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Planets – and maybe some meteors – in late October 2014

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Astronomy is said to be the people’s science in part because anyone, regardless of training, can participate. There is so much you can observe in the sky even without a telescope, and of course meteors – also called shooting stars – are high on the list. Observing planets counts as a big thrill, too. On this late October 2014 night, you can catch the moon and two planets in the evening, sporadic meteors from late night till dawn, plus two planets in the morning sky.

Spectacular explosion at launch for Antares rocket

The unmanned Antares rocket carrying an unmanned satellite – and loaded with supplies for the International Space Station – exploded during launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia today (October 28, 2014). There are no causalities known at the time of this writing.

Where is the missing Deepwater Horizon oil?

The Deepwater Horizon oil is likely at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Deepwater Horizon oil is likely at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In the more than four years since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an unsolved mystery has been the location of millions of barrels of submerged oil thought to be trapped in the deep ocean.

But now some of the missing oil has been found, say scientists. In a new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday, a team of researchers have been able to describe the path about 2 million barrels of oil followed to its resting place on the deep ocean floor.

Why are these biologists dressed up as whooping cranes?

A whooping crane costume worn by biologists. Image Credit: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS. A whooping crane costume worn by biologists. Image Credit:

Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. These biologists are dressed as whooping cranes to care for chicks that will eventually be released into the wild.

Exciting Rosetta space mission inspires a magical short film

Everything about the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission – which, in August, caught up to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and began moving in tandem with it – has been fantastic so far. And now – just weeks before Rosetta will send a lander to the surface of its comet – ESA and Platige Image have released a very good short film, called Ambition. It’s not a space documentary, or like any film about space exploration you’ve ever seen.

Three amazing feats of spiders

Halloween time is spider time. Three amazing spider skills you might not have known about. Like, did you know spiders can dance?

Lifeform of the week: Vampires are real!

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You might think twice about walking down that dark alley alone after learning about the nefarious habits of the vampire bat, squid and finch.

Moon and Mars again on October 28

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Tonight … watch as the waxing crescent moon and the planet Mars light up the southwest at nightfall on October 28. As evening deepens, the celestial twosome sinks westward and follows the sun beneath the horizon by mid-evening.

A week of solar flares at one giant sunspot

The bright light in the lower right of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA's SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hours, which erupted from the largest active region seen on the sun in 24 years. Image credit: NASA/SDO

The bright light in the lower right of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on October 26, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO. Image credit: NASA/SDO

A giant active region on the sun erupted yesterday (October 26) with its sixth substantial flare since October 19. This is the third X-class flare in 48 hours, erupting from the largest active region seen on the sun in 24 years.

When is the next supermoon?

What most call a Blue Moon isn't blue in color. It's only Blue in name. This great moon photo from EarthSky Facebook friend Rebecca Lacey in Cambridge, Idaho.

Moon photo is from Rebecca Lacey in Cambridge, Idaho.

According to the definition of supermoon coined by Richard Nolle 30 years ago, the year 2015 has a total of six supermoons. They are the new moons of January, February and March and the full moons of August, September and October. The September 28, 2015 full moon will be the closest supermoon of 2015. It’ll also undergo a total lunar eclipse! Follow the links inside to learn about the supermoons of 2015.