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Astronomy Essentials

Image Credit: Esparta
Tonight | Sep 21, 2014

Everything you need to know: September equinox

September equinox is Monday at 9:29 p.m. CDT (September 23 at 2:29 UTC).

Photo via Nezih Durmazlar
Tonight | Sep 09, 2014

Minor lunar standstill lessens impact of 2014 Harvest Moon

The diminished inclination of the moon’s orbit to Earth’s equator lessens the impact of this year’s Harvest Moon.

Photo Credit: Arby Reed
Tonight | Sep 09, 2014

Looking for a tide almanac? EarthSky recommends …

The tide almanacs recommended here are based on astronomical influences on the tides. They can help you know when to expect high and low tides.

Moon Sept. 18, 2013 by Amy Simpson-Wynne
Tonight | Sep 06, 2014

Everything you need to know: The super Harvest Moon of 2014

That bright moon now in the evening sky is waxing toward a Harvest Moon on the night of September 8-9. A super Harvest Moon!

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | Sep 01, 2014

September 2014 guide to the five visible planets

Mars and Saturn appear at nightfall. From southerly latitudes, you can also view Mercury near the sunset horizon. The morning planets are Jupiter and Venus.

Zodiacal light
Blogs | Aug 29, 2014

Everything you need to know: zodiacal light or false dawn

The zodiacal light is an eerie light extending up from the horizon. No matter where you are on Earth, springtime or autumn is the best time to see it.

Wikimedia Commons, Paul Stansifer, User:84
FAQs | Tonight | Aug 29, 2014

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.

Hoax image via social media.
Blogs | Tonight | Aug 27, 2014

No double moon on August 27

Will Mars and the moon will appear the same size on August 27, 2014? Gosh, no. What’s really amazing is the staying power of this 11-year-old hoax.

Young moon of March 31, 2014 by Ken Christison.
Blogs | Tonight | Aug 25, 2014

Longest lunar month of 2014 starts on August 25

The longest lunar month of 2014 starts with the August 25 new moon and ends September 24. All you need to know about the varying lengths of the lunar months, here.

Meteor seen during 2013 Eta Aquarid shower by Justin Ng
Tonight | Aug 11, 2014

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2014

The moon has gotten really large and bright in the sky. Full moon – closest supermoon this year – comes on August 10. Luckily, the Perseids produce more fireballs than any other meteor shower.

Tonight | Aug 02, 2014

Top 7 tips to minimize moon and optimize 2014’s Perseid meteor shower

The August 2014 supermoon will do its best to drown out the 2014 Perseid meteor shower. Here are 7 tips for enjoying the Perseid meteors in 2014.

Blogs | Jul 28, 2014

As Comet Siding Spring approaches Mars, NASA gets ready

The icy core of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring won’t strike Mars, but dust from the comet might damage our spacecraft.

Perseid meteor
Tonight | Jul 24, 2014

Everything you need to know: Perseid meteor shower

In the N. Hemisphere, the annual August Perseid meteor shower ranks as the year’s favorite shower. A big, bright supermoon interferes in 2014. So start observing the Perseids soon!

Tonight | Jul 24, 2014

Everything you need to know: Delta Aquarid meteor shower

In 2014, late July is best for this shower, thanks to the new moon on July 26, and the shower’s nominal peak around July 29.

Binoculars are the perfect stargazing tool
Tonight | Jul 17, 2014

Top 6 tips for using ordinary binoculars for stargazing

If you’re a beginning stargazer or a veteran of thousands of starlit nights, binoculars can be your best friend. Here’s how to get started.

Jul 11, 2014

Does a supermoon have a super effect on us?

The moon (and sun) creates the tides. An extra-close full moon creates higher tides. But this same gravitational effect doesn’t extend to humans.

Solar eclipse November 3, 2013 by Ken Christison
Tonight | Jul 10, 2014

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2014 and 2015

The next eclipse is a total eclipse of the full moon – the Northern Hemisphere’s full Hunter’s Moon – on the night of October 7-8, 2014.

Self-portrait by Dan Bush
Tonight | Jul 07, 2014

EarthSky’s top 10 tips for super stargazers

Here are 10 simple tips that can help you connect with the night sky, and have fun.

Pluto, Charon, sun. Artist's concept via LPI
Tonight | Jul 04, 2014

Earth passes between sun and Pluto on July 4

Pluto’s 2014 opposition comes just one year before the New Horizons spacecraft will encounter this distance world and its moons.

Tonight | Jun 21, 2014

Everything you need to know: June solstice 2014

It’s that beautiful time of year again in the N. Hemisphere, when the June solstice – your signal to celebrate summer – is upon us.

Moon shot with blue filter via our friend Jv Noriega
Tonight | Jun 14, 2014

When is the next Blue Moon?

Blue Moon can be 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.