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Astronomy Essentials

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?

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.

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.