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Orion: The best and brightest

My favorite constellation is Orion the Hunter. Within its boundaries the mighty hunter has two stars of the top 10 brightest stars in the night sky, and no other constellation has those bragging rights. He possesses many celestial treasures. Orion is also one of those few constellations that...

Date: 02/07/2016 | Life

Shortest month is long on great stargazing

Wintertime is a wonderful time for stargazing, the super bowl of stargazing, as far as Iím concerned.

Date: 01/31/2016 | Life

Five planets on celestial parade this week

We have an opportunity to easily see five fellow planets in the solar system at one time, and you donít need a telescope or even a pair of binoculars.

Date: 01/24/2016 | Life

Thereís another planet out there - we just canít see it

Astronomers said theyíve found evidence that our solar system may hold another giant planet, hidden in the dark, distant badlands far beyond Neptuneís orbit.

Date: 01/21/2016 | Nation & World

The great goat hauler of the night sky

Something you donít see all the time, at least around this part of the world, is a retired ace chariot driver schlepping around with a mama goat slung over one of his shoulders and kid goats in the crook of his elbow. But you can see that in the night sky. Itís the constellation Auriga the...

Date: 01/17/2016 | Life

The highest and brightest in the midnight hour

I have a late night assignment for night owls this week. If you can handle the late hour and the January cold, thereís something really special waiting for you in the heavens that will make braving the cold and loss of sleep worth it.

Date: 01/10/2016 | Life

Get up early this week for spectacular star shows

The very best celestial show going on this month is in the low southeast sky about 60 to 90 minutes before sunrise. Itís the Venus, Saturn, and crescent moon conjunction, or what I like to call a celestial hugging. A telescope will help you enjoy the show, but itís just about as great with the...

Date: 01/03/2016 | Life

The moonís absence is good news for star watchers

In January we are in the best times and also the worst times for stargazing in Snohomish County, but if you bundle up and think warm, youíll be rewarded with what I think is the best celestial show of the year.

Date: 12/27/2015 | Life

The celestial birds fly off for the winter

Even though weíre well into the holiday season, thereís still some summer in the cold evening skies. In July and August the summer constellations were soaring nearly overhead but now the last of the of them are still hanging in there in the western Everett sky. Meanwhile in the eastern heaven the...

Date: 12/06/2015 | Life

Cold winter nights can be ideal for stargazing

Thereís no hiding from it. Winter stargazing is not for the faint of heart, but if you bundle up and keep your feet and face warm, the rewards are heavenly.

Date: 11/29/2015 | Life

Black hole swallows star ó and burps

Astronomers have caught black holes in the act of murdering stars before. But a study published Thursday in Science claims to have caught a step in the crime that has remained elusive until now.

Date: 11/28/2015 | Nation & World

A celestial Christmas shopping guide

Here is my annual buyersí guide to telescopes for amateur stargazers.

Date: 11/22/2015 | Life

Newest Pluto pics show day in life of the planet

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. ó NASAís newest Pluto pictures depict an entire day on the dwarf planet.The space agency released a series of 10 close-ups of the frosty, faraway world Friday, representing one full rotation, or Pluto day. A Pluto day is equivalent to 6.4 Earth days.

Date: 11/20/2015 | Nation & World

The starry sky has lots of human-made company

Prior to 1957, everything you saw high in the Everett night sky was untouched by human hands, assuming there arenít any other humans out there beyond our solar system.

Date: 11/08/2015 | Life

Hole in the sun is going to make the skies dazzle

Get ready for a light show.The sunís about to spit charged particles our way. And that solar wind of protons and electrons will interact with the Earthís magnetic field to light up the skies with a dazzling display of color through Wednesday.

Date: 11/04/2015 | Nation & World

Winter stars on the rise; summer stars bid adieu

Today is the day we go back to Pacific Standard Time, and that's just fine with me. First off, we get an extra hour of sleep, but more importantly for stargazers it's dark enough for stargazing long before 7 p.m. Without a doubt, we're entering the best stargazing season of the year...

