21 results for author: James Lewis


The fascinating hobby of moon study

First, watch the full moon rise from the eastern horizon — preferably with binoculars. It’s fun to see the top ridge of the moon come up first, then the rest of the moon. Select an eastern horizon that is free of obstructions. Your horizon should be as clear as possible and as level as you can find.

TAURUS THE BULL – THE CONSTELLATION FOR JANUARY 2021

 Taurus the Bull, the star constellation for January 2021, is pretty hard to beat. For me, it has about everything one would want: the remnants of an exploding star, two beautiful star clusters and an attractive giant orange star. Taurus is easy to find. First, find Orion the Hunter in the southeast sky. (You may want to go to www.skymaps.com to help you locate features in the night sky for each month.) Locate Orion’s belt stars, create an imaginary straight line connecting the stars, then follow the line up and to the right. You will come to a prominent “V shape” of stars. You have found Taurus’ face. If you ...

MARS IS HERE AGAIN

 I am really excited to be writing about Mars. I grew up in the days when it was widely believed that Mars had canals which carried water to many places on the planet. There were creatures, maybe even people on the planet, which had a culture older than any on our Earth. The Mars creatures in the public’s mind were vastly more intelligent than Earth dwellers. They used the canal water for agriculture, manufacturing and drinking.  In October 1938, Orson Welles and other radio actors presented a radio drama which pretended to cover, in a fake newscast, an invasion of Earth by Martian creatures. It was very realistic....

HERCULES

 It’s October already. Nights are getting longer. You don’t need to wait so long after supper to get out to star-gaze. When it’s dark enough and the skies are clear, you must go outside to see the stars. This month we are featuring the constellation Hercules, well-placed above the horizon in the western sky. There are many interesting things about this Constellation, but we’ll mention only a few highlights. Hercules is one of the strong men in Greek and Roman myth. Hercules was fathered by Zeus, the chief god and the mortal woman was Alcmene. Naturally, Zeus’ wife became jealous, but that’s another story....

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS

 Art Linkletter was right when he said “Kids say the darndest things.” Kids have an amazing way of transforming our world into a wonderland. I wish I could remember all the funny things that youngsters said to me when I worked in the one-room schools of Marathon County from 1954 to 1965. I remember some which I would like to share with you. I was working in the two-room school in Knowlton, which is in south-central Wisconsin. The elementary teacher of grades 1 – 4 referred three first graders who lisped. I knew that 6-year-old children who lisp usually outgrow it in time, but I needed to keep a record. Picture ...

SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT COVID-19

 Over eleven hundred deaths from Covid-19 have happened in Wisconsin. This is more than terrible! This number represents a huge loss to all the families who have lost parents, children, relatives and friends. Each person’s life touches dozens of others. We need to know more than the numbers. We need to know why this disease is so dangerous and horrid for us and the whole world. Surprisingly, Astronomy Magazine (September 2020) supplies answers in an article by Dr. Jeff Hester, astrophysicist. Hester writes in his article, “Learning the Hard Way,” about the Covid-19 illness instead of his usual articles about the ...

JUPITER IS KING IN AUGUST

 How wonderful it is to see the sky on our many dark nights and to consider that each object in the sky is special in its own way. For August, our special object is Jupiter, which commands the southern night sky as king! Jupiter is the brightest object in the south, just east of the teapot of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is part of the zodiac and is an archer in legends. But a teapot shape is recognizable as part of Sagittarius and Jupiter is to its left. Jupiter has many wonderful features:  Jupiter is huge. It is 88,850 miles in diameter, 11.2 times the diameter of Earth, which is 7927 miles in ...

THE BOBOLINKS ARE BACK

 The bobolinks came back in May. This is a really big deal because these amazing birds started on their super-long journey to their summer home, including our area, in February 2020. They had to take about three months to travel 5000 miles. Here is the clincher: much of their journey is right across the Gulf of Mexico, over endless stretches of water. They wintered in southern Brazil. When they arrive on our farm, they sing their cheerful “I made it again; I made it again” song. The cheer of their song is enough to dispel sadness. Bobolinks are said to sing at their best when in flight. They came to ...

LEO THE LION: A FEATURE IN JUNE’S NIGHT SKY

 June has arrived quietly and unexpectedly, like a stray cat waiting at our door. For stargazers, there are many great things to see, including Leo. But because of Daylight Savings Time, it doesn’t get really dark until about 10 p.m. One must be especially motivated to wait that long to see the stars. But, believe me, it will be worth the effort. So many stars! On an average dark night, we will be able to see 10,000 stars. What an incredible treat! Leo the Lion occupies the western sky at this time of year. It sets around midnight. This year there will be bright moonlight until full moon which is June 5. Then the moon begins to ...

AN UNEXPECTED MIRACLE

 In this time of the pandemic, in the midst of suffering, people are reaching out to others. People are helping strangers in very loving ways. I had a similar experience in an April snowstorm of 1956. At that time, I was working for Marathon County Schools as a speech therapist for the 124 one-room schools. I had agreed to take children to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for possible admission into their summer speech therapy clinic. It was a different time from now. It was an era of greater trust when folks didn’t worry so much about accidents, mechanical failures or other things that might happen. I picked ...