A Voyage Back in Time The Regal Princess is a beautiful, majestic cruise vessel designed to sail to exotic destinations. In February 2018 Wendee and I boarded it for a single reason: we wanted to visit the El Caracol Observatory at Chichén Itzá. Did we take a 7-day cruise just to see an old pile of rocks? Indeed we did. On the penultimate day, we climbed aboard a ferry boat, crossed an endless stretch of water separating the island of Cozumel from the mainland of the Yucatán peninsula, and then took a 2 ½ hour bus ride across Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, near the site of the cosmic impacts that led to the extinction 90% of the species of life on Earth, including the dinosaurs. We saw this incredibly rich and beautiful forested land before arriving at the enchanting Chichén Itzá. One of the great cities of the Mayan civilization, Chichén Itzá’s two pyramids, multiple stone columns, and other buildings still rise … Continue reading →
About David Levy
David H. Levy is one of the most successful comet discoverers in history. He has discovered 22 comets, nine of them using his own backyard telescopes. With Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Palomar Observatory in California he discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994. That episode produced the most spectacular explosions ever witnessed in the solar system. Levy is currently involved with the Jarnac Comet Survey, which is based at the Jarnac Observatory in Vail, Arizona but which has telescopes planned for locations around the world.
Levy is the author or editor of 35 books and other products. He won an Emmy in 1998 as part of the writing team for the Discovery Channel documentary, "Three Minutes to Impact." As the Science Editor for Parade Magazine from 1997 to 2006, he was able to reach more than 80 million readers, almost a quarter of the population of the United States. A contributing editor for Sky and Telescope Magazine, he writes its monthly "Star Trails" column, and his "Nightfall" feature appears in each issue of the Canadian Magazine Skynews.
David Levy has given more than 1000 lectures and major interviews, and has appeared on many television programs, such as the Today show (4 times), Good Morning America (twice), the National Geographic special "Asteroids: Deadly Impact", and ABC's World News Tonight, where he and the Shoemakers were named Persons of the Week for July 22, 1994. Also, Levy has done nationally broadcast testimonials for PBS (1995-present), and for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon (1998-1999). He and his wife Wendee host a weekly radio show available worldwide at www.letstalkstars.com. In 2004 he was the Senator John Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions at Arizona State University. He has been awarded five honorary doctorates, and asteroid 3673 (Levy) was named in his honor. In 2010, David became the first person to discover comets visually, photographically, and electronically.
On June 6, 2010, David was awarded a Ph. D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for his dissertation for the Department of English on the topic of "The Sky in Early Modern English Literature: A Study of Allusions to Celestial Events in Elizabethan and Jacobean Writing, 1572-1610."
Levy is President of the National Sharing the Sky Foundation, an organization intended to inspire new generations to develop an inquiring interest in the sciences, or in other words, to reach for the stars.
Levy resides in Vail, Arizona, with his wife, Wendee. After teaching Physical Education in the Las Cruces school district for 26 years, in 1996 Wendee became the manager of Jarnac Observatory, and was promoted to Director in 2004. Wendee is an integral part of our Jarnac Comet Survey, helping to organize the program and scan the images. As Secretary-Treasurer of the National Sharing the Sky Foundation, Wendee plays a vital role in its activities. - From David's website.
A predawn total eclipse of the Moon In the last two hours of darkness before dawn on the morning of January 31, 2018, the Moon waded into the shadow of the Earth. The result was a total eclipse of the Moon. Despite a forecast of high clouds during the night, the sky remained clear. There is a profound difference between a total eclipse of the Sun and a total eclipse of the Moon. As some of us witnessed last August, a solar eclipse begins quietly and innocuously, and as the Moon crosses over the Sun, the sky begins to darken, first gradually, and later precipitously and suddenly until, for a magic minute or two, the Sun disappears and is replaced by a jeweled crown. The eclipse of the Moon began gradually around 4:00 am, as the Earth’s partial shadow or penumbra began to work its way across the face of the Moon. Instead of a sudden start, the beginning is so … Continue reading →
The Geminids! The Geminids are the most active, surprising, gorgeous, and wonderful meteor shower of the entire year. I recall first observing this meteor shower on December 13, 1961 from Montreal. During observing session No.12E that night, I observed 15 meteors. Over the decades since then, I have counted thousands of Geminid meteors, all appearing to radiate from a point in the sky within the constellation of Gemini. The Geminids are the richest meteor shower of the year, but the 2017 version was fantastic even by its own standards. During session 20201RM2 on December 13, 2017 (I’ve had lots of observing sessions since 1961), over the course of about 90 minutes, I counted 64 meteors, of which some were so bright that I captured them on film. The attached pictures show two versions of the brightest meteor I saw that night. One includes a view of the sky over the Jarnac Observatory including that wondrous shooting star as it scratched … Continue reading →