Cosmos North

Noctilucent Clouds – a rare meteorological phenomena for northern observers

Noctilucent clouds near Kakwa, Alberta Unless you’re dedicated enough to get up in the middle of the night with very good binoculars or a small scope to view the Virgo cluster of galaxies cresting our southern horizon, your stargazing options have greatly diminished. However, this gives me the chance to relate a uniquely northern meteorological …

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The Double Cluster – Stellar beauties from a distant spiral arm

One of my favourite star clusters resides high overhead in our winter sky. In fact, it is always in our sky, for our viewing pleasure, as it is circumpolar. It is close enough to the North Star (Polaris) that it never sets. I am actually referring to a pair of clusters, the famous Double Cluster …

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A Vast and awesome Universe – Understanding cosmic distance through analogy

When a budding interest in astronomy is pursued with even a cursory investigation into the nature of our cosmos, one quickly comes to the realization that the human mind cannot fully embrace the awesome extent of it all—the unfathomable distances and mind-bending time scales—the incomprehensible vastness of the gulf of space. And although even our …

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