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Classical illustration of the constellation Virgo the Maiden, via constellationsofwords.com
Science Wire | May 12, 2016

Virgo? Here’s your constellation

The constellation Virgo the Maiden fully returns to the early evening sky – with her feet planted on the eastern horizon – by early May.

Photo taken May 8, 2016 by Helio C. Vital.
Today's Image | May 09, 2016

Airplane crosses sun’s face

While preparing on Sunday to watch today’s transit – an event Mercury crosses the face of our sun – Helio C. Vital caught an airplane doing the same.

Photo taken April 11, 2016, in La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica, by Sergio Vindas. Visit Sergio online.
Today's Image | May 03, 2016

Milky Way over Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

“Since three years ago, we have planned to shoot this photo. We went to the zone repeatedly but every time we got nothing … until now.” – Sergio Vindas

Health effects of the Chernobyl disaster are still felt 30 years on. Photo credit: Garanich/Reuters
Science Wire | Apr 26, 2016

Chernobyl worst nuclear accident of all time

The meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 exposed 572 million people to radiation. It was far worse than the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Montauk Point lighthouse. Photo: Neeti Kumthekar
Science Wire | Apr 23, 2016

What are star trails? How can I capture them?

As Earth spins under the sky, the stars appear to move. When a camera captures that movement, that’s called a star trail. Plus … an astrophotographer explains how he does it.

You can see a faint tail for Comet 252P/LINEAR in this photo taken April 3, 2016 by Michael Jaeger. Used with permission.
Today's Image | Apr 18, 2016

An inconspicuous comet

Many hoped Comet 252P/LINEAR would become visible to the eye. It has, but only barely. Enjoy photos from the few, the proud, who’ve captured this comet on film!

When you see the sun on April 7, think of the moon, too.  It'll be between us and the sun - but not exactly between - crossing the sky with the sun throughout the day. Image via Flickr user Nigel Howe.
Tonight | Apr 07, 2016

Closest new moon of 2016 on April 7

April 7 moon turns new six hours before perigee – closest point to Earth. We won’t see it, but it counts as a supermoon and will affect ocean tides.

Image credit: D. Briggs, D. Siveter, D. Siveter, M. Sutton, and D. Legg
Science Wire | Apr 07, 2016

This ancient arthropod kept its babies on a leash

Scientists have discovered a tiny 430-million-year-old sea creature – dubbed Kite Runner – that apparently dragged its offspring around on strings like kites.

Radar images of comet P/2016 BA14 were taken on March 23, 2016, by scientists using NASA's Goldstone Radar in California. At the time, the comet was about 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) from Earth. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR
Science Wire | Mar 26, 2016

Closest comet in 246 years via radar

Record-breakingly close flybys of two comets earlier this week. Radar images of one, the closest comet in 246 years. Will the other be visible to the eye?

Tonight | Mar 09, 2016

First of year’s 6 supermoons March 9

We’ll have six supermoons in 2016. The first one is a new moon supermoon, not visible in our sky.

Lenticular cloud, by Chris Walker, 2008
Science Wire | Mar 03, 2016

Lenticular clouds look like UFOs

These lens-shaped clouds are often mistaken for UFOs. Here’s how they form, plus gorgeous photos.

If you’re looking for life, you’d do well to look for some moons. Image credit:  Maxwell Hamilton/Flickr
Science Wire | Feb 23, 2016

Moons might hold key to finding E.T. life

As the list of known planets beyond our solar system grows, the search for their moons is intensifying. Why exomoons might be key to E.T. life.

From late January, and through mid-February, 5 bright planets were visible at once in the predawn sky. This image is from February 8, 2016.  It's by Eliot Herman in Tucson, Arizona.  View on Flickr.
Science Wire | Feb 08, 2016

See 5 bright planets at once

First time we can see 5 planets at once since 2005. All 5 are up before dawn, still, and all 5 will remain visible until Mercury disappears in the dawn just after mid-February.

Today's Image | Feb 05, 2016

See it! All 5 bright planets at once

Best photos from the EarthSky community of the 5 bright planets now visible at once in the sky before dawn. Thanks to all who posted!

Science Wire | Jan 26, 2016

Why Planet Nine might be for real

Claims about new planets that turned out to be wrong – and why ‘Planet Nine’ may be different.

Science Wire | Jan 23, 2016

2015 hottest year on record, by far

“What we have seen this past year will likely be routine in about 15 years, although regionally the details will vary considerably,” says climate expert Kevin Trenberth.

Today's Image | Jan 21, 2016

Best photos of Comet Catalina

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) has been a wonderful target for photographers. See photos of this icy visitor from the depths of space, here. Thanks to all who submitted!

Tonight | Jan 19, 2016

Moon hides bright Aldebaran tonight

Moon passes in front of, or occults, bright star Aldebaran tonight as seen from N. America, and parts of Europe and Africa. Plus … Aldebaran as part of a double pole star.