Date: 11/01/2015 | Life

Saturnís geyser-spouting moon glows in close-up picture

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. ó Saturnís geyser-spouting moon Enceladus has a new portfolio, thanks to the Cassini spacecraft.

Date: 10/30/2015 | Nation & World

Oxygen in comet challenges solar-system theories

BERLIN ó Scientists say they have detected significant amounts of molecular oxygen coming out of a comet, an unexpected find that may have implications for the search for alien life and understanding how the solar system formed.

Date: 10/29/2015 | Nation & World

Scientists watch as black hole obliterates star

A star has just been ripped apart by a black hole several million times the mass of our own sun.

Date: 10/25/2015 | Nation & World

A galaxy far, far away that you can see with your eyes

This time of year you have the best chance to see the farthest thing away that you can see with the unaided human eye in the Everett sky. Itís the Andromeda Galaxy ó the next door neighbor to our home Milky Way Galaxy ó and if you look in dark enough sky, you can see it with the naked eye.

Date: 10/18/2015 | Life

Little dolphin of stars swims in night skies

I just love the little constellation Delphinus the Dolphin, and I hope to make fall in love with it too. Itís in the upper tier of the smallest of constellations seen in the night sky. When most people think of constellations, they think of dot-to-dot pictures made by stars. The vast majority of...

Date: 09/13/2015 | Life

New Pluto photos show jumbled mountains, possible dunes

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The spigot has opened again, and Pluto pictures are pouring in once more from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.These newest snapshots reveal an even more diverse landscape than scientists imagined before New Horizons swept past Pluto in July,...

Date: 09/11/2015 | Nation & World

Perseids meteor shower likely to be a good show

WASHINGTON — People looking for a shooting star to wish upon may find Wednesday overnight to be a dream come true. Celestial timing will help people see more of the oldest meteor shower known to Earth, the Perseids, when they peak midnight local time Thursday,...

Date: 08/12/2015 | Nation & World

Get ready for Perseid perfection

One of the best annual meteor showers of the year is lighting up the night sky this week . Itís the old reliable Perseid meteor shower, which peaks this coming Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, although the meteor viewing should be pretty good most of the week.

Date: 08/09/2015 | Life

After bounce, comet lander serves up surprises

Scientists with the European Space Agencyís Rosetta mission may have had a scare when the Philae lander bounced off of the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but the bumpy touchdown actually had a silver lining: It allowed them to take measurements in two spots instead of one.

Date: 08/02/2015 | Nation & World

Blue moon? Celestial event comes with a catch

WASHINGTON ó This is an astronomy story that comes up only once in a blue moon, like Friday. Maybe.

Date: 07/30/2015 | Nation & World

A celestial treasure and one to watch for

I hope at least one time this summer you can get away from the urban and suburban skies and really take in the splendor of the summer night time skies. Also donít forget that reclining lawn chair so you can stargaze in complete comfort.

Date: 07/19/2015 | Life

NASA gets stunning images from Pluto mission

Earth: Meet Pluto.Scientists for NASA's New Horizons mission Wednesday shared some tantalizing early discoveries about Pluto — and the first piece of what will soon be a stunning photographic mosaic of the dwarf planet.The most detailed photo of Pluto ever...

Date: 07/15/2015 | Nation & World

Behold Bootes, the happy hunter

It starts happening as late summer merges into early fall. Bootes the hunting farmer is in close pursuit of Ursa Major, the Big Bear in the Snohomish County skies. These two constellations are right next to each other in the early evening northwestern sky and they are easy to see for...

Date: 07/12/2015 | Life

Why will NASA spacecraft fly right past Pluto?

NASA's encounter with Pluto is coming up quick — just a few days away, on Tuesday — but it will end just a few hours later. After almost a decade of speeding through space to get to Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft is gonna keep zipping right on past it.But...

Date: 07/10/2015 | Nation & World

Fly-by of Pluto delivers science and so much more

We need a pick-me-up. Amid the vandalizing of Palmyra, the imminent extinction of the northern white rhino, the disarray threatening Europe's most ambitious attempt ever at peaceful unification — amid plague and pestilence and, by God, in the middle of Shark Week — where can...

