Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), an international team of scientists have found that the yellow hypergiant star HR 5171 A is absolutely huge — 1300 times the diameter of the sun and much bigger than was expected. This makes it the largest yellow star known. It is also in the top ten of the largest stars known — 50% larger than the famous red supergiant Betelgeuse — and about one million times brighter than the sun.
On January 31, the Mars Curiosity rover turned its camera toward the horizon and snapped this photo of Earth shining in the Martian night sky. ‘Shining’ might be rather strong word. In the image, Earth is a faint white speck, top-center-left, just above the dim glow of twilight near the Martian landscape. Can you see it? If not, click inside the post to see an image with a pointer.
The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. In 2014, this equinox arrives on March 20 at 16:57 UTC, or 11:57 a.m. Central Daylight Time for us in the central U.S.
The Ligurian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s between the Italian Riviera and the island of Corsica. Maranatha.it Photography in Sestri Levante, Genoa, Liburia, Italy posts many beautiful photos of this part of the world on EarthSky Facebook. We appreciate them all!
The three brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – Vega, Deneb and Altair – are out for at least part of the night every night of the year. Presently, the Summer Triangle shines in the east before dawn. Why does its location in the sky change? It changes because Earth is orbiting the sun, and our night sky is pointing out an ever-changing panorama of stars.
The best time to see Mars is two years is here!
Mars alternates between good and bad years for viewing in our sky, and 2014 is a good year! Why? Because Earth will fly between the sun and Mars on April 8 and, for the months around that time, Mars will be at its brightest and best for this two-year period. It’ll also be in a convenient place for viewing. Between now and April, start watching for Mars in the night sky!
The USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab has posted hundreds of incredible high resolution macro photos of bees and other insects to Flickr. The images, taken by Sam Droege, are part of the lab’s mission to survey America’s native bee species. Here are five very interesting bee faces (plus one cricket.)
It’s back! The target comet of ESA’s Rosetta mission disappeared behind the sun and out of the Earth’s view last October. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko can now be seen again.
First there were 32, then 16, next week there will be 8—no, these numbers do not refer to basketball teams but to NASA’s own version of March Madness—Tournament Earth. The tournament, which started on March 3, 2014, will let the public pick the best images and data visualizations of Earth that were created by NASA in 2013.You can view each of the images and vote for your favorite at the Tournament Earth website.
Richard T. Hasbrouck of Truchas, New Mexico send us these amazing photos of lenticular clouds, which he took back in January 2014. He wrote:
Throughout the year dramatic clouds form over the 13,000-foot Truchas Peaks (part of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico). On this particular day (1-3-14), lenticulars developed and evolved as the day went on.