Today's Image | Jan 09, 2016

Best photos: Venus and Saturn January 9

A million thanks to you who posted photos on EarthSky pages of Venus and Saturn Saturday morning! Closer than any two planets since 2013 …

Photo by Rebecca Lacey in Cambridge, Idaho
FAQs | Jan 05, 2016

Supermoons of 2016

Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … no, just modern folklore. And they cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides.

Earthrise via Apollo 8 astronauts in 1968
Science Wire | Dec 24, 2015

This date in science: Earthrise

Click here for a video visualization of events leading to one of the iconic photographs of the 20th century – Earth rising over the moon – as seen by Apollo 8 astronauts.

A green laser reflecting through glass. Credit: Astroshots42 on Flickr/ One Universe at a Time.
Science Wire | Dec 09, 2015

Using light to simulate time travel

Most work on time travel has focused on its theoretical aspects, but there are also attempts to simulate the effects of time travel experimentally.

Photo credit:  University of Minnesota
Science Wire | Dec 02, 2015

Ice loss benefits Adélie penguins, for now

Over the past 14,000 years, penguin numbers in East Antarctica increased 135-fold because of disappearing glaciers and sea ice. How long can populations keep growing?

Image source: thevane.gawker.com
Science Wire | Nov 23, 2015

Weather-related natural disasters are up

With COP21 poised to begin in Paris, a new UN report suggests that weather-related disasters were nearly twice as frequent over the past decade as two decades ago.

View larger. | Patricia Evans captured this hole-punch cloud on November 21, 2015.  She wrote: "I spotted this rare punch-hole cloud this afternoon from the parking lot of a restaurant in Chelmsford, MA.  Since I always carry my camera with me, I was able to take this shot!  This is only the second punch hole cloud I've ever seen.  The first one was just a few miles away from this spot five years ago... in 2010!  Canon SX50HS - ISO 80  f/4.5 1/1000 sec."
Today's Image | Nov 22, 2015

Hole-punch cloud over Massachusetts

Hole-punch clouds are sometimes called fallstreak holes. They are often-circular patches of clear sky, surrounded by clouds. Airplanes create them.

New modeling indicates that the grooves on Mars’ moon Phobos could be produced by tidal forces – the mutual gravitational pull of the planet and the moon. Initially, scientists had thought the grooves were created by the massive impact that made Stickney crater (lower right). Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Science Wire | Nov 13, 2015

Mars’ moon Phobos slowly falling apart

The mysterious grooves on Phobos are likely early signs of structural failure. Scientists expect the moon to be pulled apart in 30 to 50 million years.

Hole-punch cloud image provided by Andrew Heymsfield.  Used with permission
Science Wire | Nov 10, 2015

Hole-punch clouds are made by jets

It might look like a UFO – but it’s really a hole-punch cloud. A word about the classic connection between hole-punch clouds, jets and snowfall.

Mysterious light sailing across the sky on Saturday night, widely seen across the U.S. West.  This image is a still from a video (profanity alert!)
Science Wire | Nov 08, 2015

Saturday night’s mystery light not a UFO

People in Los Angeles and various states in the U.S. West saw the mysterious light. It was confirmed as a Naval missile test off the California coast.

This image of asteroid 2015 TB145, a dead comet, was generated using radar data collected by the National Science Foundation's 1,000-foot (305-meter) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The radar image was taken on Oct. 30, 2015, and the image resolution is 25 feet (7.5 meters) per pixel. Image credit: NAIC-Arecibo/NSF
Science Wire | Oct 31, 2015

Update: 2015 TB145 likely a dead comet

Last week heralded as largest known asteroid to pass Earth until 2027. Swept within 1.3 times the moon’s distance on October 31. Now thought to be a comet!

Binoculars are the perfect stargazing tool
Science Wire | Oct 31, 2015

Top 6 tips for using ordinary binoculars for stargazing

If you’re a beginning stargazer or a veteran of thousands of starlit nights, binoculars can be your best friend. Here’s how to get started.

A small section of the Milky Way photo showing Eta Carinae.  Image via Lehrstuhl für Astrophysik, RUB.
Science Wire | Oct 25, 2015

Milky Way photo with 46 billion pixels

It’s the largest astronomical image of all time, used by astronomers in the search for distant exoplanets and multiple star systems.

Shock waves streaming from a jet flying at supersonic speeds. The  jet is passing in front of the sun, and dark sunspots are also visible.   Image via NASA.
Today's Image | Oct 13, 2015

Seeing a jet’s shock wave

If you could see the shock wave from a jet moving faster than sound, this is what it would look like.

Image Credit: Aramgutang
Science Wire | Oct 01, 2015

What’s the birthstone for October?

October has two birthstones – opal and tourmaline.

Science Wire | Sep 03, 2015

Capricornus? Here’s your constellation

The constellation Capricornus the Sea-goat. How to see it, and how a sea-goat came to reside among the stars.