Date: 07/10/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Summertime is Saturn time

If you have a new telescope, now's a great time to put it to the test, because Saturn's on the rise in the early evening southeastern sky.It's the brightest star-like object in that part of the celestial dome. The next brightest is Antares, a star with a ruddy glow that...

Date: 06/07/2015 | Life

June stargazing: the late show worth staying up for

Weíre into the shortest nights of the year, so good stargazing canít really begin until after 10 p.m., and the show is pretty much over by 4:30 a.m. Make sure to get your afternoon nap so you can enjoy natureís late, late summer star show.

Date: 05/31/2015 | Life

Ursa Major and Minor find safety in the sky

Last week in Starwatch I attempted to explain the tricks for finding Ursa Major, the Big Bear and Ursa Minor, the Little Bear in local skies. The Little Bear and the famous Little Dipper are one and the same, and the Big Dipper makes up the rear end and tail of the Big Bear, Ursa Major,...

Date: 05/24/2015 | Life

Stars of winter exit evening sky

While the boys of summer have taken the baseball fields, the boys of winter are beginning their long goodbye in the western evening sky.I'm referring to Gemini the Twins, one of the brighter constellations that's been lighting up the winter heavens since December. Because of...

Date: 04/19/2015 | Life

Messenger spacecraft will crash on Mercury

After more than four years of orbiting Mercury, NASAís Messenger spacecraft is about to end its mission with a bang. After more than 4,100 orbits around the closest planet to the sun, the satellite will crash into Mercuryís crater-pocked surface April 30.

Date: 04/17/2015 | Nation & World

Scientists find organic molecules near distant star

Weíre not special. Or our complex organic molecules arenít, anyway. And thatís good news in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Date: 04/09/2015 | Nation & World

Goddess of love has lots of company this week

Anyone whoís even occasionally gazed into the Everett early evening sky this past winter and early spring has seen that bright ďstarĒ in the west. At first you might even mistake it for an incoming aircraft. In fact itís so bright that at times it can even cast a faint shadow in the dark...

Date: 04/05/2015 | Life

Total lunar eclipse dazzles skywatchers

LOS ANGELES — The total eclipse of the moon lasted only a short time, but it still dazzled.Early risers in the western U.S. and Canada should have been able to catch a glimpse before dawn Saturday. The moment when the moon was completely obscured by Earth's shadow...

Date: 04/04/2015 | Nation & World

Look up! Total lunar eclipse early Saturday

LOS ANGELES ó Donít blink. Thereís a total eclipse of the moon Saturday ó and itís an unusually short one.

Date: 04/03/2015 | Nation & World

Total lunar eclipse offers treat for West Coast

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The heavens are providing a holiday treat this weekend, but you'll have to be quick to catch it.Weather permitting, sky gazers along North America's West Coast can enjoy a total lunar eclipse in the pre-dawn hours Saturday.Scientists...

Date: 04/02/2015 | Nation & World

New cast of characters coming to local skies

All winter long weíve been dazzled and amazed by the bright luminaries that make up the cast of what I call ďOrion and his gang.Ē As we move into April, those great winter constellations like Orion are still shining brightly in the southwestern sky.

Date: 03/29/2015 | Life

Mars rover completes Ďmarathoní on another world

LOS ANGELES ó How long does it take to complete a marathon on Mars? About 11 years and two months - if youíve got six wheels and a solar-powered battery.

Date: 03/26/2015 | Nation & World

‘Goldilocks planets’ abound in our galaxy

For a planet to have liquid water — something necessary to support life as we know it — it has to be within a certain distance of its star. Too close, and the water burns up. Too far away, and it's a frozen wasteland. But according to new research, most stars in the galaxy...

Date: 03/19/2015 | Nation & World

Jupiter's Ganymede has a huge ocean

WASHINGTON — NASA announced evidence Thursday that Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, has a saltwater ocean under its icy surface. The ocean seems to have more water than all the water on Earth's surface.New Hubble observations of Ganymede's magnetic field strongly...

Date: 03/12/2015 | Nation & World

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