The only time it's safe to put a star atop your tree

“Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark? Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.” –National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Ahh, Christmas. It’s easy to forget how much the invention of the light bulb in 1879 reduced the number of tree fires in people’s homes. It was a mere three years later that people began … Read moreThe only time it's safe to put a star atop your tree

Messier Monday: The 'Little Sister' Cluster, M46

“A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite.” –Elizabeth Fishel With 110 deep-sky wonders to choose from in the Messier catalogue, our long-running series on Messier Monday promises to keep us busy for some time to come! As we’ve finally passed the winter solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, many new spectacular sights … Read moreMessier Monday: The 'Little Sister' Cluster, M46

The Largest Trainwrecks in the Universe

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” –Edna St. Vincent Millay It was just a little while ago that we were all speculating wildly — and optimistically — about Comet … Read moreThe Largest Trainwrecks in the Universe

Messier Monday: A Cluster Beyond Our Galaxy, M79

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” –Franz Kafka The night sky is our window into the Universe beyond the Solar System, and in some cases, even beyond our own galaxy! Perhaps the oldest useful collection of deep-sky objects, the Messier catalogue showcases 110 of the most prominent night sky wonders, … Read moreMessier Monday: A Cluster Beyond Our Galaxy, M79

Messier Monday: A High-Flying Cluster in the Winter Skies, M36

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” –Leonardo da Vinci Welcome back to another exciting Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! As Comet ISON dives towards the Sun and a nearly … Read moreMessier Monday: A High-Flying Cluster in the Winter Skies, M36

Messier Monday: The Closest Messier Original, M39

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.” –Abraham Lincoln It might be Veterans Day / Armistice Day all around the world, but it’s still Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! We may have been fighting wars for all of human history, but nearly all of … Read moreMessier Monday: The Closest Messier Original, M39

Messier Monday: A Four-Star Controversy Resolved, M73

“Controversy is only dreaded by the advocates of error.” –Benjamin Rush Welcome back to another Messier Monday! Each week, we take an in-depth look at one of the 110 deep-sky wonders of the Messier Catalogue, from distant galaxies to nearby star clusters, from nebulous star factories to ancient globular bunches, and from stellar remnants to … Read moreMessier Monday: A Four-Star Controversy Resolved, M73

Messier Monday: The Last 'Original' Object, M103

“Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” –Winston Churchill To kick off every week for nearly a year now, we’ve begun it with Messier Monday, where we take an in-depth look at the 110 deep-sky objects that make up … Read moreMessier Monday: The Last 'Original' Object, M103

Messier Monday: The Top-Heavy Gumball Globular, M12

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” –Khalil Gibran It’s time again for another Messier Monday! The Messier Catalogue was the original comprehensive and accurate catalogue of fixed, deep-sky objects visible to any dedicated (northern hemisphere) skywatcher with even the most primitive of astronomical equipment. Over the centuries, … Read moreMessier Monday: The Top-Heavy Gumball Globular, M12

What does the Universe really look like?

“On a cosmic scale, our life is insignificant, yet this brief period when we appear in the world is the time in which all meaningful questions arise.” –Paul Ricoeur Ask anyone who’s looked up at a dark sky on a clear, moonless night, and you’ll immediately hear tales about how incomprehensibly vast the Universe is. … Read moreWhat does the Universe really look like?