South to overhead late summer to autumn
Tonight | Aug 25, 2015

61 Cygni is the Flying Star

61 Cygni isn’t bright. But it moves exceptionally rapidly against the background of more distant stars. Its motion reveals its nearness to Earth.

Tonight | Aug 06, 2015

Sagittarius? Here’s your constellation

You can see the constellation Sagittarius on August evenings. Look here for the lore and science of this constellation.

View larger. | Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this enhanced color global view of Pluto. (The lower right edge of Pluto in this view currently lacks high-resolution color coverage.) The images, taken when the spacecraft was 280,000 miles (450,000 km) away, show features as small as 1.4 miles (2.2 km). Image via NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.
Science Wire | Aug 01, 2015

First maps of Charon and Pluto

Many features on Charon informally named from science fiction, particularly Star Trek and Star Wars. Lord of the Rings, Stanley Kubrick also honored.

Image credit:  JD Hancock
Science Wire | Jul 20, 2015

Intelligent life in the universe?

Scientific arguments suggest that alien civilizations should be common in our galaxy. If so, where is everybody? That question is known as the Fermi paradox.

Artist’s impression of a newly discovered Jupiter twin gas giant orbiting the solar twin star, HIP 11915. The planet is of a very similar mass to Jupiter and orbits at the same distance from its star as Jupiter does from our sun. This, together with HIP 11915’s Sun-like composition, hints at the possibility of the system of planets orbiting HIP 11915 bearing a resemblance to our own Solar System, with smaller rocky planets orbiting closer to the host star.  Image via ESO
Science Wire | Jul 15, 2015

Astronomers find Jupiter and sun twins

The most accurate analog ever found for our sun and and its largest planet, Jupiter. Could there be another Earth in this system, too?

Stars Eltanin and Rastaban, near bright star Vega
Tonight | Jul 14, 2015

Eltanin and Rastaban are the Dragon’s Eyes

On summer nights, two famous stars shine down from high in the northern sky. Eltanin and Rastaban represent the fiery Eyes of the constellation Draco the Dragon.

View larger. | Artist’s concept of  CR7, a very distant galaxy and by far the brightest galaxy yet found in the early universe.  There is strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it.  Image via ESO.
Science Wire | Jun 18, 2015

Brightest galaxy and first-generation stars

The newly found galaxy, labelled CR7, is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now. It may contain some of the first stars.

Science Wire | Jun 17, 2015

Tropical Depression Bill a flood threat

Bill made landfall late Tuesday morning as a tropical storm. Now weakened, it will produce heavy rain in parts of the south-central U.S. on Wednesday.

View larger. | Lenticular cloud over Iceland on May 25, 2015 by Anne Greschuk.
Today's Image | Jun 17, 2015

Spectacular lenticular cloud over Iceland

These sorts of clouds typically form where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains.

Today's Image | Jun 12, 2015

Noctilucent clouds and an aurora

Auroras stem from activity on the sun and so are seen when the sun has been active. Noctilucent clouds are seasonal, seen in late May through August each year.

Noctilucent clouds, Estonia. Image credit: Martin Koitmä.
Blogs | Jun 02, 2015

The secrets of night-shining clouds

People at high latitudes are seeing glowing clouds in a dark night sky. They’re called noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds.

Very young moon on May 19, 2015 by Mohamad Fadzli in Malaysia
Today's Image | May 20, 2015

See it! Best photos of moon, Venus, Jupiter

Photos from EarthSky community of the young moon, and bright planets Venus and Jupiter on these May evenings, 2015. Watch for them in the west!

Sea surface temperature anomalies, or differences from averages, in Celsius for February-March 2014. Image credit: NOAA
Science Wire | May 18, 2015

Pacific ‘blob’ is changing weather patterns

What does this year’s odd U.S. weather have in common with a huge spike in hungry, stranded sea lion pups on California shores? Both are linked to a giant patch of warm ocean water.

From infographic Hottest and Coldest places by GB Energy Supply.
Science Wire | May 13, 2015

World’s hottest and coldest places

From California’s Death Valley to China’s Flaming Mountains of Xinjiang … the world’s hottest places. And coldest places! New infographic by GB Energy Supply.

Nugget Point by Landscapes~Rob Dickinson of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Today's Image | May 06, 2015

Nugget Point in New Zealand

“Sometimes you know you are in the right place at the right time. That you are doing what you are meant to be doing. That it all comes together and your heart sings.”

Science Wire | May 01, 2015

Why do we celebrate May Day?

Happy May Day! A few words about this annual celebration, whose roots are in astronomy.

Image Credit: NASA
Blogs | FAQs | Apr 28, 2015

Why do global temperature records differ?

Why do different institutions – NASA, NOAA, and the Japanese Meteorological Agency – publish slightly different global temperature measurements?

