Dates of major moon phases, conjunctions and oppositions of planets, meteor showers and other important dates in 2016, from astronomer Fred Espenak.
“Since three years ago, we have planned to shoot this photo. We went to the zone repeatedly but every time we got nothing … until now.” – Sergio Vindas
In Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, near-boiling water bubbles up from underground, high salt concentrations create yellow towers, toxic vapor fogs the air. Can any life survive there? Scientists are trying to find out.
On May 22, 2016, Earth will fly between Mars and the sun, bringing the red planet closer to Earth than it’s been for over a decade. Astronomers call this event an opposition of Mars, and, although Mars’ oppositions typically come every other year, some bring Mars especially close. That’s the case this year. Follow the links inside to learn more.
Video of this year’s oppositions of Mars and Saturn, in front of the constellations Libra and Scorpius. Notice Mars appearing larger around its May 22 opposition! Lots more, plus essential links, inside.
In 2016, the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquarid meteors to light up the predawn darkness on May 5 and 6. It should be a good year for this shower, with the May 6 new moon guaranteeing deliciously dark skies for the 2016 Eta Aquarids. This shower favors the Southern Hemisphere, ranking as one of the finest showers of the year. At mid-northern latitudes, these meteors don’t fall so abundantly, though mid-northern meteor watchers will catch some, too, and might be lucky enough to catch an earthgrazer – a bright, long-lasting meteor that travels horizontally across the sky – before dawn. Follow the links inside to learn more about the Eta Aquarids!
Saturn’s rings appear to be intersecting in an impossible way. But – in this new Cassini spacecraft image – we’re really just seeing a play of light and shadow.
In May, 2016, Jupiter is the brightest starlike object up when the sun goes down. Mercury, the innermost planet, tranists the sun on May 9. Earth swings between Mars and the sun on May 22, giving us our best view of the planet in about two years! Saturn and the bright star Antares make a triangle with Mars on the sky’s dome. Venus is behind the sun.