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.
The moon was almost exactly at last quarter when Jenney Disimon in Sabah, North Borneo captured this photo on July 27, 2016 (5:30 a.m. local time, or July 26 at 21:30 UTC).
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.
Interstellar forecast for a nearby star: Raining comets! The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered doomed, wayward comets plunging into the star HD 172555.
Image via Hubblesite, NASA, ESA, and A. Feild and G. Bacon (STScI).
Dates of all solar and lunar eclipses this year, plus a preview of the great American total solar eclipse of 2017.
If you’ve never spotted an asteroid, now would be a good time to try. Vesta’s 2017 opposition is around now. Guy Ottewell provides charts and explains more.
View larger. | Vesta on January 17, 2017 via Guy Ottewell's blog. Used with permission.
Throughout 2017, Mars will appear as a faint and inconspicuous reddish star in our sky. But wait until 2018, when Mars will come closer to Earth than it has since 2003.
Artist's concept of Mars in opposition to the sun. At such times, Earth passes between the sun and Mars. Not to scale! Image via NASA.
On January 16, 1909, a team of Antarctic explorers thought they’d found the magnetic south pole. Then, a few years later, they began to have doubts.
Mawson, McKay and David on January 16, 1909.
No matter where you are on Earth on December, January and February evenings, you’re looking toward bright stars in our local spiral arm.
Icy moonlit trees and a lovely view of bright star constellations Orion and Taurus, and Pleiades star cluster, taken early in the morning on January 8, 2017 by Cynthia Haithcock in North Carolina.
A new agreement between the European Southern Observatory and Breakthrough Initiatives will let ESO’s Very Large Telescope seek planets in the star system next door.
The foreground of this image shows ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The rich stellar backdrop to the picture includes the bright star Alpha Centauri, the closest stellar system to Earth. In late 2016 ESO signed an agreement with the Breakthrough Initiatives to adapt the VLT instrumentation to conduct a search for planets in the Alpha Centauri system. Such planets could be the targets for an eventual launch of miniature space probes by the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative.