Astronomy – What’s Up in the Sky for 2021

The year 2021 promises some great stargazing opportunities, with chances to see comets, dying stars, galaxies and of course the planets! Join Dan Johnson, long-time amateur astronomer, member of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, and volunteer instructor at the Powell Observatory, to find out what you can expect to see in the night sky with a small telescope in the coming year.

Laurent Cassegrain

Laurent Cassegrain, a French instrument maker, died Aug. 31, 1693, at the age of about 64. Cassegrain, whose name is well known to amateur telescope makers, is the most shadowy of historical figures; we didn’t even learn his first name until 1997.  In 1672,...

Edward Troughton

Edward Troughton, an English instrument maker, died on June 12, 1835; he was born on an unknown day in 1753.  Troughton built and sold a variety of astronomical instruments and telescopes; today, we are going to focus on his specialty, the transit instrument.  A...

William Henry Smyth

William Henry Smyth, a British naval officer and amateur astronomer, was born Jan. 21, 1788. Smyth spent an entire career in the Royal Navy, enlisting as a seaman, serving in the Napoleonic Wars, distinguishing himself by his accurate coast surveys of the...

Henry Fitz

Henry Fitz, an American telescope maker, was born Dec. 31, 1808. Fitz was the first professional telescope maker in the United States, which is to say that for the last 15 years of his life (he died in 1863), he was able to earn a living by making and selling...