Category Archives: Backyard Astronomy

Articles about astronomy in Randolph County, NC.

Date with meteor shower interrupted by latest coyote episode

After midnight, this Aug. 12 found me warmly ensconced in my anti-gravity recliner, enjoying a magnificent return of the Perseid meteor shower.

Stretched out in my front yard near Seagrove, I had an unobstructed view of the western sky. By 1 o’clock, I’d seen dozens of meteors, most of them very bright and leaving a brief trail.

Continue reading Date with meteor shower interrupted by latest coyote episode

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Blood Harvest Super Moon: Rare sight comes to us Sept. 27

“Watch for the Blood Harvest Super Moon” may sound a bit like an old “Twilight Zone” episode, but if you have the least inclination and sense of awe toward nature’s wonders, joint the millions of Americans who will do just that on Sunday night, the 27th of this month.

This is one event that is simply not to be missed, weather permitting.

Continue reading Blood Harvest Super Moon: Rare sight comes to us Sept. 27

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In August, watch for the Perseid meteor shower

Heads up, everyone! The August night time is the right time to experience one of nature’s most dependable spectacles, the Perseid meteor shower.

Like clockwork, the Earth orbits through the debris field left by periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862 and returned in 1992. Swift-Tuttle is the most dangerous object that we know of in the Solar System for its combination of size (16 miles wide), blistering speed (37 miles per second) and small but non-zero chance of hitting us in the far future that would make the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs look like small potatoes.

Continue reading In August, watch for the Perseid meteor shower

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Northern lights pay South visit … again

I could barely believe my ears as I finished my last cup of java at Southern Wholesale. It was the morning after St. Patrick’s Day.

“Richard, did you see the Northern Lights last night? It was all over Fox 8 and Channel 2 and really lit up the sky. What’s that other name for them?”

Teresa keeps up with local news and weather.

Continue reading Northern lights pay South visit … again

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You never know what you might see

There are few events in backyard astronomy as welcome as the arrival of a naked eye comet. Suddenly, regular observations of planets and deep sky objects are on the back burner as an interloper enters our neck of the woods.

The comet’s path is quickly plotted with precision, but much like a five-day weather forecast, what happens next is anyone’s guess. As sleuth David Levy says, “Comets are like cats; they have tails and they do what they want.” Continue reading You never know what you might see

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