Department of Astronomy
Dept. Astronomy Home Page
Dr. Howard L. Cohen

Associate Professor Emeritus

DEPARTMENT OF ASTRONOMY

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences  •   University of Florida
Gainesville  •   Alachua County  •   Florida
Department of Astronomy
H.L. Cohen's Home Page
Ye Stars! Which are the poetry of heaven
– Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Cohen's Cosmos

A List of Some Articles Mostly Written for Beginners

(Dates of publication listed with most recent first)
References to FirstLight indicates publication in AAC's newsletter

Also See
Archive of Old FirstLight Issues (2001 Sept; 2007 to 2011)


ASTRONOMY FROM Å to ZZ
(A column that ran in the Alachua Astronomy Club's Newsletter, FirstLight)
Dictionary of Terms Astronomy is rich with terminology. Common dictionaries contain many of these terms because the English language includes many astronomical words in popular speech. (For example, elongation, gibbous, menses, star and synodic are all in unabridged English dictionaries.) This column briefly introduced a new but basic astronomical term (word, acronym or abbreviation). Began January 1999 with the letter a, each column was alphabetical using successive letters for each article's entry.

Click image or here for listing of "Astronomy from Å to ZZ" articles.

OTHER ARTICLES AND STUFF

  • BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES NOT FOREVER (2017 Jan 25)

    These beautiful and startling events can astonish sky watchers but will not last forever.
    Article (PDF). Also see photo.
  • CONSTELLATION QUIZ (2016 Dec)

    Five photos contain well-known constellation patterns. But which are they? The large number of stars in these sky photos taken with a 50 mm focal length lens at an Alachua Astronomy Club star party 2016 October 1/2 make this difficult!
    See Quiz and Challenge Yourself!
  • SEE A STAR DISAPPEAR (2016 July)

    A short paper about the 2016 July 29 lunar occultation of Aldebaran and future such occultations.
    Article (PDF).
  • 660 LIGHT YEARS TO EARTH AND A MEMORIAL DAY MARS (2016 June)

    A wide-field photograph of brilliant Mars shining through a tree canopy serendipitously reveals more than just the "red planet."
    Article (PDF). Also see photos. (Opens in new windows)
  • DAYTIME OCCULTATION OF VENUS BY CRESCENT MOON (2015 December 10)

    A spectacular daytime occultation of Venus was observed over North Central Florida on 2015 December 7. A video clearly shows both the planet's disappearance behind the lunar bright limb and its reappearance from behind the dark lunar limb about one and one-half hours later.
    Article (PDF). Also see photos including video. (Open in new windows)
  • THEY CAME TOGETHER (2015 July 1)

    Jupiter and Venus approach within 20 arc minutes but storm clouds, lightning, turbulent air and very bad seeing almost made it impossible to capture this event. Read article about the evening's adventure.
    Article (PDF). Also see photos.
  • DOWN UNDER FROM NORTH FLORIDA (2015 June 15)

    Challenge yourself and look for deep southern celestial objects. One of them, Omega Centauri, is a true jewel of the heavens
    Article (PDF)
  • TODAY AND THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (2015 Feb. 18)

    Some notes about today and the day after tomorrow
    Includes Anniversary of Pluto's Discovery, New Horizons Spacecraft, and a Gathering of Venus, Mars and Moon
    Article (PDF)
  • ASTRO CROSSWORD PUZZLE (2014 Dec. 6)

    Crossword Puzzle Prepared for the AAC Holiday Party, 2014 Dec. 6
    Give it a try
  • SOME EVENTS FOR THE NIGHT OF MONDAY/ TUESDAY, 2014 APRIL 14/15 (2014 Apr. 14)

    Four Naked Eye Planets Put On a Show During the Night of a Total Lunar Eclipse
    Article (PDF)
  • A JEWISH FESTIVAL OF ECLIPSES (2014 Mar. 18)

    A sequence of four consecutive total lunar eclipses (a "tetrad") coincides with Passover and Succoth in 2014 and 2015. All or parts of these four eclipses will be visible over Florida
    Article, Tables and Diagrams
  • SEE JUPITER NOW (2014 Feb. 21)

    Jupiter's current apparition will remain the best for several years. Included is a recent photo of Jupiter and its Galilean satellites showing what one can often see through backyard telescopes
    Article (PDF)  • Link to copy of photo included in article
  • SOLAR IMAGES TAKEN WITH CALCIUM K-LINE FILTERS (2014 Jan. 14)

    Photographs of the Sun taken with ionized calcium K-Line filters may appear strange compared to more common white light images. This article hopes to clarify the nature of these images
    Article (PDF)
  • CONTEMPLATING THE SUN AND MOON (2013 Nov. 16)

    Some musings about our winter sunrises and sunsets, the fourteenth zodiacal constellation,
    high and low full moons, upcoming eclipses and the lunar tetrad

    Be sure to download the article and also the three associated graphs.
    Article  • Sunrise and Sunset Graph  • Equation of Time1 Graph  • Equation of Time2 Graph
    (Note: If you wish to print these three graphs, use landscape mode for better readability.)
  • A WINTER SKY FROM SUBURBIA (2013 Nov 15)

    A beautiful Florida winter sky sans Geminids
    Be sure to download both the article and also the sky photo mentioned in the article.
    Article  • Winter Sky Photo
  • OBSERVING THE STARS (Haile Plantation Life Magazine, 2013 Oct.)

    Many opportunities for Gainesville residents to look skyward and to learn.
    Article appeared in Haile Plantation Life Magazine, 2013 October issue.
    (See pg. 3 for Cover Explanation; pp. 18-19 for article.)
    [pdf of entire October Issue (large file; 32 pages) • pdf of only the Article (3 pages)]
  • HYPING COMET ISON (Sent to the ATM-Observers-L@lists.ufl.edu, 2012 Sep.)

