Jack Fusco captured this photo at Solana Beach in San Diego County, California on January 23. He’s working on a series of images from sea caves throughout the San Diego area.
Tonight’s chart covers a wider area of sky than we typically show. It’s in answer to a reader in Nashville, who wrote, I’ve heard mention of the Winter Circle of Stars. Could you list the stars in this circle?
You will find these stars at this time of year by looking southeast at early-to-mid evening, and more southward from mid-to-late evening. Although the almost-full waxing gibbous moon shines within the Winter Circle tonight, all the stars of the Winter Circle (sometimes called the Winter Hexagon) are first-magnitude stars, so they should be able to withstand tonight’s drenching moonlight. Note also that the Winter Triangle – formed by bright stars Sirius, Betelgeuse and Procyon – make up the southeast part of the Winter Circle.
Distinctive underwater sounds announce the birth of an iceberg, say researchers. In a recent study, scientists used underwater microphones aboard buoys to record a variety of iceberg births at the Hans Glacier in Svalbard, Norway during three days in August 2013. These recordings were combined with time-lapse photos of the glacier during the same time period.
There has been a lot of excitement this month about the supernova in the distant galaxy M82. It is the closest supernova in many years, despite the fact that it’s some 11-12 million light-years away. On a January or February evening, come to know the red star Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion. It’s not only one of Orion’s brightest stars. It’s also a star that astronomers know will one day explode as a supernova. And it’s only 430 light-years away! Follow the links inside to learn more about Betelgeuse and its explosive destiny.
Discovered in 2010, two vast and mysterious Fermi bubbles radiate outward tens of thousands of light-years from our Milky Way galaxy’s core. Click inside for an update on the bubbles from the three astrophysicists who found them.
Astronomers have found the first-ever ringed planet beyond our solar system. Called J1407b, the super-world has a disc of halos 200 times bigger than Saturn’s. Click inside for details on this discovery, plus … how it might look in our sky.
Dreaming the night away while waiting for the clouds to clear.
Tonight – January 29, 2015 – cast your mind outward in space toward the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, one of the most distant spacecraft from Earth at this time. Pioneer 10 was launched from Earth on March 3, 1972. It was the most distant human-made object from Earth until Voyager 1 overtook it – at 69 Earth-sun distance units, or astronomical units – in 1998. On January 29, 2015, both the moon and Pioneer 10 reside in the direction of the constellation Taurus the Bull. You can’t see it (and it can’t see Earth), but you can imagine it tonight.
Fascinating news this month about asteroid 4 Vesta – fourth asteroid to be discovered and second-most-massive asteroid after the dwarf planet 1 Ceres. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft visited Vesta from 2011 to 2013, and the new study is based on evidence from Dawn. The new study shows that – although Vesta was once assumed to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its surface – there’s evidence that Vesta may have had short-lived flows of water-mobilized material on its surface. Wow, yes?
Two astronaut photos, one from 2015 and one from 1966, show the southern peninsula of India by night and by day. See the daytime view inside.