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You can find astronomy courses on the larger distance learning websites. These sites like The Great Courses, edX, Coursera and OpenLearn generally have several introductory to intermediate level astronomy courses from various universities, which include both the video lectures and other class content such as quizes, worksheets and problem sets. With the exception of The Great Courses these sites offer most of their astronomy courses free of charge if you want only to monitor the course. A “verified” certificate of completion however will cost you typically $50. All of the Great Courses however are pay for courses, though many times, individual courses are put “on sale” for a deep discount. I have taken courses from both Coursera and The Great Courses that have been quite good. However that has not kept me from scouring the internet for truly free courses that are just “out there”...




Milky Way at the HAS Columbus Dark Site

Field of View

It’s been over six weeks now since we’ve all been practicing our social distancing. By now I’m sure that Guidestar readers have adjusted (or are at least trying) to the new routine of working from home, home schooling, etc. that fighting the spread of Covid-19 requires.

This is the third installment of a series of columns primarily revolving around observing the Messier Catalogue.  The intent is to provide the reader a small sampling of the Messier objects each month that are most visible in the time frame the column is published.  Hence, these deep sky objects should be easily identifiable in and around the month of May.  Some months, like May, will have a special treat in addition to the Messier Objects.  Check the trailer.

Interesting note: 1) Apparently ole Charlie Messier was not superstitious by our standards.  The dates of these observations were all on Friday, April 13th, 1781.  A very productive night indeed...  

NSN.pngThis article is distributed by NASA Night Sky Network

Ever want to mix in some science with your stargazing, but not sure where to start? NASA hosts a galaxy of citizen science programs that you can join! You’ll find programs perfect for dedicated astronomers and novices alike, from reporting aurora, creating amazing images from real NASA data, searching for asteroids, and scouring data from NASA missions from the comfort of your home. If you can’t get to your favorite stargazing spot, then NASA’s suite of citizen science programs may be just the thing for you...

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NGC 4567/4568 – the “Siamese Twins” 

NGC 4567 and NGC 4568 are a pair of spiral galaxies in the Virgo cluster of galaxies that are in the beginning stages of collision with one another.  They were discovered by William Herschel in 1784.  They were first referred to as the “Siamese Twins” by 19th century astronomer L.S. Copeland.  They do not show any actual visual evidence of interaction and it was once thought they may just be a line-of-sight alignment, but 21st century studies using infrared data are beginning to see evidence that the galaxies are truly interacting...