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Astronomy Essentials

Image via Wikipedia. Sizes of planets are to scale but not the distances. Click here for relative distances.
Science Wire | Nov 22, 2015

When will all five visible planets appear simultaneously?

All five visible planets will appear together in the morning sky early next year – from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. That hasn’t happened since 2005.

Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, dots a backwards question mark of stars known as the Sickle. If you trace all the Leonid meteors backward, they appear to radiate from this area of the sky. This year, in 2015, the planet Jupiter shines in eastern Leo, not far from the Lion's Tail.
Tonight | Nov 17, 2015

Everything you need to know: Leonid meteor shower

Here are all the details you need for 2015’s Leonid meteor shower, peaking on the morning of November 18.

Photo by Justin Ng
Tonight | Nov 16, 2015

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2015

The famous Leonid shower is coming up. Follow the links in this post to learn more about meteor showers for the rest of 2015.

View larger. | Taurid fireball caught by Eliot Herman in Tucson at 3:38 a.m. on November 1, 2015.  Thank you, Elliot!
Science Wire | Nov 02, 2015

Watch for Taurid fireballs this week

We’ve been hearing reports of Taurid fireballs! It’s time to start watching for them. Details on the South Taurid shower, and when to watch.

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

November 2015 guide to the five visible planets

Venus, Jupiter and Mars light up the predawn. Saturn is visible early in the month, then fades into the sunset glare. Mercury transitions to the evening sky.

Binoculars are the perfect stargazing tool
Science Wire | Oct 31, 2015

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.

Photo via Kurt Magoon on Flickr
Science Wire | Oct 30, 2015

Halloween derived from ancient Celtic cross-quarter day

Yes, Halloween is an astronomical holiday.

Hunter's Moon rising in 2014. Photo by Abhinav Singhai.
Science Wire | Oct 26, 2015

Everything you need to know: Hunter’s Moon 2015

The Northern Hemisphere’s full Hunter’s Moon for 2015 falls the nights of October 26 and 27. Will it be bigger, brighter, more colorful?

Full Hunter's moon and halo by Randy Miller Andersen
Tonight | Oct 26, 2015

Minor lunar standstill makes a subtle Hunter’s Moon in 2015

In 2015, diminished tilt of moon’s orbit to Earth’s equator lessens the characteristic effects of the Hunter’s Moon.

Orionid radiant point
Tonight | Oct 20, 2015

Everything you need to know: Orionid meteor shower

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower. How and when to watch. In 2015, the peak morning is October 21 or 22.

Photo by John Foster, Oregon Parks and Rec
Science Wire | Oct 13, 2015

Astronomy events, star parties, festivals, workshops

Plenty more great astronomy events coming up this fall and winter! Let an amateur astronomer point out stars and constellations to you.

April 17, 2015 old moon via Irenilda M Neves
Science Wire | Oct 12, 2015

October 13 to November 11: Longest lunar month of 2015

Longest lunar month of 2015 starts with the October 13 new moon and ends with the November 11 new moon. Learn about the varying lengths of lunar months, here.

Giacobini-Zinner, parent comet of Draconids, via NASA
Tonight | Oct 09, 2015

Everything you need to know: Draconid meteor shower

The maximum number of Draconid meteors are expected to fall on the evening of October 8 and 9.

Comet Encke, parent of the Taurid meteor shower. Image credit: Messenger
Science Wire | Oct 06, 2015

Watch for South Taurid meteors in October

The long-lasting South Taurid meteor shower (September 10 to November 20) may produce a “swarm” of fireballs this month or early next month. Watch for them.

Moon Sept. 18, 2013 by Amy Simpson-Wynne
Tonight | Sep 28, 2015

Everything you need to know: Super Harvest Moon of 2015

It’s the year’s closest supermoon. It’ll undergo a total eclipse. And, for the Northern Hemisphere, the full moon of September 27-28, 2015 is the Harvest Moon.

Closest and farthest moons
Science Wire | Sep 27, 2015

Intriguing cycle of close and far moons

This is why the moon is so ‘super’ tonight. This post explains lunar perigee and includes dates of all closest and farthest moons for each month of 2015.

Moon eclipse - October 2014 - by John W. Johnson.
Science Wire | Sep 27, 2015

How to watch a total eclipse of the moon

Are you planning on watching the September 27-28 eclipse outside? Here are some tips.

Sep 25, 2015

Does a supermoon have a super effect on us?

Closest supermoon of 2015 coming up. Its pull of gravity will create higher-than-usual tides. But gravity doesn’t affect a human body as much as an ocean tide.

Image Credit: Esparta
Tonight | Sep 23, 2015

Everything you need to know: September equinox

September equinox is Wednesday, September 23 at 8:21 UTC. Autumn (or spring) is here!

Harvest Moon on September 29, 2012, as seen by our friend Suzanne Dos Passos in Oregon.
Science Wire | Sep 20, 2015

Minor lunar standstill lessens impact of 2015 Harvest Moon

The shallower inclination of the moon’s orbital plane, relative to the plane of the Earth’s equator, reduces the phenomenon of the Harvest Moon in 2015.

Total solar eclipse via Fred Espenak
Blogs | Sep 11, 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.