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Bruce Betts of the Planetary Society is offering a free online college-level astronomy course. The course is already underway, but archived videos are available, and live classes will continue until May.
Google is hosting its annual online science fair for students aged 13-18. To participate, students complete projects, wither individually or in teams, and submit their reports online. Winning entrants will be invited to present their project at Google in California to compete for the grand prize. Other entrants are eligible for a number of other prizes. The deadline for entry is May 12, 2014. See the website for more details.
An 885-foot-diameter asteroid will fly by the Earth tonight (Monday, February 17th, 2014) at a distance of just over 2 million miles. At this distance it presents no threat to the Earth, but the Slooh online observatory will be hosting a webcast with telescopic views of the flyby along with commentary from astronomers.
“Here are two important tips,” advises Robert Naeye, editor in chief of Sky & Telescope magazine. “First, set up your scope indoors and make sure you understand how everything works before you take it out into the night.” Trying to figure out unfamiliar knobs and settings in the dark and cold is no fun.
“Second,” he adds, “be patient. Spend time with each sky object you’re able to find, and really get to know it.” Too many first-time telescope users expect Hubble-like brightness and color in the eyepiece — when in fact most astronomical objects are very dim to the human eye. And our night vision sees almost everything as shades of gray. Much of what the universe has to offer is subtle, and of course extremely distant.
On the other hand, the Moon and planets and bright and easy to find. These make excellent first targets for budding skywatchers.