The Comet Lulin.
February 25, 2009


Photograph courtesy AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Johnny Horne. 


Who would want to miss a green comet that orbits clockwise instead of counter-clockwise, giving it the optical illusion of having its tail precede it?

Unusual Green Comet Set To Pass Earth  

Discovered by a Chinese teenager in 2007, the Lulin comet was best viewed Monday morning, but it’s still visible to observers, especially if you live in an area with less ambient light.


 Astronomer Stephen Pompea peers through the low-cost Galileoscope at University of California at Berkeley. The $15 telescope kit is now on sale.

Photo courtesy of Dean Coppola/Contra Costa Times

I found out today that I can make my own telescope at home that will provide the same view Galileo had 400 years ago — the Galileoscope. This homemade telescope kit was designed in tribute to Galileo Galilei and magnifies objects 50 times. For example, through the Galileoscope, you can see Saturn’s rings.

If you have children at home who wish on stars, here’s a fun way to show them what they’re wishing upon.

Or, if you, like me, are a writer on Query Road, here’s a way to get out of your own head and observe something other than your query inbox.

The Galileoscope™: An IYA2009 Cornerstone Project |

I plan on ordering two telescope kits tonight.

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, and Arizona is really starizona, with the starriest skies I’ve ever seen. I’m disappointed to have missed Lulin on Monday, but the skies never run out of new ways to awe and amaze.

Next time, I’ll be ready.