Author Archives: Paul Deans

Auriga with 3 open clusters

Predicting a Stellar Catastrophe

Observations made by professional and amateur astronomers during the upcoming, once-in-a-generation eclipse of Epsilon Aurigae may reveal whether or not the star is heading for extinction.

Black Holes Shape Spiral Galaxy Arms

In recent years astronomers have found that the more massive a galaxy's central black hole, the more massive the galaxy's central bulge of stars seems to be. Now it turns out that for some galaxies, this isn't true. Is there a better way to judge the mass of a galaxy's black hole just by...

eclipses

Eclipses in 2008

Don't miss February's total lunar eclipse (the last one anywhere until late 2010) — and look ahead to a total solar eclipse in exotic settings in August.

Dunlap Observatory

Dunlap Observatory, RIP

The University of Toronto has announced that the David Dunlap Observatory, situated north of Toronto, Ontario, and the home of Canada's largest optical telescope, is to be closed and sold.

The black ball moving between Earth, Spitzer, and the Small Magellanic Cloud represents the dark object. By recording the time difference between the peak-brightness events as measured on Earth and by Spitzer, the object’s parallax can be determined and its distance calculated. The scale is greatly exaggerated; the actual separation between Spitzer and the Earth is miniscule in comparison to the distance to the dark object and the SMC.

OGLEing a MACHO

By using an observing method that mimics human depth perception, astronomers have found a potential dark-matter object.

RegulusOcc_NA_LunDisks

Vanishing Acts

One of the most dramatic sights in the nighttime sky occurs when the Moon briefly hides a planet or star — an event called an occultation. On April 25th and 26th, many observers in northwestern North America will be treated to an unusual occultation double-header as the Moon conceals Saturn on one morning and...

Blue Lagoon

Iceland: Fire, Ice, and the Aurora

Until recently, the wonders of Iceland went largely unnoticed. Today, this small North Atlantic island is blossoming into a destination noted for its wealth of natural beauty — explosive geysers, gurgling mud pools, snakelike lava flows, majestic waterfalls, towering glaciers, steaming thermal baths, and magnificent northern lights. On November 1, 2002, thirty travelers journeyed...

A Beautiful Lunar Eclipse

Clear skies throughout much of the Americas and parts of Europe and Africa allowed millions of people to enjoy a beautiful lunar eclipse during the evening of Nov. 8–9, 2003.