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Astronomy Essentials

Photo by Justin Ng
Tonight | Apr 18, 2015

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2015

Yay! It’s almost meteor season again. Next up … the Lyrid meteor shower on the mornings of April 22 and 23.

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 today

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.

Closest and farthest moons
Blogs | Apr 17, 2015

Moon at perigee – nearest point to Earth – April 17

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 | Mar 31, 2015

April 2015 guide to the five visible planets

Three planets easy to see throughout April 2015. Venus and Jupiter at nightfall. Saturn late evening on. Mercury joins after sunset in late April.

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.

Moon shot with blue filter via our friend Jv Noriega
Tonight | Jan 14, 2015

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.

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!

earth_sun_300
FAQs | Jan 03, 2015

Are the December solstice and January perihelion related?

December solstice 2014 is December 21. Earth is closest to the sun in 2015 on January 4. Coincidence?

Quadrans Muralis via Atlas Coelestis.
Tonight | Jan 02, 2015

Everything you need to know: Quadrantid meteor shower

The 2015 Quadrantid meteor shower is likely to produce the most meteors before dawn January 4, although in the glare of the almost-full moon.

quadrantid-radiant-cp
Tonight | Jan 02, 2015

Quadrantid meteors fly in moonlight in early January 2015

You might see the 2015 Quadrantid meteor shower peak in moon-free skies just before dawn on January 3 or 4.

 
Tonight | Dec 27, 2014

See brightest star Sirius at midnight on New Year’s Eve

Sirius should be called the New Year’s star. It celebrates the birth of 2015 by reaching its highest point in the sky around the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.