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Essay contest: Ship us your absolute best staring at tale


Win an 8-inch Celestron telescope via recounting your favourite skygazing story.

Within the autumn of 2002, I had a not-so-typical staring at enjoy. My spouse and I lived in El Paso, Texas, and we had a small observatory only a stone’s throw from our space. About 2 a.m. one morning, I walked out to the construction to look at some double stars. After I were given there, I spotted the door was once ajar, and one thing about it felt atypical.

So — and I’ve by no means executed this prior to or since — I pulled out a small pocket flashlight and switched it on. There, in the midst of the observatory, was once an grownup skunk. And it was once taking a look proper at me.

I be mindful considering, “Neatly, so long as it’s going through me, I’m secure.” I grew to become round and went again in the home to fetch a digital camera. A couple of seconds later I returned to the backyard, most effective to look my mammalian customer scurrying out between the bars of the fence.

Of always spent in that observatory, probably the most profound lesson got here from that night time: At all times shut your doorways.

Give it a shot

Whether or not your maximum memorable sky consultation comes to an surprising customer or an unforgettable sight in the course of the eyepiece, we wish to listen from you. Astronomy is accepting transient write-ups about your absolute best, maximum outstanding, favourite, and/or most unearthly staring at enjoy in birthday party of our 50-year anniversary. The winner will obtain a brand-new 8-inch telescope from Celestron.

Your maximum memorable remark doesn’t need to be a Sixteenth-magnitude quasar, Gyulbudaghyan’s Nebula, Pluto’s moon Charon, or person pink giants in Omega Centauri. It is usually a sighting of Jupiter with its 4 Galilean moons in a notable development, or a high-power take a look at the Moon’s Clavius Crater with its curving development of ever smaller craterlets. On the other hand, your tale may well be about one thing distinctive that came about all over your astronomy adventure or an staring at consultation, like my very own tale. In different phrases, any form of story has an opportunity to win.

The principles

Credit score: Celestron

Ship entries to essaycontest@astronomy.com with the topic line, “Celestron Essay Contest.” The duration will have to be between 50 to 350 phrases, and a couple of essays are allowed. Please come with your title, deal with, and speak to quantity. Contestants will have to live within the U.S. and be over the age of 18 at the date of submission. Staff and stockholders of Kalmbach Media Co. or Celestron and their households are ineligible to take part. No acquire is important to take part. Void the place prohibited.

The successful access might be selected via Astronomy editors in accordance with its glide, readability, and originality. The winner might be introduced on Astronomy.com and would possibly seem in a long run factor. The competition starts July 5, 2023, at 12:00:00 A.M. CDT and ends no later than Aug. 31, 2023, at 11:59:59 A.M. CDT.

The prize

Our buddies at Celestron have demonstrated their generosity via donating the prize for the successful access: a StarSense Explorer 8″ Smartphone App-Enabled Dobsonian Telescope.

This totally operational machine comprises the optical tube, Dobsonian base, StarSense Explorer dock, eyepiece rack, 2″ Crayford focuser with an extension tube and a 2″ to 1¼” adapter, a 25mm eyepiece, and extra. For more info at the scope, learn our evaluate of the 10-inch fashion within the April 2023 factor.

Extra tales

Credit score: NASA/Invoice Ingalls

Blazing tail

On March 23, 1996, I journeyed to central Oregon to seize a picture of Comet Hyakutake. Round 1 A.M., the comet’s coma was once close to Polaris and its tail stretched the entire means into Hydra. The celebs shining in the course of the lengthy tail produced an improbable 3-d impact. I noticed this was once more than likely a once-in-a-lifetime view, and I had to emblazon it in my reminiscence endlessly. — Rodney Pommier, astroimager and writer

Credit score: Jim Mazur/Wikimedia Commons

Comets and dumbbells

On a crisp Michigan night time a few years in the past, my good friend and I went out to look at a comet. We had been each seasoned observers and didn’t take a finder chart, most effective binoculars and a 4¼-inch scope. After some effort, we discovered a fuzzy object that needed to be the comet. My good friend in any case mentioned, “That’s now not a comet, it’s a dumbbell like the 2 folks!” Certainly, it was once the Dumbbell Nebula (M27). By no means go away house and not using a finder chart. — Raymond Shubinski, contributing editor


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