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Astronomy Essentials

Groundhog Day
Science Wire | Feb 02, 2016

Everything you need to know: Groundhog Day 2016

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, 2016

Two stars in Scorpius are harbingers of spring

Go ahead. Treat yourself to something beautiful, and hopeful: a glimpse of two stars that represented a Pawnee version of Groundhog Day.

Photo credit: Gattou
Science Wire | Jan 23, 2016

Can you tell me the full moon names?

For both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the full moons have names corresponding to the calendar months or the seasons of the year.

Image via shadowandsubstance.com
Blogs | Jan 05, 2016

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2016

The next eclipse is a total solar eclipse – caused by a supermoon – on March 8-9, 2016.

Total solar eclipse via Fred Espenak
Blogs | Jan 05, 2016

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.

Tonight | Jan 02, 2016

Everything you need to know: Quadrantid meteor shower

The 2016 Quadrantid meteor shower is likely to produce the most meteors before dawn January 4, with little disruption from the waning crescent moon.

Full moons at apogee (left) and perigee (right) in 2011.  Composite image by EarthSky community member C.B. Devgun in India.  Thanks, C.B.!
Science Wire | Jan 01, 2016

Close and far moons in 2016

This year’s 14 lunar apogees (far moons) and 13 lunar perigees (near moons). We also share a secret with you on the intriguing cycle of far and close moons.

FAQs | Dec 31, 2015

Are the December solstice and January perihelion related?

December solstice 2015 was December 22. Earth will closest to the sun in 2016 on January 2. Coincidence?

As the Moon orbits Earth, its changing geometry with respect to the Sun produces the characteristic phases. This composite image is a mosaic made from 25 individual photos of the Moon and illustrates its phases over one synodic month. For complete details about this image, see Moon Phases Mosaic. The individual images included in this composite can be found in the Moon Phases Gallery. For more composites, see Moon Phases Mosaics. Photo copyright 2012 by Fred Espenak.
Science Wire | Dec 29, 2015

Moon in 2016

Pretty much everything you want to know about the moon in 2016 – including phases, cycles, eclipses and supermoons – from world-renowned astronomer Fred Espenak.

Tonight | Dec 27, 2015

See brightest star Sirius at midnight on New Year’s Eve

Sirius might also be called the New Year’s star. It reaches its highest point in the sky around midnight on New Year’s Eve.