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Top 10 new species of 2016

Image via IISE.

Image via IISE.

From a giant tortoise to a tiny beetle and an early hominid, this year’s top 10 new species list contains some exciting finds.

SDO peers into huge coronal hole

Image via NASA

Our sun, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) from May 17-19, 2016. The giant dark area on the sun’s upper half is known as a coronal hole. Image via NASA

A NASA animation from May 17-19, 2016 shows a coronal hole, a low-density area in the sun’s hot outer atmosphere, or corona.

Best Mars photos, May 2016

Mars, Saturn, Antares and fireflies! From Matt Pollock on May 29, 2016, in upstate New York.

Mars, Saturn, Antares and fireflies! From Matt Pollock on May 29, 2016, in upstate New York.

These past weeks have been a fabulous time to view Mars, which swept closest to Earth on Mars 30. Best photos from the EarthSky community!

Which moon phase best for stargazing?

crescent-moon-watching

We got this question:

Which phase of the moon would be best for stargazing, and why?

And the answer is … it depends on what you want to do. Some people enjoy watching the moon itself, as it waxes and wanes in our sky. On the other hand, people using telescopes avoid the moon because its glare interferes with deep-sky objects.

Mars closest to Earth on May 30

View larger. | This image shows our neighbouring planet Mars, as it was observed shortly before opposition in 2016 by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Some prominent features of the planet are clearly visible: the ancient and inactive shield volcano Syrtis Major; the bright and oval Hellas Planitia basin; the heavily eroded Arabia Terra in the centre of the image; the dark features of Sinus Sabaeous and Sinus Meridiani along the equator; and the small southern polar cap. Image via NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, J. Bell, M. Wolff.

Mars, as it was observed by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 12, 2016. Image via NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, J. Bell, M. Wolff.

On May 30, 2016, the red planet Mars comes closer to Earth than it has been since November, 2005. It lies 46.8 million miles (75.3 million km) from Earth on this date. This is Mars’ closest point for this year. That’s in spite of the fact that Earth passed between Mars and the sun (the martian opposition) on May 22.

Supernova erupts in M66

View larger. | The object between the tick marks is Supernova 2016cok, which came into view in Earth's sky this weekend. Photo by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, May 29, 2016.

The object between the tick marks is Supernova 2016cok. Photo by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, May 29, 2016.

M66 is a galaxy 36 million light-years away in the direction to our constellation Leo. A star exploded there 36 million years ago … and came into view in Earth’s sky this weekend.

Watch ISS’s newest module expand

Astronauts in orbit aboard ISS spent more than 7 hours on Saturday filling the new BEAM module with air. Check out this 25-second timelapse.

Best time to see Saturn is here!

Let brilliant Mars guide you to the planet Saturn and the star Antares for months to come.

Let brilliant Mars guide you to the planet Saturn and the star Antares for months to come.

Tonight – or any night in late May 2016 – start watching for the ringed planet Saturn, which is found near the planet Mars and the star Antares. Saturn comes closest to Earth for the year on Friday, June 3 – only four days after Mars’ closest approach to Earth on Monday, May 30. It’s coming up fairly early in the evening now, and its best time to be observed in all of 2016 is nearly upon us.

Where is the moon? Last quarter

May 29, 2016 last quarter moon posted to EarthSky Facebook by Deirdre Horan in Dublin, Ireland. Thanks, Deirdre! Look for the last quarter moon to rise at midnight and to be overhead at dawn.

May 29, 2016 last quarter moon posted to EarthSky Facebook by Deirdre Horan in Dublin, Ireland. Thanks, Deirdre!

The last quarter moon comes on May 29, 2016 at 12:12 UTC. A last quarter moon looks half-illuminated. It rises around midnight, appears at its highest in the sky at dawn, and sets around noon.

Life ingredients in Rosetta’s comet

This single frame from Rosetta’s navigation camera of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Read more about this image from ESA.

Rosetta’s navigation camera captured this single frame of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on March 25, 2015, a few days before a flyby that would bring the spacecraft to within about 10 miles (15 km) of the comet. It was during this flyby, on March 28, that Rosetta made a detection of the amino acid glycine in the comet’s ‘atmosphere’, or coma. Image via ESA.

The Rosetta spacecraft has identified the chemical elements glycine and phosphorus in the dusty halo around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Scientists say the discovery is “the first unambiguous detection of glycine at a comet” and provides further evidence supporting the theory that the building blocks for life came to Earth from outer space.