Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

208,755 subscribers and counting ...

Astronomy Essentials

Jim Elliott of Powell, Ohio, contributed this photo. He wrote: “The moon over Jupiter over Columbus, Ohio, at the OSU planetarium star party. April 16, 2016.”
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Astronomy events, star parties, festivals, workshops

Summertime star parties! We’ve added many new events to this list of astronomical events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Find one near you, join in and have fun.

Photo via Tim Geers
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Only 2 full moons in a season possible?

The May 21 Blue Moon carries that name because it’s the 3rd of 4 full moons in a season. But can a season have just 2 full moons?

Image Credit: Luz Adriana Villa A.
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Can you tell me the full moon names?

For both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, full moons have names corresponding to calendar months or seasons of the year.

View larger. | Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS) captured earlier this year by Efraín Morales, of the Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe.
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

A new binocular comet before dawn

Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS) is now visible in binoculars before dawn. This post has charts and other info that can help you spot the comet in the coming weeks!

Earth will between between the sun and Mars on May 22, 2016.  Then, the distance between our two worlds will be at its least for this two-year period, and Mars will appear brightest in our sky.  Image via Fourmilab.
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

Mars is bright! Here’s why

We’re beginning to get questions about that red “star” in the east each evening. It’s Mars! We’ll pass between Mars and the sun this weekend.

Most Blue Moons are not blue in color.  This photo of a moon among fast-moving clouds was created using special filters. Image via EarthSky Facebook friend Jv Noriega.
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

Upcoming Blue Moon near red Mars

The May 21 full moon is a seasonal Blue Moon – an older definition of the term. Watch for it this weekend, near brilliant Mars.

mars-saturn-2016-video-still-sq
Science Wire | May 08, 2016

Video: Mars and Saturn in 2016

Video of this year’s oppositions of Mars and Saturn, in front of the constellations Libra and Scorpius. Notice Mars appearing larger around its May 22 opposition!

saturn_rings_300
Science Wire | May 06, 2016

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you Saturn in 2016

Saturn isn’t as bright as Mars, but it’s near Mars on the sky’s dome. It’ll soon be at its best for the year. Learn how to identify Saturn for the rest of 2016.

The red planet, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: Jim Bell (Cornell University), Justin Maki (JPL), and Mike Wolff (Space Sciences Institute) and NASA
Science Wire | May 06, 2016

Guide to Mars’ opposition on May 22

Earth flies between Mars and sun on May 22, bringing it closer than Mars has been in over a decade. How to find and enjoy Mars during 2016’s close opposition!

Comet Halley's position in May, 2016. The view is from the north side of the solar system, whereby the planets orbit the sun in a counterclockwise direction - but Halley's Comet orbits the sun clockwise. Click here for Comet Halley's present position, or if you'd like, change the date to view its position in any chosen year.
Science Wire | May 05, 2016

Comet Halley, parent of 2 meteor showers

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower was spawned by the famous Comet Halley. But Halley spawned another meteor shower, too.

631px-FullMoon2010
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Shortest lunar month of 2016 starts May 6

Although the lunar month has a mean period of 29 days 12 hours and 44 minutes, the actual length varies throughout the year. Lengths of lunar months in 2016.

View larger. | As January, 2016, opens, there are four planets in the predawn sky.  Ben Zavala caught them on January 4, 2015.  Thanks, Ben!
Science Wire | May 03, 2016

Astronomical events in 2016

Dates of major moon phases, conjunctions and oppositions of planets, meteor showers and other important dates in 2016, from astronomer Fred Espenak.

Eta Aquarius in 2013 by Colin Legg
Tonight | May 02, 2016

Everything you need to know: Eta Aquarid meteor shower

In 2016, Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on mornings of May 5 and 6. How to watch, history, radiant point, what part of Earth is favored, here.

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | May 01, 2016

May 2016 guide to the 5 bright planets

Jupiter super bright, up at sunset. Mercury transit on May 9. Mars opposition on May 22. Saturn also near best, near Mars. Great month for planet-watching!

Photo by Justin Ng
Tonight | Apr 23, 2016

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2016

A list of major meteor showers in 2016. Next one up: the Eta Aquarids. Peak mornings May 5 and 6, but it’s a broad peak … watch several mornings around peak dates.

Lyrids and others via NASA/MSFC/D. Moser
Tonight | Apr 12, 2016

Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower

Full moon is out all night at the peak of this year’s Lyrid meteor shower. Best time to watch before dawn on April 22, 2016, but … will you see any meteors?

earth_lighting_equinox_300
Tonight | Mar 20, 2016

Everything you need to know: Vernal equinox 2016

Earliest spring since 1896! The 2016 vernal or spring (or fall) equinox comes on March 20 at 4:30 UTC (March 19 at 11:30 p.m. CDT).

Sunrise over Red Sea by Graham Telford
Tonight | Mar 19, 2016

Fastest sunsets near equinoxes

Here’s a natural phenomenon you might never have imagined. That is, the sun actually sets faster around the time of an equinox.

solar-eclipse-annular-cp
Blogs | Mar 18, 2016

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.

Zodiacal light
Tonight | Feb 16, 2016

Everything you need to know: zodiacal light or false dusk

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.

From late January, and through mid-February, 5 bright planets were visible at once in the predawn sky. This image is from February 8, 2016.  It's by Eliot Herman in Tucson, Arizona.  View on Flickr.
Science Wire | Feb 08, 2016

See 5 bright planets at once

First time we can see 5 planets at once since 2005. All 5 are up before dawn, still, and all 5 will remain visible until Mercury disappears in the dawn just after mid-February.