Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

231,588 subscribers and counting ...

Path of 2017 total solar eclipse, via Fred Espenak.

Total eclipse of sun: August 21, 2017

All you need to know about the 1st total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979, from eclipse master Fred Espenak. Start planning now!

Positions of the 4 visible planets during totality in the August 21, 2017 eclipse. Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.

See 4 planets during 2017 solar eclipse

Not just planets. Many bright stars will be seen near the eclipsed sun as well. Plan now for this spectacular eclipse, first total solar eclipse from contiguous U.S. since 1979!

supermoon-perigee-full-moon-apogee-2011-cb-devgun-cp

Farthest moon of 2016

The October 31 moon is farthest for this year. In about 2 weeks, we’ll have the closest moon since 1948. It’ll be a full moon and a supermoon.

Photo via Kurt Magoon/Flickr

Halloween is an astronomical holiday

Halloween, derived from Samhain, a festival of the ancient Celts and Druids, is a cross-quarter day – midway between the autumn equinox and winter solstice.

The moon's orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle.  But it is very nearly circular, as the above diagram shows.  Diagram by Brian Koberlein.

2016’s longest lunar month starts October 30

Lunar months vary in part because the moon’s orbit around Earth isn’t a perfect circle. Longest (and shortest) lunar months in 2016, here.

View larger. | Jeff Dai in Tibet captured this Taurid fireball on November 10, 2015.  He wrote: "The Taurid fireball make a beautiful reflections on the Yamdrok Lake."

Keep watching for Taurid fireballs

The North and South Taurid meteor showers are going on simultaneously now. They’re considered minor, but produce many fireballs, or bright meteors.

Joe Randall created this composite shot of the Orionid meteor shower from images taken on October 21, 2014.  Thanks, Joe!

Look for Orionid meteors this month

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower. How and when to watch. In 2016, the peak mornings is October 21, but, by then, the moon will be in the way.

Taken during the 2015 Perseid meteor shower in August - at Mount Rainier National Park - by Matt Dieterich.  He calls the photo 'Skyfall.'

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2016

Look here for information about all the major meteor showers between now and the year’s end.

Hunter's Moon rising in 2014. Photo by Abhinav Singhai.

2016 has a super Hunter’s Moon

The Northern Hemisphere’s full Hunter’s Moon for 2016 falls the nights of October 15 and 16. Will it be bigger, brighter, more colorful?

Depiction of minor lunar standstill outside the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC. They represent markings found in New Mexico's Chaco Canyon. Image via Flickr user Catface3.

Minor lunar standstill and Hunter’s Moon

The moon’s appearance in our sky follows a cycle. The cycle of minor lunar standstills diminishes some Hunter’s Moon characteristics in 2016.