    Get ready for lots of hype, misinformation and scare tactics. Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) is coming our way! [Click Here]
  • ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE LUNAR PROGRAM MAPS (2012 Sep)

    Three sets of maps to help identify the required 100 lunar features [Click Here]
  • HAVE YOU SEEN CANOPUS TONIGHT? (FirstLight, 1996 Feb; Revised 2012 Aug.)

    Sirius is night's bright diamond in the sky, but Canopus is truly the rare jewel of the night [pdf available]
  • FACTOIDS AND BLUE MOONS (Sent to the AAC-L@lists.ufl.edu, 2012 Aug.)

    News media still cannot get the original definition of a blue moon correct [pdf available]
  • BLUE FRIDAY OR NOT? (Sent to the AAC-L@lists.ufl.edu, 2012 Aug.)

    The second full moon of August 2012 occurs on the last day of the month. But is this a "blue moon"? [pdf available]
  • IMAGING THE MOON FOR THE PUBLIC (2010 June)

    Using a telescope to output an image to a TV monitor provides many advantages for public viewing. [pdf available]
  • CHASING THE POLE (FirstLight, 2010 May/June)

    Polaris is the North Star of the Heavens but is not an exact marker of the celestial pole [pdf available]
  • THE OUTHOUSE: WHEN NATURE CALLS (FirstLight, 2010 Jan/Feb)

    Astronomy and Outhouses [pdf available]
  • YES, VIRGINIA, THE MOON CAN BE BLUE! (FirstLight, 2009 Nov/Dec)

    The year 2009 ends with a calendrical "blue moon" but the Moon can be truly tinged blue [pdf available]
  • THE GALILEOSCOPE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (FirstLight, 2009 Sep/Oct)

    A Review of the low-cost refracting telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 [pdf available]
  • HIDEAWAY: SUNSET AT THE NORTH POLE (FirstLight, 2009 Sep/Oct)

    A picture supposedly taken at the North Pole shows a large crescent moon hovering above a much smaller Sun. Is it real or an outstanding fake? [pdf available]
  • CELEBRATING THE SUN (FirstLight, 2009 March/April)

    About Birkat HaChamah, "The Blessing of the Sun" — A 28-Year Solar Cycle [pdf available]
  • CELEBRATING THE SUN (Agudas Achim Congregation, 2009 April 8)

    Some Remarks on Birkat HaChamah from the Viewpoint of an Astronomer (Presented at Agudas Achim Congregation, Alexandria, Virginia and based on above article printed in the AAC's newsletter, FirstLight) [pdf available]
  • EQUALITY ON THE EQUINOX (FirstLight, 2009 May/June)

    Do days on the equinox really have equal lengths? [pdf available]
  • AN ASTEROID GARDEN FOR THE GAINESVILLE SOLAR WALK AND AN ASTEROID PRIMER (FirstLight, 2009 Jan/Feb)

    A new feature for the Gainesville Solar Walk, an asteroid belt remains unfunded including a low-cost design. Article also includes a brief primer on asteroids [pdf available]
  • WHY SEE A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN? (FirstLight, 2008 Mar/Apr)

    A new feature for the Gainesville Solar Walk, an asteroid belt remains unfunded including a low-cost design. Article also includes a brief primer on asteroids [pdf available]
  • A WOODCUT FOR THE AGES (FirstLight, 2007 June/July)

    A popular astronomical wood engraving appears medieval but is not as ancient as often perceived [pdf available]
  • DOUBLE FULL MOONS (FirstLight, 2007 Apr/May)

    May 2007 will have two full Moons [pdf available]
  • TO ETA CAS AND BACK (FirstLight, 2007 Oct/Nov)

    October 2007 is when radio signals sent from the University of Florida reaches a distant sun. Will a returning signal reveal extraterrestrials in 2027? [pdf available]
  • CHAI: A PLEA FOR LIFE (FirstLight, 2006 Aug)

    The most common, genetic, life threatening disease is virtually unknown to most people. Increasing public awareness of this dreadful disease is vital if we are to find new treatments and a cure [pdf available]
    – Not an article about astronomy but read it. (Written to honor a hero, my fraternal twin.)
  • A BEEHIVE OF ACTIVITY (FirstLight, 2006 June/July)

    Praesepe is one of the brightest, easiest to find open star clusters and can be conveniently used to judge the limiting visual magnitude of your telescope [pdf available]
    Inserts for Above Article: M44 Image (jpg) • Chart 1 (gif) • Chart 2 (gif) • Chart 3 (gif) • Chart 4 (gif)
    (Cred. M44 image, TheSky6 Pro by Software Bisque; Charts 1-4: SkyMapPro, Ver. 10 by C.A. Marriott.)
  • MAGNIFICENT, MYSTERIOUS MOON (FirstLight, 2002 Oct; 2004 Apr/May)

    Usually the bane of amateur and professional astronomers alike, the Moon is the most exquisite, detailed and educational object on the sky! [pdf available]
  • THE TITIUS-BODE RULE REVISTED (FirstLight, 1996 May)

    The Titius-Bode rule approximates planetary orbit spacings. Other "rules." can also give approximate separations for satellites orbiting some Jovian planets. However, "simple numerical rules" resembling real distances are often possible [pdf available]
  • TO WEAR OR NOT WEAR GLASSES? (FirstLight, 1996 Oct/Nov)

    Even if you have astigmatic eyes, higher powers may allow you to remove eyeglasses when observing through a telescope [pdf available]
    Copy of Buchroeder's Rule Excel Spreadsheet (mentioned in article)


Go to Top of Page
Return to Top of Page

RETURN TO HOME PAGE
Last updated 2017 January 25
© 2017 H.L. Cohen