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EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2015

View larger. | Scott MacNeill created this wonderful composite image at Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown, Rhode Island, USA.  We love this image, because you can see the meteors coming from their radiant point in the constellation Perseus.  Thank you, Scott!

Scott MacNeill created this wonderful composite image of the Perseid meteor shower in 2013, at Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown, Rhode Island, USA. We love this image, because you can see the meteors coming from their radiant point in the constellation Perseus. Thank you, Scott!

Next up … the Delta Aquarid meteor shower in late July and early August. It overlaps with the famous Perseid meteor shower, peaking on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13, 2015. It’s going to be a wonderful year for the Perseids! Make your campsite reservations now. Follow the links below to learn what to expect for meteor showers during the rest of 2015.

Scared of thunder and lightning? You have astraphobia

Never let your pets watch scary movies. Never a good idea! Image Credit: John Veldboom via Flickr

Thunder and lightning can be scary to pets, too. Image via John Veldboom via Flickr

Bam! Yikes!

Do you – and your dog – have astraphobia?

Saturn’s 2015 opposition is May 22-23

Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI

Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI

The Earth goes between the sun and Saturn on the night of May 22-23, making this Saturn’s special day. Astronomers call this an opposition of Saturn. In other words, Saturn is opposite the sun in Earth’s sky. As a consequence, Saturn rises in the east at sunset, climbs highest up for the night at midnight and sets in the west at sunrise. It is visible all night, closest and brightest for this year.

Most luminous galaxy in the universe

View larger. | Artist's concept via NASA

Artist’s concept via NASA.

NASA said today (May 21, 2015) that its WISE mission has discovered a remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns. That makes this galaxy the most luminous one found to date.

10 things you might not know about stars

The sun in extreme ultraviolet, false color green

The sun in extreme ultraviolet, false color green

Here’s a collection of 10 unexpected, intriguing facts about the stars of our universe – including our sun – that you probably didn’t know!

Newly named dinosaur had a keen nose

Saurornitholestes sullivani would have been a fierce predator.  Illustration by Mary P. Williams.

Saurornitholestes sullivani would have been a fierce predator. Illustration by Mary P. Williams.

When you discover a new dinosaur species, you get to name it. Steven Jasinski has just named a brand new dinosaur species Saurornitholestes sullivani. This new dinosaur is thought to be related to Velociraptor, the fleet-footed dinosaur villain of the Jurassic Park franchise. Like the creatures portrayed in the movies, the newly named species likely was agile and fast. Plus it had something else: a keen sense of smell. Jasinski says it would have been a fierce predator.

Video: Paddle boarders meet orcas

Imagine you’re paddle-boarding, and an orca – killer whale – pops up on the ocean surface near you. Two amazing and beautiful videos, here.

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you Saturn in 2015

Saturn as captured by the Cassini spacecraft in early February 2014.  Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004.  Many awesome images!

View larger. | Saturn as captured by the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. Image via NASA.

The best time to see the planet Saturn in 2015 is here! On May 22-23, 2015, Earth passes between this planet and the sun. As a result, the ringed planet is at its brightest and out all night long. Saturn is the sixth planet outward from the sun and farthest world that’s easily visible to the unaided eye. You need a telescope to see the planet’s wide, encircling rings, but Saturn is also fun to watch with the eye alone. It shines with a steady light and golden color. Clouded out this week? Never fear. Follow the links below to learn more about seeing Saturn throughout 2015.

SpaceX Dragon is back on Earth

The view from ISS as Dragon departs on May 21, 2015.  Video still from NASA TV.

The view from ISS as Dragon departs on May 21, 2015. Video still from NASA TV.

After delivering more than two tons of supplies and research to the International Space Station that will help prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to Mars, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft successfully departed from the orbital laboratory on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The release took place as scheduled at 7:04 a.m. EDT (1104 UTC). Dragon is now on its way back to Earth. The trip to Earth will take about 6 hours.

Moon and Venus closest on May 21

2015-may-21-venus-moon-night-sky-chart

Tonight – May 21, 2015 – the dazzling starlike point of light near the waxing crescent moon is the planet Venus. This world ranks as the third-brightest celestial object in all the heavens, after the sun and moon. Enjoy watching the brightest and second-brightest orbs of nighttime – the moon and Venus, respectively – as they pair up together in your western sky on this evening.