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Astro festivals, star parties, workshops

Summertime is a great time for star parties, in part because, at this time of year, we can see toward the galaxy’s center. Plus Mars will be bright this summer. Join in, and have fun!

M5, your new favorite globular cluster

Sure, M13, the Great Hercules cluster is wonderful. But some amateur astronomers say this cluster, M5, is even better. How to find it in your sky.

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 closes in on diamond-shaped asteroid Ryugu

As of June 24, Japan’s Hayabusa 2 was about 22 miles (36 km) from Ryugu. The craft will get slightly closer over the next several days. Latest images here.

Will your summer will be full of mosquitoes?

Now that it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, our thoughts turn to …. mosquitoes! Here’s some handy info from a biologist.

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Rosetta spacecraft image archive complete

Rosetta journeyed through space for 12 years and performed early flybys of Earth, Mars and 2 asteroids before arriving at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It produced nearly 100,000 images. Some of the best, here.

Will climate change make rice less nutritious?

As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, rice plants – the primary food source for more than 3 billion people – produce fewer vitamins and other key nutrients. 

An asteroid exploded over Russia this week

Images and video of the daylight meteor seen over Russia on June 21. The small asteroid exploded in the air; fragments may have reached Earth. Plus … why are so many large meteors seen over Russia?

Why do fireflies light up?

A firefly’s familiar glow is caused by a chemical reaction. Explanation here, plus many wonderful firefly photos.

Will ‘slow earthquakes’ along central San Andreas trigger larger quakes?

“Based on our observations, we believe that seismic hazard in California is something that varies over time and is probably higher than what people have thought up to now.”

It’s summer. What’s noon to you?

What do you mean by noon? Do you define it by your clock or wristwatch? Or the gnawing in your stomach? Here’s how astronomers think about noontime.

All you need to know: June solstice 2018

Happy June solstice! Longest day for the Northern Hemisphere. Shortest day for the Southern Hemisphere. Either way … a good time to celebrate!

Lake Superior sediment-heavy after torrential rains

The downpour took place last weekend in parts of the U.S. Upper Midwest – Wisconsin, Minnesota and especially northern Michigan. Satellite images show the effects on Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes of North America.

Solstice sun on Taurus-Gemini border

On June 21, 2018, at around 21:00 UTC, the sun moves out of Taurus the Bull and into Gemini the Twins. Note that we’re talking about the boundaries of astronomical constellations – not astrological “signs” – of the zodiac.