomer Elizabeth Brown, who traveled to Russia to study a solar eclipse.

Subscribe today

News From the Observatory
A New Kind of Black Hole, Once a Theory, Now Firmly within Observers' Sight
Astronomers Aaron Smith and Volker Bromm of The University of Texas at Austin, working with Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have discovered evidence for an unusual kind of black hole born extremely early in the universe. They showed that a recently discovered unusual source of intense radiation is likely powered by a "direct-collapse black hole," a type of object predicted by theorists more than a decade ago.

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.

No comments: