A trinity of new videos about the Vatican Observatory is available on YouTube! In these videos produced by Brady Haran and James Hennessy, Brother Guy Consolmagno shows you some of the Vatican Observatory’s more notable meteorites, various items in the Vatican Observatory’s Museum, and gives you a tour of the Vatican Observatory’s historic telescopes. In an interview, Br. Guy answers numerous questions about faith and science, and discusses the role of the Vatican Observatory. The Pope’s Space Rocks (YouTube:Objectivity #221 – 10:55) Brother Guy Consolmagno gives Brady Haran a tour of the Vatican Observatory; he shows meteorites from the Vatican Observatory’s collection, and tells some interesting stories behind a few of them. He shows a remarkable antique clock from the end of the 1800s – its pendulum filled with Mercury! Br. Guy also shows the Vatican flag that flew to the Moon on Apollo 17! Before the advent of digital imaging technology, astronomical imaging was done using photographic plates; Br. … Continue reading →
About Bob Trembley
Bob is a lifelong amateur astronomer, and the 2019 outreach officer for the Warren Astronomical Society, and a volunteer NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Bob does a lot of astronomy outreach - he lectures about astronomy and space science, and sets up his telescopes at schools, planetariums, conventions, and other venues. From 2014-2016, he was the editor of the Warren Astronomical Society's newsletter.
Bob is fantastically interested in asteroids and near-Earth objects (NEOs), and a HUGE fan of Kerbal Space Program; he is determined to improve the teaching of astronomy and Space History throughout Michigan, and the U.S. Follow Bob on Twitter, Facebook, The Web, and YouTube.
The constellation Orion is moving slowly towards the west each evening; the star Betelgeuse has been dimming since last year, and is no longer in the top 25 brightest stars – which several of my astronomer friends have commented is “just weird!” As I was writing this post, I saw on SpaceWeather.com that apparently the dimming of Betelgeuse has stopped. Predawn observers have three planets to choose from above the southeastern horizon: Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. The crescent Moon joins Venus above the western horizon at dusk from February 25th – 28th. The Moon appears near the star Aldebaran at 10:00 PM on March 1st – 2nd. The Moon is a waxing crescent, visible toward the southwest in early evening. The first quarter Moon occurs on March 2nd, it will be visible high in the southern sky in early evening. Moon News: Historic NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Dies at Age 101 This morning, a NASA hero passed away at the … Continue reading →
Remember how last week I mentioned that “Things have been a little exciting for me the last couple days?” Adding to the excitement of having a new granddaughter, our house sold the day after it went on the market! The inspector has come and gone, the appraisal takes place tomorrow, and now we’re looking for a new home – whew! My granddaughter, Alayanora Lee Festian, got to meet her aunt Rachel (my eldest) and her great-grandparents (my wife Connie’s parents) last weekend – great grandma and grandpa were in heaven! Rachel left her niece a Star Wars blanket – which is awesome, but I would have expected something Harry Potter-themed from Rachel… The planets splashed across the southeastern horizon before dawn are joined by the Moon for the next several mornings – the Moon will appear near Mars on Feb. 18th, Jupiter on Feb. 19th, and Saturn on Feb. 20th. The Moon actually occulted the planet Mars at dawn … Continue reading →
Things have been a little exciting for me the last couple days – I’m a grandpa! My daughter Amanda and her husband Sam delivered Alayanora Lee Festian at home on Sunday Feb. 9th – under the full Moon. All are doing well – astronomy-related baby clothes suggestions are welcome! 🙂 The day after my granddaughter was born we put our house back on the market – calls for showings started pouring in while we were visiting our granddaughter. When you show your house, you have to be away from the premises when prospective buyers are at a showing – and the house has to be cleaned… have I ever mentioned that I own parrots? I also work from home, and I have a new granddaughter… I may have been a bit distracted the last couple days. Jupiter and Mars nearly align with the star Antares above the southeastern horizon before dawn – follow those three to find Saturn, still low … Continue reading →
The Moon is the “star” of the sky this week, going from just past first-quarter through full, and having close encounters with several stars – this ought to make the Moon a great observing target all week! Saturn makes a return to the eastern morning sky, joining Jupiter and Mars – Saturn is a bit low on the horizon, and may be lost in the glare of the Sun for several weeks. M 22 Messier 22 or M22, also known as NGC 6656, is an elliptical globular cluster of stars in the constellation Sagittarius, near the Galactic bulge region. It is one of the brightest globulars that is visible in the night sky. The brightest stars are 11th magnitude, with hundreds of stars bright enough to resolve with an 8″ telescope. M22 is located just south of the Ecliptic, and northwest of Lambda Sagittarii (Kaus Borealis), the northernmost star of the “Teapot” asterism. M22 was one of the first globulars to be discovered, on August 26, 1665 by Abraham Ihle and it was included in Charles … Continue reading →