Spring bud, 2015, from our friend Daniela Claudia G in Burcharest.
Science Wire | Apr 07, 2015

Signs of spring! Have a look …

No matter what the weather where you are, enjoy these photos from EarthSky friends on Facebook and G+.

View larger. |  Nova Sag number 2 via Tom Wildoner.
Science Wire | Mar 29, 2015

Nova Sagittarii observation, March 29

The brightness of this unusual nova has gone up and down and now back up again. EarthSky friend Tom Wildoner tells you how to see the nova before it’s gone!

Tonight | Mar 08, 2015

In 2015, first of six supermoons comes on January 20

The first supermoon of 2015 comes on January 20. It’s not a full moon. It’s a new supermoon, between the Earth and sun. So you won’t see it, but those along coasts might experience higher-than-usual tides in the coming day or two.

Science Wire | Feb 11, 2015

DSCOVR launch a success!

Spacecraft is headed to L-1 point in Earth-sun system, where it’ll provide advance warning of incoming solar storms that can disrupt power grids and satellite systems.

Science Wire | Feb 11, 2015

Why comets are like deep fried ice cream

Astronomers tinkering with ice and organics in the lab might have discovered why icy comets have hard, outer crusts.

January 17, 2015 sunset by Helio de Carvalho Vital.  Shot 2 of 6.
Today's Image | Jan 20, 2015

Dramatic sunset over the Atlantic, seen near Rio

Cool air on the sea surface strongly refracted the setting sun, seen Saturday night from a small town near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cool series of images!

Image via Ethan Siegel, Simon Swordy, NASA
FAQs | Jan 14, 2015

What is radiocarbon dating?

Unstable carbon-14 gradually decays to carbon-12 at a steady rate. The ratio of these carbon isotopes reveals the ages of some of Earth’s oldest inhabitants.

Science Wire | Dec 19, 2014

Why do most evergreen trees have a pyramid shape?

Those who admire the shape of a Christmas tree might like to know that its shape has evolved in response to wind, snow, and light.

Comet Finlay on December 16th shows a bright coma and short tail. Its sudden rise  to 9th magnitude was confirmed on December 18th by Australian comet observer Paul Camilleri. The moderately condensed object is about 3 arc minutes in diameter. Credit: J. Cerny, M. Masek, K. Honkova, J. Jurysek, J. Ebr, P. Kubanek, M. Prouza, M. Jelinek
Science Wire | Dec 18, 2014

Comet Finlay is in outburst!

With a small ‘scope or large binoculars, you can catch Comet Finlay. It’ll be near Mars on December 23 and 24. Cool photo opportunity for those equipped to catch it!

Light pillars in northern Sweden, November 7, 2014, by Birgit Boden
Today's Image | Nov 12, 2014

Light pillars over northern Sweden

As winter comes to the far north, sky conditions may be just right to produce a beautiful light phenomenon called “light pillars.”

Wow.  Does it get any better than this?
Science Wire | Nov 10, 2014

Three cool images of a comet’s night side

The dayside images of Rosetta’s comet have been fantastic. Now, thanks to backscatter of sunlight from the comet’s coma, we’re seeing amazing nightside images.

Image via NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger
Science Wire | Oct 23, 2014

Starquake sets magnetar ringing like a bell

Astronomers have observed signals from a highly magnetized neutron star, indicating starquakes that set the neutron star ringing like a bell.

spacecraft voyager 1
This Date in Science | Sep 18, 2014

A first glimpse of Earth and moon as worlds in space

As Voyager 1 left Earth on September 18, 1977, it looked back and acquired a stunning image.

A telescopic view of the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.  The eye sees this cluster as a tiny, misty dipper of stars.  It is one of the most beloved star clusters.  Image via NOAO/AURA/NSF.
Science Wire | Aug 28, 2014

NROA astronomers pin down distance to Pleiades stars

National Radio Astronomy Observatory astronomers used a tried-and-true method – stellar parallax – to resolve a controversy over the Pleiades’ distance.

Neptune and Triton, via Voyager 2
Blogs | This Date in Science | Aug 25, 2014

Back to the future with Neptune’s fascinating moon Triton

On the anniversary of Voyager 2’s encounter with Neptune and Triton … an awesome collection of restored Voyager 2 images, plus the link between Triton and Pluto.

Today's Image | Aug 24, 2014

Moon, Jupiter, Venus over Hong Kong

It was a glorious weekend for planet-watching. The moon waned and appeared lower in the east before dawn each day, sweeping past Venus and Jupiter.

Photo credit: Bonnie J. McCay
Blogs | Aug 22, 2014

A trip down Canada’s Iceberg Alley

It’s been a banner year for iceberg sighting in Iceberg Alley, the area off northeastern Newfoundland where the Titanic struck an iceberg and went down in April, 1912.

Image Credit: Arenamontanus
Science Wire | Jul 21, 2014

What exactly is twilight?

