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Astronomy Essentials

comet-siding-spring-NASA-JPL-orbit-cp
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.

Meteor seen during 2013 Eta Aquarid shower by Justin Ng
Tonight | Jul 26, 2014

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2014

Don’t wait until August 11, 12 and 13 to watch the Perseids in 2014. The moon will be in the way. Start watching for meteors now!

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!

Comet_holmes_and_meteor
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.

Young moon of March 31, 2014 by Ken Christison.
Tonight | Jul 22, 2014

Longest lunar month of 2014 starts on August 25

The longest lunar month of 2014 will start August 25 and end September 24. All you need to know about the varying lengths of the lunar months, here.

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.

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | Jul 14, 2014

July 2014 guide to the five visible planets

By mid-July, Jupiter is gone. As darkness falls, Mars and star Spica are closest together for 2014, with Saturn nearby. Venus and Mercury east before dawn.

Supermoon-cp
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.

sunset_white_rock_lake_Dallas_Lucy_Bee
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.

Photo Credit: jasonb42882
FAQs | Jun 06, 2014

Why is Mars sometimes bright and sometimes faint?

The brightness of Mars in our sky depends on where our two planets are in orbit around the sun.

Photographed and composed by Susan Jensen
Tonight | Jun 03, 2014

Find Summer Triangle ascending in the east on June evenings

The Summer Triangle consists of three bright stars in three constellations – Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, Vega in Lyra the Harp, and Altair in Aquila the Eagle.

2013 Eta Aquarids.  Composite image by Colin Legg.
Tonight | May 05, 2014

Everything you need to know: Eta Aquarid meteor shower

Eta Aquarids best before dawn May 5, 6, and 7. Good for both the northern tropics and Southern Hemisphere. How to watch, history, radiant point, here.

saturn_rings_300
Tonight | Apr 29, 2014

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you Saturn in 2014

Best time to see Saturn in 2014 is here! Instructions for finding this beautiful golden planet … here.

Photo credit: Oliver Floyd
Blogs | Photos | Apr 29, 2014

See it! Photos and video of partial solar eclipse of April 29

Check out these photos and video of the April 29 partial solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipse via Fred Espenak
Tonight | Apr 28, 2014

When is the next total solar eclipse in the U.S.?

The next total solar eclipse visible from the mainland U.S. will be on August 21, 2017.

Lyrids and others via NASA/MSFC/D. Moser
Tonight | Apr 21, 2014

Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower

In 2014, Lyrid meteor shower peaks on Earth Day morning, April 22. Bright moon interferes, but the Lyrids are bright, too, and can withstand some moonlight.

meteor_shower_300
Tonight | Apr 21, 2014

EarthSky’s top 10 tips for meteor-watchers

You might see a lot or you might not see many, but if you stay in the house, you won’t see any.