Posts by 

Bruce McClure

Polaris is the present-day North Star

Many people think Polaris is the brightest star, but it's only 48th in brightness. Still, Polaris is famous because the entire northern sky wheels around it.

Meet Omega Centauri, a giant star cluster

Omega Centauri is the Milky Way's largest globular star cluster and contains about 10 million stars. It's even visible from parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Comet Halley, parent of 2 meteor showers

The famous comet Halley spawns both the May Eta Aquariid meteor shower and the October Orionid meteor shower. It'll return to the inner solar system in 2061.

Eta Aquariid meteors are richer from the Southern Hemisphere

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is better in the Southern Hemisphere because sunrise comes later in May, where it's now autumn and they are moving toward winter.

Cor Caroli, named for the heart of a king

Cor Caroli is a binary star and the brightest star in the northern constellation Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Its name means Heart of Charles.

1st eclipse season of 2024 starts March 24-25

There are many cycles in the heavens. We're coming up to a noticeable cycle, the 1st eclipse season this year. It starts with a penumbral lunar eclipse.

On the equinox, are day and night equal?

Day and night are mostly equal on the equinox. There's a bit more daylight because the sun is a disk, not a point, and Earth’s atmosphere refracts sunlight.

Equinox fun: Track sun’s shift between now and the solstice

On this equinox, start tracking the sunset point on your western horizon. You'll see a mighty shift between now and the June solstice.

Year’s fastest sunsets happen around equinoxes

The year's fastest sunsets are at the equinoxes, and the slowest are at the solstices. We're talking about how long it takes the sun to sink below the horizon.

Equinox sun rises due east and sets due west

The 2024 March equinox occurs on March 20 at 3:06 UTC (10:06 p.m. CDT on March 19). At the equinox, the sun rises and sets due east and due west.