Want to know where to see the next solar or lunar eclipse? Interested in seeing images of an alien sunset? Want a free telescope? Then check out dearastronomer.com, a Phoenix-based blog dedicated to all things astronomical.
Dearastronomer.com is the brain child of Ray Sanders, who has 15 years experience in amateur astronomy (disclosure: Sanders works in the Information Technology department at Phoenix New Times). The idea behind the site is that readers will submit questions related to astronomy (in any language), and Sanders will answer them. But there's a lot more to his blog than Q&A.
For starters, you can win stuff, like a Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope. Sanders is trying to get 1,000 followers for dearastronomer.com on Twitter, and when he does, he'll be giving the telescope away to one lucky follower.
For those without telescopes, dearastronomer.com offers celestial images galore. Everything from NASA photos of a sunset on Mars (from America's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity) to images of Saturn's moon, Titan (based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft) is here. During the holidays, there was a blog about NORAD's Santa Tracker, with a link for readers, in case they wanted to follow the big red guy's mythical journey through the skies.
Dearastronomer.com also includes a "Celestial Calendar," which details upcoming astronomical events from meteor showers to full moons. When there's a big event, like the lunar eclipse that happened the night of December 20 and morning of December 21, there's a separate blog that tells readers where to go for optimal viewing.
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Next year, Sanders plans to add guest contributors to the site, who will write about everything from the evolution of stars to aerospace engineering. That would be just one more small step for a blog already so comprehensive that it makes us happy.