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Favorite photos from this weekend

The EarthSky community on Facebook outdid itself posting photos over the weekend of January 20-22, 2017. Thanks, everybody!

$40 billion a day for solar super-storms

The probability of another event like the 1859 Carrington event is – at any given time – low. But many believe it’s “almost inevitable” one will occur, eventually. A new study explores the risks.

All about freezing rain

The science of freezing rain. What causes the dangerous winter weather element that can paralyze cities.

Why do fatty foods taste so good?

Why do we like fatty foods so much? Fat gives foods some special qualities we like. Plus, the close tie between fat, flavor, fullness, and happiness might be an evolutionary adaptation.

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January guide to the bright planets

In January 2017, Venus blazes in the west after sunset. Mars is fainter, and nearby. The other 3 bright planets – Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury – light up the hours before sunrise.

2016 hottest year for 3rd straight year

NASA and NOAA announced today that 2016 was the hottest year on record globally – and the 3rd year in a row of record warming – continuing a decades-long warming trend.

Mars rover examines possible mud cracks

The site on Mars is called Old Soaker. It seems to have cracks, as in a dry lake bed. These may be Curiosity’s 1st confirmed mud cracks. If so, they’re keys to understanding an ancient, warmer, wetter Mars.

Star of the week: Elnath

Elnath, the 2nd-brightest star in Taurus, is the closest bright star to the galactic anticenter – the point in space directly opposite of our Milky Way’s center.

Space sounds film competition, 2017

Both young and established filmmakers are invited to use real sound recorded in space in a new competition launched by Queen Mary University of London. Details here.

Pluto team live on Facebook January 19

The New Horizons team will be discussing the historic Pluto encounter and the spacecraft’s next target in the Kuiper Belt – live on Facebook – beginning at at 4 p.m. EST (21:00 UTC).

Watch soap bubbles freeze

A photographer in St. Paul, Minnesota captured this mesmerizing footage of soap bubbles freezing. It looks like time-lapse but it’s actually in real time!

Last quarter moon is January 19

A last quarter moon rises around midnight. It appears half illuminated from Earth. The exact last quarter phase will come on January 19, 2017 at 22:13 UTC.

Hyades star cluster: Face of Taurus

The V-shaped Hyades star cluster represents the face of Taurus the Bull. The cluster is easy to spot in the evening sky in January.