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.
“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.”
Orbits of galaxies in the Local Supercluster. Our home Milky Way galaxy (MW, yellow) and our companion Andromeda galaxy (M31, red) are participating in a downward flow away from a vast underdense region called the Local Void and toward the Virgo Cluster, represented by the purple spherecircle. Most galaxies between us and the Virgo Cluster will eventually fall into the cluster but we lie slightly beyond the capture zone. Image via R. Brent Tully/ Institute for Astronomy.
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?
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.
Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the 2017 California wildfire season is the worst on record.
Thick smoke was streaming from several fires in southern California when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a natural-color image in the afternoon on December 5, 2017.
The largest of the blazes—the fast-moving Thomas fire in Ventura County—had charred more than 65,000 acres (24,000 hectares or 94 square miles), according to Cal Fire. Smaller smoke plumes from the Creek and Rye fires are also visible.
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.
Zefri Besar in Brunei Darussalam caught the last quarter moon on the morning of June 17, 2017, just after midnight.
Why? Because we love Carl Sagan.
Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running citizen science projects in existence. Here’s how to participate.
Photograph of a Bewick’s wren taken in California during the 112th Christmas Bird Count by Bing Wong.
No matter where you are on Earth on December, January and February evenings, you’re looking toward bright stars in our local spiral arm.
Winter night sky photo by EarthSky Facebook friend Stacy Oliver Bryant. Thank you Stacey!