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Astronomy Essentials

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.

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?