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Astronomy ... and You 2020
“Uncle Bob”

A Brief Overview of 2020 – Intentions and Offerings


A celestial map from the 17th century, by the Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and in the U.S. having been published before 1924.

Every so often I pick a year to write about the night skies, the last being 2017. In 2020 my intention is to rekindle your interest, if it needs it, and go a bit beyond the well-known facts of the heavens. We won’t shy away from the concepts and vocabulary, the often unbelievable statistics, and even some minor details of interest. I’ll mention historical and cultural connections when they add to understanding.

I’ll be using Robert Burnham’s 1978 comprehensive three-volume Celestial Handbook as my primary source. I have more recent works, but I have another goal in mind, and that is to use Burnham, the last 40 years, and the most up-to-date information to show that the purported rock-steady, constant universe is actually evolving – sometimes doing it in very small time frames. In order for me to dabble in detail, I’ll limit the topic each month to one constellation, uh, mostly.

… and You

This second part of my title comes from my teaching philosophy, a large part of which is “learn by doing.” I taught an adult group in the Dartmouth College community in a course with this same title. We had a great time doing tasks and learning from one another – with projects, research, A/V, and floor demos. Everyone knows a little astronomy. Most people I know look at the stars on a clear night and have questions, but I hope my readers are ready and willing to pursue answers. I will leave many questions unanswered and point you to helpful tools and other resources. Observing will be only a part of your activity. We begin 2020 a month early, in cold, cold December, but many answers can be had without leaving your cozy chair and warming laptop. Get ready for us, Taurus, Orion, et al.!

Pegasus ... and You

Cassiopeia ... and You

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