February 10th, 2016
Waxing Crescent Moon

The North Star (more than you ever wanted to know)

First of all, the North Star is not the brightest star in the sky–not even close. Its formal name is Polaris and at magnitude +2, it barely makes the top 50 brightest stars in the sky (#48, not including the…

Mysteries of Saturn awe and inspire

You can tell by the expression on Shane Larson’s face when you ask him about astronomy, that he’s been excited about the topic for a long time. “Ask my mother and she’ll tell you I’ve lived and breathed neutron stars…


Mapping the ecliptic

The ecliptic is formally defined in two different ways: 1) the path of the Sun against the background stars; and 2) the plane generated by Earth’s orbit. The solar system (or at least the system of major planets) is actually…


Vernal Equinox marks the arrival of spring

The vernal equinox occurs on Friday, March 20th, 2009, at 5:44 am, MDT. This is the official beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. At this time the Sun is crossing the celestial equator from the southern half of the…