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope will transmit the final science and engineering data to mission control today and then be commanded off, ending its amazing and surprising mission. Spitzer has enabled groundbreaking advances in our understanding of planetary systems around other stars, the evolution of galaxies in the nearby and distant universe, the structure of our Milky Way galaxy, the infinite variety in the lives of stars, and the constituents of our Solar System. Long after Spitzer has ceased transmissions, scientists will continue making discoveries from its 16 years of data for decades to come. NASA’s Spitzer used an ultra-sensitive infrared telescope to study asteroids, comets, planets and distant galaxies. Some of its top discoveries include: Recipe for “comet soup.” Spitzer observed the aftermath of the collision between NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft and comet Tempel 1, finding that cometary material in our own solar system resembles that around nearby stars. The largest known ring around Saturn, a wispy, fine structure with 300 … Continue reading →
The handle of the “Big Dipper” asterism points nearly straight down toward the northeastern horizon at midnight this week. The waxing crescent Moon appears near at dusk on Jan 29th & 30th. The Moon appears near the star Aldebaran at dusk on the evenings of February 2nd-4th. Jupiter appears low and Mars appears high above the southeastern horizon at dawn this week. M 47 Messier 47 (M47 or NGC 2422) is an open cluster in the constellation Puppis. It was discovered by Giovanni Batista Hodierna before 1654 and independently discovered by Charles Messier on February 19, 1771. It was later independently discovered again, under the current name NGC 2422. There is actually no cluster in the position indicated by Messier, which he expressed in terms of its right ascension and declination with respect to the star 2 Puppis. However, if the signs of Messier’s coordinate differences are changed, the position matches that of NGC 2422. Until the equivalency of M47 with NGC 2422 was found, M47 was considered a lost Messier Object. The discovery that M47 and … Continue reading →
We’re running a membership drive this month – our goal is 150 new members. Please subscribe and help support this website and VOF education and outreach programs. The constellation Orion appears high in the southwestern sky at midnight this week; at the latest meeting of the Warren Astronomical Society, the dimming of the star Betelgeuse was discussed – members mentioned that the star had almost dimmed to the level of the other three major stars in the constellation… which was “just weird.” Here's another comparison showing the dimming of #Betelgeuse – this time shot at 50mm focal length (and cropped in on Orion). At left is a shot from Jan 2019, right is the one from last night. Identical equipment/exposures/apertures etc. HQ version here: https://t.co/V2PGbskgVI pic.twitter.com/ailwKLfAdn — Will Gater (@willgater) January 19, 2020 Jupiter makes a return to the southeastern at dawn! Jupiter will appear very low on the horizon this week. Mars continues to appear near the star Antares … Continue reading →
Check out the Vatican Observatory Foundation’s YouTube channel! We have several videos about current astronomical issues as well as shorts films about the relationship between the Catholic Church and Science today and historically – we’ve also linked to numerous other videos featuring VOF staff. We’re running a membership drive this month – our goal is 150 new members. Please subscribe and help support this website and VOF education and outreach programs.Continue reading →
We’re running a membership drive this month – our goal is 150 new members. Please subscribe and help support this website and VOF education and outreach programs. Mars appears near the star Antares in the southeastern horizon before dawn this week; a waning crescent Moon joins them on January 20th. The Moon appears near the star Regulus at midnight on January 13th, and near the star Spica on January 17th. Venus appears high and bright above the southwestern horizon at dusk this week. The Moon is a waning gibbous, rising after sunset, visible high in the sky after midnight, and visible to the southwest after sunrise. The third quarter moon occurs on January 17th, rising around midnight, and visible to the south after sunrise. After January 17th, the Moon will be a waning crescent, visible low to the east before sunrise. Moon News Impact craters come in many sizes. In this image, the crater on the top left, called … Continue reading →
With NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System, you can learn about the Earth, the solar system and beyond! You can fly alongside current spacecraft, take guided tours of historic space missions, travel to the planets, their moons, comets and asteroids. You can visualize and animate Earth climate data, and take virtual tours of exoplanets that have been discovered orbiting other stars! NASA’s Eyes is FREE for Windows and MAC, and is great for use in the classroom or at home! I use Eyes every week to create images for my “In the Sky” posts; in this post, I’ll cover the Eyes on the Solar System module of the Eyes app. When you launch the Eyes client app, you are presented with a splash screen showing the three Eyes modules; Eyes on the Solar System (middle) has two buttons: simple and advanced mode. Simple mode presents you with a very minimal user interface, and enters into a Kiosk-mode after a few … Continue reading →
I am the 2020 outreach officer for the Warren Astronomical Society – this is a position I’ve held several times before; I receive requests from individuals and groups that would like to use our observatory, or have a member come to their location and set up telescopes and/or give presentations about astronomy and space science. I’ve got a great outreach team – several of our members are volunteer NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors; we frequently get excellent feedback from the public for our events! One of the things I want to do this year is resurrect a popular Messier observing program that late member Larry Kalinowski ran years before I joined. I’m going to base it off of the Astronomical League’s Messier observing program, and I want to create some “standard” easy-to-use forms for recording and submitting observing logs. Mars appears above the star Antares in the southeastern horizon before dawn this week The Moon appears near the star Aldebaran on … Continue reading →