Twilight is the time of day between daylight and darkness. Astronomers, the experts on nighttime, recognize three kinds of twilight.

Steve Pitstick of Pitstick Farms in northern Illinois caught these classic prairie storm clouds on Monday, June 30.  Used with permission.  Thank you, Steve.
Today's Image | Jul 02, 2014

Northern Illinois storm clouds on June 30

A farmer captured this photo of a serious storm sweeping through northern Illinois on Monday, June 30.

Moon photos via Manuel Castillo Vela.
FAQs | Jun 16, 2014

How much of the moon can we see from Earth?

We see only 50% of the moon’s surface at one time. Even so, over time, lunar libration lets careful observers peek at a tiny portion of the moon’s far side.

Photo by Jared Rackley
Blogs | Jun 04, 2014

Kansas had a heat burst on the night of June 3-4

For a few hours around midnight, in Kansas, temperatures suddenly shot up by 10 degrees F. Meteorologists call it a heat burst. Read how it happens.

Possibly habitable environs
Braided fluvial channels (inset) emerge from the edge of glacial deposits roughly 210 million years old on the martian volcano Arsia Mons, nearly twice as high as Mount Everest. (Colors indicate elevation.) Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University/Brown University
Science Wire | May 28, 2014

Habitable environment on Martian volcano?

A volcano erupting under an immense glacier would have created large lakes of liquid water on Mars in the relatively recent past. And where there’s water, there’s the possibility of life.

209P/LINEAR May 21, 2014 by Bareket Obs
Blogs | May 22, 2014

Everything you need to know: Camelopardalids could be the best meteor shower this year

North America is predicted to have the best view of a possible new meteor shower from Comet 209P/LINEAR Friday night through Saturday morning (May 23-24, 2014). The Camelopardalids, coming up!

Areas in red and yellow, stay weather aware today.
Blogs | May 11, 2014

Stormy Mother’s Day 2014 for most of United States

Chance for significant severe weather is possible across the Plains on Mother’s Day. Strong tornadoes and large hail possible.

April 27 tornado Baxter Springs, KS via @41ActionNews
Blogs | Apr 28, 2014

Severe weather batters U.S. Central Plains

After a slow start to severe weather season in 2014, Sunday brought storms to the U.S. Central Plains. Monday through Wednesday, the system will move into the U.S. Southeast.

This is Manann Mclir, the mythical Celtic god of the sea overlooking Lough Foyle in Northern Ireland.  The Milky Way galaxy is rising above the statue's arms in all its glory.  Glenn Miles Photography posted this one at EarthSky Facebook, in celebration of International Dark Sky Week, April 20-26, 2014.  Visit Glenn Miles Photography.
Today's Image | Apr 23, 2014

An ancient sea god under the Milky Way

A mythical Celtic god of the sea and the edgewise view into our own Milky Way galaxy, as captured by Glenn Miles Photography in Northern Ireland.

Image credit: NASA
Science Wire | Mar 27, 2014

View from space: Washington landslide

Before and after satellite images of the March 22 landslide near Oso, Washington

Image credit: Wikipedia
Tonight | Mar 07, 2014

Cancer? Here’s your constellation

Looking for the constellation Cancer? How to find it here. Plus Cancer’s place in sky history, lore and science.

Image credit: David Reed.
Blogs | Feb 24, 2014

Discovery of one new butterfly species leads to another

Just when scientists thought that all butterfly species in the eastern U.S. were identified, researchers stumbled across not one, but two new species, right under their noses.

Image credit: NASA/SAO/CXC
Tonight | Feb 03, 2014

How astronomers learn the masses of double stars

For astronomers, a binary or double star is a gift from the heavens. Astronomers observe these stars to find telltale clues to each star’s mass.

Satellite imagery on January 18, 2014 over Australia showing this "landcane". Image Credit: NASA
Blogs | Jan 25, 2014

A landcane over Australia

It’s like a hurricane, but it’s over land. These systems are not uncommon in Australia, and, last weekend, conditions were ripe for one.

Aurora via Geir Inge Bushmann.
Blogs | Videos | Jan 09, 2014

Expect northern lights on January 9-10

2014 unleashed its first X-flare of 2014 on January 7. Space weather experts are calling for a good display of auroras.

Abell 1689 and distant galaxies
Science Wire | Jan 08, 2014

Smallest, faintest, most numerous galaxies seen yet in distant universe

Normally these remote galaxies would be too faint to see, even with the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers used a bizarre trick of nature to photograph them.

View larger. | Winter light image by Jan Inge Larsen in northern Norway.
Today's Image | Jan 08, 2014

Winter sun returns to Earth’s far north

The solstice is behind us. At high northern latitudes, sunlight is returning only briefly each day or casts an eerie twilight glow.

