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Astronomy Essentials

Total lunar eclipse composite image by Fred Espenak
Tonight | Nov 24, 2014

November 2014 guide to the five visible planets

This month, Mars lights up early evening. Jupiter is out from midnight until dawn. Mercury and Saturn in sun’s glare in late November. Where is Venus?

Meteor seen during 2013 Eta Aquarid shower by Justin Ng
Tonight | Nov 23, 2014

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2014

2014 Geminid meteor shower will feature a last quarter moon. Some bright Geminids will withstand moonlight! Evenings December 12 and 13. Mornings December 13 and 14.

Geminid meteor by Mike O'Neal.
Blogs | Tonight | Nov 23, 2014

Everything you need to know: Geminid meteor shower

Peak viewing for the 2014 Geminid meteor shower will probably occur on from late evening December 13 through dawn on December 14.

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).

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.

Oct 23, 2014 partial solar eclipse by Mikael Linder
Blogs | Oct 26, 2014

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2015 and 2016

Upcoming eclipses.

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.

Comet/Mars encounter on Oct. 19, via NASA.
Blogs | Oct 19, 2014

Comet Siding Spring’s near-miss of Mars was October 19

The close pass of Comet Siding Spring to Mars was exciting! Closest approach was October 19. Watch for photos from the event here at EarthSky.org.

Tonight | Oct 06, 2014

Minor lunar standstill lessens impact of 2014 Hunter’s Moon

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

Giacobini-Zinner, parent comet of Draconids, via NASA
Tonight | Oct 06, 2014

Everything you need to know: Draconid meteor shower

Can you believe it? A meteor shower on the night of the lunar eclipse.

Tonight | Oct 06, 2014

Find the radiant point for the Draconid meteor shower

Find the two brightest stars in Draco the Dragon, to gaze into the Dragon’s flaming eyes and to behold the radiant point of the Draconid meteor shower. Sound exciting?

Total solar eclipse via Fred Espenak
Blogs | Oct 02, 2014

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.

Tonight | Sep 25, 2014

Moon and Mercury low in west after sunset September 25 and 26

Try to catch the young moon, Mercury and star Spica in the sunset direction on September 25 and/or 26. Best seen from S. Hemisphere. N. Hemisphere viewers … try it!

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!

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.