The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. In 2014, this equinox arrives on March 20 at 16:57 UTC, or 11:57 a.m. Central Daylight Time for us in the central U.S.
The Ligurian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s between the Italian Riviera and the island of Corsica. Maranatha.it Photography in Sestri Levante, Genoa, Liburia, Italy posts many beautiful photos of this part of the world on EarthSky Facebook. We appreciate them all!
The three brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – Vega, Deneb and Altair – are out for at least part of the night every night of the year. Presently, the Summer Triangle shines in the east before dawn. Why does its location in the sky change? It changes because Earth is orbiting the sun, and our night sky is pointing out an ever-changing panorama of stars.
Anthony Wesley caught both of Mars’ moons – brighter and closer Phobos and fainter, more distant Deimos – on March 2, 2014.
The best time to see Mars is two years is here!
Mars alternates between good and bad years for viewing in our sky, and 2014 is a good year! Why? Because Earth will fly between the sun and Mars on April 8 and, for the months around that time, Mars will be at its brightest and best for this two-year period. It’ll also be in a convenient place for viewing. Between now and April, start watching for Mars in the night sky!
Photo credit: Sam Droege/USGS
The USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab has posted hundreds of incredible high resolution macro photos of bees and other insects to Flickr. The images, taken by Sam Droege, are part of the lab’s mission to survey America’s native bee species. Here are five very interesting bee faces (plus one cricket.)
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as observed on February 28th, 2014, with the Very Large Telescope.
Left: In order to make the comet visible, the scientists superposed several exposures. The images were shifted to compensate for the comet’s motion. The stars appear as broadly smudged lines. Right: Subtracting the starry background reveals the comet. Image credit: MPS/ESO
It’s back! The target comet of ESA’s Rosetta mission disappeared behind the sun and out of the Earth’s view last October. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko can now be seen again.
Volcanic activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Image Credit: NASA.
First there were 32, then 16, next week there will be 8—no, these numbers do not refer to basketball teams but to NASA’s own version of March Madness—Tournament Earth. The tournament, which started on March 3, 2014, will let the public pick the best images and data visualizations of Earth that were created by NASA in 2013.You can view each of the images and vote for your favorite at the Tournament Earth website.
Richard T. Hasbrouck of Truchas, New Mexico send us these amazing photos of lenticular clouds, which he took back in January 2014. He wrote:
Throughout the year dramatic clouds form over the 13,000-foot Truchas Peaks (part of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico). On this particular day (1-3-14), lenticulars developed and evolved as the day went on.
The waxing gibbous moon and the planet Jupiter pop out first thing at nightfall on March 11, as they have these past several nights. But tonight’s moon – always moving eastward in front of the constellations of the Zodiac – is not as close to the planet Jupiter on the sky’s dome tonight as it was last night. And by tomorrow night – March 12 – a fuller waxing gibbous moon will be even farther east of Jupiter.
This artist’s concept shows two proplyds, or protostars, around a massive O-type star. The nearer proplyd is having its planet-forming dust and gas blasted away by the radiation from the star. The farther proplyd is able to retain its planet-making potential. Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF; B. Saxton
Young stars in the Orion Nebula get their potential planet-forming dust and gas blasted away if they’re near enough to ‘death stars’ – massive O-type stars that emit fierce ultraviolet radiation.