This Hubble image of the gravitational lens B0218+357 reveals two bright sources separated by about a third of an arcsecond, each an image of the background blazar. Faint spiral arms belonging to the lensing galaxy also can be seen. B0218+357 boasts the smallest separation of lensed images currently known. The A image (4 o'clock position) is where changes are first observed and is significantly fainter than the B image (center) at optical wavelengths.
Science Wire | Jan 07, 2014

First gamma-ray study of a gravitational lens

The work could provide insights into the workings of black-hole jets and help us understand the rate of the expansion of the universe.

About three or four times a year, the new or full moon coincides closely in time with the perigee of the moon—the point when the moon is closest to the Earth. These occurrences are often called 'perigean spring tides.' The difference between ‘perigean spring tide’ and normal tidal ranges for all areas of the coast is small. In most cases, the difference is only a couple of inches above normal spring tides.  Image and caption via NOAA.
Today's Image | Jan 01, 2014

Extra high tides today

This new moon at the New Year is also one of the closest moons of the year. The close, new moon will cause tides to be higher than usual.

Blogs | Dec 31, 2013

Wet weather may have helped to quell 2013 wildfire season

The amount of U.S. land burned by wildfires during 2013 was 41% lower than the 10-year average, according to preliminary estimates.

Venus on Dec. 29, 2013 by Mary C. Cox
Blogs | Photos | Dec 30, 2013

As 2014 begins, Venus a thin crescent in bright twilight

Venus is beautiful now! Just don’t wait too many days to look for it. It’ll soon disappear in the glare of sunset.

Tornado in Shoal Creek Valley, Alabama on April 27, 2011.
Science Wire | Dec 30, 2013

Use of media can save lives in bad storms

A new study shows that the risk of injury from tornados and severe storms can be reduced significantly with the use of certain media.

Analemma at 7 a.m. from January 18, 2013 to December 22, 2013.   Composed by Masayuki Shiraishi in Kumagaya, Saitama, Japan.   Used with permission and thanks.
Today's Image | Dec 30, 2013

Analemma 2013

If you photographed the sun at the same time each day – subtracting an hour as needed for Daylight Saving Time – the resulting figure-8 would be an analemma.

See full size | Comet ISON, imaged by longtime amateur astrophotograper Damian Peach in the U.K. He used a 4-inch f/5 telescope for 12 minutes of combined exposures on November 15th. Credit: Damian Peach / SkyandTelescope.com
Science Wire | Nov 20, 2013

Comet ISON brightening fast as its moment of truth nears

“We might witness a nice, long-tailed comet visible to the naked eye that will leave millions of people with fond memories for a lifetime, or maybe it will be a small comet for sky hunters using binoculars and a good map of its position. Or it might yet break up and vanish.” – Alan MacRobert

Image credit: CIMSS
Blogs | Photos | Nov 09, 2013

Incredible images and video of Super Typhoon Haiyan

Death toll is rising as reports trickle in from storm-damaged areas. Video and images here of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

“Basically, the brain is acting like a detective,” says Alexander Maier. “It is responding to cues in the environment and making its best guesses about how they fit together. In the case of these illusions, however, it comes to an incorrect conclusion.” (Credit: Fibonacci via Wikimedia Commons)
Science Wire | Oct 04, 2013

Which neurons fire when this image tricks your brain?

Scientists have pinpointed the brain region responsible for “illusory contours”—when you perceive imaginary shapes and surfaces against a fragmented background.

"Heat map" September 27 fireball sightings, via American Meteor Society.
Blogs | Sep 28, 2013

U.S. sees another bright fireball on September 27

September 2013 has been busy for sightings of bright fireballs. The one at 11:33 p.m. local time on September 27 was the 14th fireball sighting in the U.S. in September.

Image credit: P.Y. Huang, S. Kurasch et al.
Science Wire | Sep 12, 2013

World’s thinnest glass is just two atoms thick

The world’s thinnest glass is just a molecule thick, a serendipitous discovery by scientists, recorded for posterity in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Phobos, via Viking 1.  Image Credit:  NASA
Blogs | This Date in Science | Aug 17, 2013

This date in science: Asaph Hall discovers a moon for Mars

American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos, one of the two Martian moons, on this date in 1877. Did he imagine how well we’d see Mars’ moons today?

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk.
Science Wire | Aug 08, 2013

If we landed on Jupiter’s moon Europa, what would we want to know?

So far, scientists have seen a fractured, ice-covered world with tantalizing signs of a liquid water ocean – a possible home for microbial life – under its surface.

Science Wire | Aug 07, 2013

Unusual heat wave intensifies Siberian wildfires

A surge of fire activity in northern Siberia, caused in part by high temperatures.

Blogs | Jul 17, 2013

A gas cloud is sweeping past the Milky Way’s central black hole

Astronomers are observing the “noodle effect” as the black hole’s powerful gravity stretches and elongates the cloud.

couple drinking soda
Science Wire | May 28, 2013

Soda and illegal drugs cause similar damage to teeth

You may be shocked to learn that drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use.

