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Astronomy Essentials

Photo by Justin Ng
Tonight | Jan 08, 2015

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2015

No major meteor showers are predicted until the Lyrid shower, peaking on the morning of April 23, 2015. Between now and then … fireball season!

Lyrids and others via NASA/MSFC/D. Moser
Tonight | Jan 08, 2015

Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower

The Lyrids offers 10 to 20 meteors per hour at its peak on a moonless night. That is the morning of April 22 or 23, with the nod going to April 23.

Oct 23, 2014 partial solar eclipse by Mikael Linder
Blogs | Jan 07, 2015

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2015 and 2016

Upcoming eclipses.

Total solar eclipse via Fred Espenak
Blogs | Jan 07, 2015

How many solar and lunar eclipses in one calendar year?

Each calendar year has at least four eclipses – two solar and two lunar. Most years have four, but five, six or even seven eclipses are also possible.

Meteor via Cumbrian Sky
Blogs | Tonight | Jan 07, 2015

When is the next meteor shower?

No major meteor showers are predicted until the Lyrid shower, peaking on the morning of April 23, 2015. Between now and then … fireball season!

earth_sun_300
FAQs | Jan 03, 2015

Are the December solstice and January perihelion related?

December solstice 2014 is December 21. Earth is closest to the sun in 2015 on January 4. Coincidence?

Quadrans Muralis via Atlas Coelestis.
Tonight | Jan 02, 2015

Everything you need to know: Quadrantid meteor shower

The 2015 Quadrantid meteor shower is likely to produce the most meteors before dawn January 4, although in the glare of the almost-full moon.

quadrantid-radiant-cp
Tonight | Jan 02, 2015

Quadrantid meteors fly in moonlight in early January 2015

You might see the 2015 Quadrantid meteor shower peak in moon-free skies just before dawn on January 3 or 4.

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | Jan 01, 2015

January 2015 guide to the five visible planets

All five visible planets can be seen in January! Venus and Mercury up briefly after sunset. Mars in early evening. Jupiter from mid-evening until dawn. Saturn before dawn.

 
Tonight | Dec 27, 2014

See brightest star Sirius at midnight on New Year’s Eve

Sirius should be called the New Year’s star. It celebrates the birth of 2015 by reaching its highest point in the sky around the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Credit: Russell Croman
FAQs | Tonight | Dec 25, 2014

Was the Christmas Star real?

A wondrous star has grown to be a major symbol of Christmas around the world. But what was it, really?

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Tonight | Dec 19, 2014

Ursid meteors active around December solstice

As many as 100 Ursid meteors per hour have been seen – but only in short bursts. Expect 5 to 10 meteors per hour.

December solstice
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 18, 2014

Everything you need to know: December solstice 2014

December solstice 2014 is coming up this Sunday, December 21 at 23:03 UTC. Celebration time!

Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 14, 2014

Everything you need to know: Geminid meteor shower

Peak viewing was Saturday night, but, if you look in a dark sky late Sunday until dawn Monday, you might still catch a stray Geminid.

meteor_shower_300
Tonight | Dec 10, 2014

EarthSky’s top 10 tips for meteor-watchers

You might see a lot or you might not see many, but if you stay in the house, you won’t see any.

Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 10, 2014

Radiant point for December’s Geminid meteor shower

The December Geminid meteor shower radiates from the constellation Gemini – in the east in mid-evening or overhead by about 2 a.m.

Leonids via NASA
Tonight | Nov 15, 2014

Everything you need to know: Leonid meteor shower

The famous Leonid meteor shower peaks between midnight and dawn on Monday (November 17) and Tuesday (November 18).

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Science Wire | Nov 01, 2014

1 dead 1 injured after crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane – a craft intended to carry tourists on suborbital flights – exploded and crashed during a test flight Friday.

Photo via Kurt Magoon on Flickr
Tonight | Oct 31, 2014

Halloween derived from ancient Celtic cross-quarter day

Yes, Halloween is an astronomical holiday.

solar-eclipse-annular-cp
Blogs | Oct 23, 2014

Is it possible to have three eclipses in one month?

Three eclipses in one calendar month are rare. Three eclipses in one lunar month are more common. From 2000-2050, it happens 14 times.

Orionid radiant point
Tonight | Oct 20, 2014

Everything you need to know: Orionid meteor shower

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower. How and when to watch. In 2014, the peak morning is October 21, but try the mornings before and after, too.