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Astronomy Essentials

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?

Science Wire | Mar 28, 2016

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

Learn how to identify Saturn for the rest of 2016.

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.

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.

Photo by John Foster, Oregon Parks and Rec
Science Wire | Feb 29, 2016

Astronomy events, star parties, festivals, workshops

We just added a bunch of new events for various parts of North America in the coming months. Click in, and find some astronomy fun!

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.

Science Wire | Feb 07, 2016

Mars’ west quadrature on February 7

At west quadrature on February 7, 2016, the red planet appears 90% illuminated as seen through a telescope. Fantastic time to see Mars is just ahead.

Photo Credit:  A. Dupree, R. Gilliland, NASA
Science Wire | Feb 05, 2016

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.