Via Dave Walker
FAQs | May 28, 2013

What causes rainbow colors in clouds?

Iridescent clouds – clouds with rainbow colors – happen when especially tiny water droplets or small ice crystals individually scatter light.

cancer cells
Science Wire | May 21, 2013

Scientists develop new tumor-killer

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have bioengineered a novel molecule which has been proven to successfully kill tumor cells.

Upper level low responsible for the chilly weather across the Southeast on May 4, 2013. Image Credit: NOAA
Blogs | May 08, 2013

Chilly start to May in U.S. Southeast

Temperatures have been well below average for the Southeast United States for the first half of May 2013. Here’s why.

UGA researchers.  Image via Minh Phan.
Blogs | Apr 27, 2013

Social media used to study April 27, 2011 tornadoes in U.S. Southeast

University of Georgia researchers used a Facebook page to determine the trajectories of tornado debris.

Science Wire | Apr 05, 2013

Ultrasonic sounds of the rainforest

New research aimed at developing ultrasonic microphones with insect-like sensitivity will continue in the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador.

Image credit: darksky.org
Blogs | Mar 28, 2013

Death Valley designated as an International Dark Sky Park

On February 20, 2013, Death Valley National Park earned designation as an International Dark Sky Park for its pristine views of the starry nighttime sky.

Wisdom's new chick on March 5, 2013.  Photo via USFWS
Blogs | Mar 12, 2013

Oldest known albatross Wisdom hatches a new chick

At 62, the Laysan albatross Wisdom is one of the oldest wild birds known to be living in the world today. Yes, her new chick is adorable.

j_holliman image tornado mississippi
Blogs | Feb 10, 2013

Large tornado hits Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Amazing pictures and video from Hattiesburg, Mississippi as a large tornado strikes the city on February 10, 2013.

Just one big field of brotherly love.  Image via Kelly
Blogs | Feb 04, 2013

Dogs do it. Dolphins do it. Now corn, too, displays altruism.

Researchers studying corn seeds have found evidence that full “siblings” preferentially feed each other. They describe this behavior as altruism among corn.

Image Credit: Nicholas_T
Blogs | Jan 31, 2013

Stormy weather is no match for microbes

Hearty microorganisms float in the harsh air of hailstorms and hurricanes.

Artist's impression of the gas and dust disk around the young star TW Hydrae. New measurements using the Herschel space telescope have shown that the mass of the disk is greater than previously thought. Image credit: Axel M. Quetz (MPIA)
Science Wire | Jan 30, 2013

There’s more to astronomers’ favorite planetary nursery than previously thought

Astronomers have used a new method to determine the mass of the planetary nursery around the star TW Hydrae.At a distance of merely 176 light-years from Earth, this is the closest star that is currently forming new planets.

Image credit: Tatiana Makotra/Shutterstock
Science Wire | Oct 29, 2012

New study sheds light on how and when vision evolved

A new study used computer modelling to shed light on the origin of sight in animals, including humans.

Aurora from space on October 8, 2012 via NASA
Blogs | Oct 10, 2012

View from space: Aurora stretching across Quebec and Ontario on October 8

Orbiting satellite acquired view of an aurora, seen from above, on October 8, 2012. These northern lights resulted from a storm on the sun several days earlier.

Photo credit: Jussarian
Blogs | Sep 14, 2012

Where are the hottest places on Earth?

“Where’s the hottest place on Earth” is a contentious issue. Some contenders: Iran’s Lut Desert, China’s Turpan Basin and the badlands in Queensland, Australia.

Blogs | Sep 06, 2012

A look back at Hurricane Isaac

As of now, it appears that Isaac caused the deaths of nearly 40 people and will result in at least $3 billion in damages.

See complete map below
Blogs | Aug 21, 2012

July 2012 was fourth-warmest July globally since 1880

July 2012 was the fourth straight month in which the Northern Hemisphere set a new monthly land temperature record. It was the fourth-warmest July globally.

Sunspot grouping 1520 and July 12 X-flare.
Blogs | Jul 12, 2012

X-flare from giant sunspot group 1520

Giant sunspot group 1520 – which spans about 10 Earth diameters on the sun’s surface – emitted an X-flare on July 12 at 1653 UTC.

Arctic sea ice June 2002 versus June 2012.
Blogs | Jun 20, 2012

As summer 2012 begins, Arctic ice is melting fast

In 2007, we saw the smallest Arctic summertime ice extent since record keeping began. As summer 2012 begins, ice is melting faster now than at this same time in 2007.

The remains of Joplin High School one year after the deadly EF-5 tornado pushed through the city. Image Credit: Daniel Dix
Blogs | May 22, 2012

One-year anniversary of Joplin, Missouri tornado tragedy

Joplin tornado of May 22, 2011 was deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1950 and costliest tornado in world history. See videos. Learn how Joplin is rebuilding.

