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Arctic report card 2017

The report shows the warming trend that’s transforming the Arctic region is persisting. The Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades, say scientists.

How to see rock comet 3200 Phaethon

You can’t see 3200 Phaethon – parent of the Geminid meteor shower and a strange asteroid-comet hybrid – with the eye alone. But backyard telescopes can pick it up. Charts and more here.

Don’t miss the Geminids in 2017!

The 2017 Geminid meteor shower might be awesome! Peak mornings December 13 and 14. Moon near morning planets. Parent body – 3200 Phaethon – nearby.

Exposed to wildfire smoke? 5 questions answered

The intense wildfires in southern California are triggering air quality alerts. What do health experts know about how inhaling smoke affects human health?

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Darth Vader horseshoe crab

A 245-million-year-old fossil horseshoe crab, recently discovered in Idaho, has been named Vaderlimulus after Star Wars’ Darth Vader. It’s easy to see why.

Astronomers chart galaxy orbits in our Local Supercluster

“For the first time, we are not only visualizing the detailed structure of our Local Supercluster of galaxies, but we are also seeing how the structure developed over the history of the universe.”

What’ll happen when 3200 Phaethon sweeps past Earth?

This mysterious rock-comet is the parent body of this week’s Geminid meteor shower. It’ll brush closely past Earth on December 16, just a few nights after the Geminids’ peak. Will 2017 be a fantastic year for the Geminids?

Find the Geminid meteors’ radiant point

December’s Geminid meteor shower radiates from the constellation Gemini the Twins. To see it, look east in mid-evening or overhead by about 2 a.m.

California in flames

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the 2017 California wildfire season is the worst on record.

Last quarter moon is December 10

Watch for the last quarter moon Saturday night after midnight or Sunday morning. The moon will be showing us half of its lighted half, or day side.

All the illions from Cosmos, in order

Why? Because we love Carl Sagan.

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count starts December 14

Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running citizen science projects in existence. Here’s how to participate.

Why brighter stars at this time of year?

No matter where you are on Earth on December, January and February evenings, you’re looking toward bright stars in our local spiral arm.