“For I dipped into the Future,
far as human eye could see;
saw the vision of the world,
and all the wonder that would be.” –Alfred, Lord Tennyson
This weekend, the Sun is shining here in Portland, as we’ve gotten our first annual spell of warm, sunny days recently. It’s got me thinking of the approaching summer, and one of my favorite music festivals that’s coming up. One of the great groups I’m looking forward to is Keller and the Keels, who have an unparalleled penchant for amazing bluegrass mashups, such as their rendition of two very different songs by Beck/The Grateful Dead artistically sewn together, producing this six-minute masterpiece,
But it’s neither music nor sunshine that I’m most excited about today; it’s that I’ve got a new chance to share the wonders of the Universe with you!
All over the world, astronomy and the wonders of the night sky delight each and every one of us who dares look, and here on this blog, I’m always excited to share the little bit that I know and discover with you. But there are hundreds (if not thousands) of astronomy clubs across six continents and in all 50 U.S. States, and I’m about to get the opportunity to have a new, positive impact on each and every one of them!
Because nearly all of them — like my local Rose City Astronomers — put out a weekly newsletter. And for every astronomy club that wants it, whether they’re US-based or not, they can receive a column from NASA, once-a-month, written by a professional astrophysicist that’s of broad interest to a general audience. These columns are about anything ranging from heliophysics,
to astronomical events, happenings and missions in the Solar System, both here on Earth and well beyond,
to the biggest questions about galaxies, clusters, and even the entire observable Universe!
Well, if you’re not part of an astronomy club (or your club doesn’t publish NASA’s column for some reason), you’re going to want to make this a part of your life from now on.
Because, from now on, I’m the professional astrophysicist writing these columns for NASA!
I’ve just finished writing my first column, and it’s going to go out to more than 250 astronomy clubs! It’s got some great details about a remarkable, current event happening towards the end of next month: a rare, triple conjunction of three naked-eye planets in our night sky: Mercury, Venus and Jupiter!
Here’s a brief excerpt of what you’re missing out on (although, of course, I can’t show you the full content just yet!):
The Solar System is a busy place, with five wandering planets visible to the naked eye alone. When any two pass close by each other from our point-of-view, we see an astronomical conjunction, but on very rare occasions, three planets will find themselves grouped together: a triple conjunction. Towards the end of May, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will treat us to the best triple conjunction in years.
Thanks to a growing partnership between NASA’s The Space Place and Astronomy Clubs worldwide — and thanks to NASA reaching out to me for a little boost for their education and public outreach — we’re working to get even more people excited about the wonders of the Universe! If you want this column (and any-and-all future NASA columns) in your Astro Club’s newsletter, send an email here, and don’t hesitate to tell them that I sent you!
So yes, now I also write professionally for NASA, and get the opportunity to contribute a little more to education and public outreach worldwide! And if you’ve got a burning question, suggestion, or topic you need to see answered for the entire astronomy community, why not ask, right here, right now? After all, how often do you get the chance to reach an entire world-wide community?!
So, what are you waiting for? The Universe is a big, wondrous place, but it doesn’t wait for us to discover it; that’s up to you. Take advantage of and enjoy each day, and I’ll keep doing my best to share the wonders of the Universe with you in as many ways as I can handle!