Photo credit: Anne Froehlich
Blogs | Apr 16, 2012

More emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica

Good news for penguin lovers! New satellite images show that there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought.

Tornados in Texas April 3, 2012. Image Credit: NWS
Blogs | Apr 05, 2012

Recap and videos of April 3, 2012 tornadoes in Texas

At least 11 confirmed tornadoes struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area on April 3, causing damage but no deaths. Here’s what’s known now, plus the best videos.

10-degree Map Centered at 10°N,125°E
Blogs | Feb 06, 2012

At least 15 dead, many missing, after February 6 Philippines earthquake

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake rocked the Philippines on February 6, 2012 killing at least 15 people, with many still missing.

LRO image of Apollo 17 site. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/ASU.
Blogs | Jan 08, 2012

Look for alien artifacts on moon, says renowned scientist

If extra-terrestials visited the moon, they may have left tell-tale signs. It’s worth a look, says a leading scientist, and won’t cost much.

Sunset in early fall making the entire landscape appear red. Image Credit: Matt Daniel
Blogs | Dec 16, 2011

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets!

Favorite pics of sunrises and sunsets – with an explanation of why they’re so beautiful! Post your sunrise and sunset images on EarthSky’s Facebook page.

Blogs | Nov 30, 2011

Tiny worms might help humans get to Mars

While in space, 12 generations of worms were found to reproduce and develop from egg to adulthood no differently than they would on Earth.

Pecan pie via Wikimedia Commons
Blogs | Nov 23, 2011

How your brain cells might be sabotaging your diet

Our brain cells munch on themselves, to keep the body from starving. A new study sheds light on the role this plays in regulating appetite.

Robots that can human expressions
Blogs | Nov 20, 2011

EarthSky 22: Robots with human faces

Featured this week, lifelike robots – plus lakes on Jupiter’s moon and an eclipse of the midnight sun. Song of the week from Ocote Soul Sound.

Image Credit: Southwest Research Institute
Blogs | Nov 14, 2011

Was a fifth gas giant ejected from our solar system?

Earth might have been spared from a collision with Mars or Venus by the process in which a fifth giant world was ejected from our solar system.

haboob in Lubbock, TX
Blogs | Oct 18, 2011

Massive dust storm hits Lubbock, Texas

A haboob – an enormous dust storm – swept through parts of Lubbock, Texas on the evening of Monday, October 17, 2011.

Image Credit: IvanWalsh.com
Blogs | Sep 14, 2011

Fish farms less harmful than thought, says study

Coastal fish farms seem to do less harm to nearby plants and animals than previously believed, a new study reveals.

Smoke over Austin at midday, September 7, 2011.
Blogs | Sep 07, 2011

Texas wildfires still burning as winds die down

The largest of the Texas fires – the Bastrop fire near Austin in Central Texas – is said to be 30 percent contained today.

Visible satellite  imagery of tropical storm Irene.  Image Credit:  National Hurricane Center
Blogs | Aug 28, 2011

Where is Irene now?

UPDATE: Sunday, August 28, 5:40 p.m. EDT (21:40 UTC). Tropical Storm Irene has been gradually weakening and is beginning to lose tropical characteristics.

Image Credit: Western Arctic National Parklands
Blogs | Jul 28, 2011

After 10,000 year absence, wildfires have returned to Arctic tundra

The huge stock of carbon contained in tundra could increase atmospheric CO2 drastically, when released by a fire.

Tropical storm Arlene forms in Gulf of Mexico June 27, 2011.
Blogs | Jun 29, 2011

Watch clouds gather to form tropical storm Arlene

Watch a video that shows tropical storm Arlene as it forms in the Gulf of Mexico on June 27, 2011.

Image Credit: Crazy Creatures
Blogs | Jun 29, 2011

Loggerhead turtles’ movements predictable, says study

A ten-year study shows that loggerhead turtles go back to the same spots year after year.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, et al
Blogs | Jun 27, 2011

In early universe, galaxies were awake or asleep, says study

Astronomers captured light from 40,000 galaxies and discovered that even in the early universe, galaxies were either awake or asleep.

Blogs | Jun 19, 2011

Why are 160 million girls missing from Asia?

Growing scarcity of girls and women has tilted the balance of the sexes and the rich and poor in nations where “gendercide” is practiced on a large scale.

Photo credit: cybaea
Blogs | Jun 16, 2011

Two types of perception linked in surprising way

The mind is a great statistician, say psychologists studying two types of perception.

Blogs | Dec 14, 2010

Facebook map of the world

This Facebook map of the world shows the connections between about 10 million friends.

Blogs | Nov 08, 2010

EarthSky 22 Minutes: November 8, 2010

November meteor showers, a frozen zoo, butterfly medicine, a Bill of Rights for aliens – plus some great music – all this week on EarthSky 22.