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Venus after sunset and before sunrise!

The planet Venus is now appearing in the west after sunset and in the east before sunrise. Don’t believe it? Astronomer Bruce McClure reports on his observation.

Record low sea ice at both poles

Considering both poles in February 2017, Earth essentially lost the equivalent of a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico, in contrast to the average global minimum for 1981-2010.

Does Mars sometimes have rings?

It’s possible that Mars’ closer moon – Phobos – might alternate between becoming a planetary ring and clumping together to form a moon.

Look for the Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula, about 6,500 light years from Earth, is the scattered fragments of a supernova, or exploding star. Earthly skywatchers observed it in AD 1054.

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Star’s death spiral into black hole

What happens when a star with about our sun’s mass spirals into a black hole? With the distant event known as ASASSN-14li, astronomers have figured out some details.

What is stellar magnitude?

Brightest stars to the eye are 1st magnitude, and dimmest stars to the naked eye are 6th magnitude. How the magnitude scale works in astronomy and why it’s useful.

What makes a pulsar pulse?

Hear the word “pulsar” and wonder what it is? Take 95 seconds to watch this video from NASA Astrophysics.

Lenticular clouds look like UFOs

Glorious photos of rare lenticular clouds, sometimes called UFO clouds, plus a word about how they form.

7 Earth-sized worlds? What we really see

A reality check from astrophysicist Brian Koberlein on what we actually see of the 7 recently discovered Earth-sized planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1.

How a Venus flytrap knows to snap shut

Cool video, especially if you’ve never seen a Venus flytrap in action.

Watch the sun’s shift on your horizon

Here’s a fun activity for the coming months. Note how far the sun moves on your horizon each day, as spring shifts toward summer (or autumn towards winter).

March equinox! Happy spring or fall

The 2017 vernal or spring (or fall) equinox occurred on March 20 at 10:29 UTC. Spring for the north – fall for the south – of Earth’s globe.

Last quarter moon at March equinox

A last quarter moon rises around midnight. It appears half illuminated from Earth. This month’s falls on the March 2017 equinox.