Dear Astronomer

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, a Phoenix-based blog dedicated to all things astronomical. 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 on Twitter, and when he does, he'll be giving the telescope away to one lucky follower.

For those without telescopes, 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. 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.

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. 

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea