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Astronomy Essentials

Photo by Justin Ng
Tonight | May 22, 2015

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2015

With little or no moon to ruin the show, this is a great year for watching the Perseid meteor shower. It’ll peak on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13.

saturn_rings_300
Tonight | May 21, 2015

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you Saturn in 2015

Best time to see Saturn in 2015 is here! Instructions for finding this beautiful golden planet … here.

Moon shot with blue filter via our friend Jv Noriega
Science Wire | May 15, 2015

When is the next Blue Moon?

A Blue Moon can be the second of two full moons in a month. Or it can be third of four full moons in a season. Next Blue Moon is the second full moon of July, 2015.

Closest and farthest moons
Blogs | May 14, 2015

Moon at perigee – nearest point to Earth – May 15

The intriguing cycle of closest and farthest moons. Plus, dates for 2015’s 13 perigees (closest points) and 13 apogees (farthest points).

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | May 08, 2015

May 2015 guide to the five visible planets

Three planets are clearly visible at nightfall this month: Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Mercury is fading – whereas Mars has already disappeared – into the glare of sunset.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Paul Stansifer
Science Wire | May 08, 2015

How far is a light-year?

Light is the fastest-moving stuff in the universe. It travels at an incredible 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. So, in a year, light travels far.

2013 Eta Aquarids.  Composite image by Colin Legg.
Tonight | May 05, 2015

Everything you need to know: Eta Aquarid meteor shower

Eta Aquarid going on now. Good for both the northern tropics and Southern Hemisphere. How to watch, history, radiant point, here.

meteor_shower_300
Tonight | Apr 19, 2015

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.

Lyrids and others via NASA/MSFC/D. Moser
Tonight | Apr 18, 2015

Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower

Awesome Lyrid prospects this year! You might see 10 to 20 meteors per hour at the peak on the mornings of April 22åç and 23, with the nod going to April 23.

April 17, 2015 old moon via Irenilda M Neves
Blogs | Apr 18, 2015

Shortest lunar month of 2015 starts April 18

The shortest lunar month of 2015 starts with the April 18 new moon and ends May 18. Learn about the varying lengths of the lunar months, here.

Moon eclipse - October 2014 - by John W. Johnson.
FAQs | Mar 31, 2015

How to watch a total eclipse of the moon

The April 4, 2015 total lunar eclipse comes in the morning for North America, and in the evening for Eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia. Here’s what to look for.

Oct 23, 2014 partial solar eclipse by Mikael Linder
Blogs | Mar 21, 2015

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2015 and 2016

Upcoming eclipses.

solar-eclipse-annular-cp
Blogs | Mar 18, 2015

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.

earth_lighting_equinox_300
Tonight | Mar 17, 2015

Everything you need to know: Vernal equinox 2015

Happy equinox, everyone! The 2015 vernal or spring (or fall) equinox comes on March 20 at 22:45 UTC (5:45 p.m. CDT).

eclipse-solar-2006-Fred-Espenak-composite
Blogs | Mar 13, 2015

March 20 eclipse and the Saros

There are currently 40 different Saros series in progress, each with its own assigned number. The total solar eclipse of March 20, 2015 belongs to Saros 120.

Photo Credit:  A. Dupree, R. Gilliland, NASA
Blogs | Feb 10, 2015

How far is Betelgeuse?

Finding star distances isn’t easy. Here’s how it’s done, and why astronomers recently modified the distance estimate to the famous star Betelgeuse.

Circumpolar stars, via Wikimedia Commons
FAQs | Feb 03, 2015

What are circumpolar stars?

From Earth’s North and South Poles, all the stars appear as circumpolar. No star rises or sets. At Earth’s equator, no star is circumpolar. And in between?

Groundhog Day
Tonight | Feb 02, 2015

Everything you need to know: Groundhog Day 2015

Groundhog Day – a celebration with its roots in astronomy – comes every year on February 2. It’s the year’s first “cross-quarter” day.

J-shaped Scorpius with Shaula and Lesath
Tonight | Feb 02, 2015

Two stars in Scorpius are a harbinger of spring

Will you see the Scorpion’s stinger stars – Shaula and Lesath – in the cold dawn sky? Look southeast anytime this month, to enjoy a Pawnee version of Groundhog Day.

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!