Stargazer Gift Guide For 2022

Find bargains for the perfect gift for the skywatcher or astronomer on your 2022 Holiday gift list. Check out the ideas below from Name a Star. Stargazers  from beginner to advanced and young to old. Know someone who is dreaming of becoming an astronaut, but currently a couch potato?  You could start that special person with a good pair of binoculars. If they are ready for a telescope, don’t waste your money on one that is difficult to assemble or too complicated. Here is a list of quality telescopes ranging from $100 to $2,000. Don’t be confused by terms like […]

Fall And Winter Best Time To View Meteor Showers

Did you miss all of the summer meteor showers? No worries. The best meteor show of the year is coming in November. Learn the times and techniques for viewing nature’s amazing fireworks. The Orionids meteor shower is active right now and peaks on October 20 and 21. Unfortunately the moon is near full, so you might not see much. Orionids are named after the constellation Orion, because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the same area in the sky as the constellation. Learn more about constellations at Name a Star. The meteors are actually dust from Haleys Comet. […]

Constellation Lyra The Lyre Of Orpheus Includes Interesting Double Stars

Learn about the double stars of the constellation Lyra and how Orpheus used his lyre to charm women and Hades the god of the underworld. He even saved Jason and the Argonauts from the lure of the Sirens.  Symbolism: Lyra the lyre, a musical instrument with strings used in antiquity. Mythology: Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus, the musician and poet in Greek mythology. There are many stories of Orpheus. In one he saves Jason and the Argonauts when his beautiful music quells the voices of the Sirens as they attempted to lure the Argonauts to their death on the […]

Fathers Day Skywatchers Gift Guide 2022

Looking for a unique Father’s Day gift that gets Dad outside? Check out the ideas below for the stargazing dad from beginner to advanced. Would dad like to get a closer look at the stars without becoming an astronaut? You could start him out with a good pair of binoculars. If dad is ready for a telescope, don’t waste your money on one that is difficult to assemble or too complicated. Here is a list of quality telescopes ranging from $100 to $2,000. Don’t be confused by terms like focal length, aperture, reflector, and refractor. A reflector telescope uses mirrors […]

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Women Astronomers Part 3

Who discovered the most comets, identified the universe’s most common substance, and started the scientific search for extraterrestrial aliens? Women astronomers. Learn their stories. Women make up only 15% of today’s astronomers, yet they have made some of our most important astronomical discoveries. Let’s hear the stories of three of those amazing women in Part 3 of the Name a Star series on female astronomers. In the early 1970s, Vera Rubin was part of a team studying the rotation of spiral galaxies. To their surprise, they found that galaxies were rotating so fast that predictions showed they should break apart […]

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Women In Astronomy Part 2

In our first Name a Star blog on women in astronomy, we discovered that a group of women did most of the work on the star catalog for which Edward Pickering got credit. Learn how brilliant hard working women advanced the science of astronomy. In 1881 a team of women at the Harvard Observatory called “computers”, helped photograph and catalog the entire night sky to produce the Henry Draper Catalogue. These women painstakingly performed complex calculations needed to process data from those images. Why was it called the Henry Draper Catalogue? Because the widow of astronomer Henry Draper funded the […]

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Female Astronomers Who Made The Discoveries, While Men Got The Credit

In honor of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black female Supreme Court Justice, Name a Star is pleased to shine a light on women pioneers in astronomy. Learn their hidden stories. Most would agree that Hypatia of Alexandria was the first female astronomer. Hypatia wrote explanatory notes for Almagest, an astronomical treatise by Ptolemy, the most influential Greek astronomer of his time. Hypatia was brutally murdered in 415 C.E. by a fanatical sect of monks who felt threatened by her level of knowledge and the encouragement for learning that Hypatia had inspired. We have to fast forward to the 18th century […]

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Constellation Hydra The Water Snake

Learn how Hercules defeated Hydra the multi headed Water Snake, which grew two new heads every time he cut one off. Find out more about the 88 constellations at Name a Star.  Symbolism: Hydra the Water Snake, the largest constellation in the night sky. Mythology: The oldest stories come from Hindu and Chinese mythology referring to dragons. Stories better known in the west come from ancient Greece describing a mythological hybrid of serpent, lion and bird. One myth associates Hydra with a crow that is sent by Apollo to fetch a cup of water. The crow stops to feast on figs instead of […]

Are Satellites Interfering With Stargazing?

Who Owns The Night Sky? A couple of years ago, an astronomer friend of mine invited the staff of Name a Star to watch a satellite train. Most stargazers have observed satellites, especially the largest satellite, the International Space Station, but what you may ask is a satellite train? Several companies are in the process of launching rocket ships that deploy multiple satellites at once. When the satellites are first released, they streak across the sky in a line before spreading out to their intended orbits. On the night 2 years ago when I saw my first satellite train, there […]

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Valentines Day Stars

Learn About The Stormy Relationship Of Double Stars That Sometimes Explode In A Super Nova Did you know there are double stars in the sky that are bound so tightly together that they have the same celestial address? Naming a double star makes a great gift, especially for Valentine’s Day. Let’s learn more about these astronomical phenomena. Scientists divide double stars into two types, visual binaries and optical doubles.  Binary stars are bound gravitationally sharing the same orbit. Optical doubles appear to be close, but are actually a chance line-of-sight alignment of two stars at different distances from the observer.  […]

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