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EarthSky // Page 3

Moon and Winter Circle on March 26

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Tonight’s wide waxing crescent moon resides inside the Winter Circle – an incredibly large star configuration made of six brilliant stars – as seen from North America. We’ll see the Winter Circle fill up much of the south to southwest sky at dusk/nightfall. Elsewhere in the world, the moon will also be in the midst of these stars, or at least near them.

‘Seeds of Time’ to hit theaters in May

View larger. | The Svalbard Global Seed Vault officially opened on February 26, 2008.  The roof and vault entrance are filled with highly reflective stainless steel, mirrors, and prisms, designed to reflect polar light in the summer months, making the seed vault visible from a distance.  Image via Norway's Ministry of Agriculture and Food

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault officially opened in 2008. Its roof and vault entrance are filled with highly reflective stainless steel, mirrors, and prisms, designed to reflect polar light in the summer months, making the seed vault visible from a distance. In winter, there is a special lighting system. There is no permanent staff on site. Image via Norway’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Have you heard of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – sometimes called the Doomsday Vault – a seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, only 810 miles (about 1,300 kilometers) from the North Pole? Cary Fowler spearheaded its groundbreaking in 2006, and he remains the seed bank’s prime mover. Now a new film – due to open on May 22 – tracks the passion for saving a global diversity of seeds that has occupied Fowler for three decades.

Sunsets are moving north

Photos taken in March 2015 by Abhijit Juvekar in Dombai, India.

Photos taken in March 2015 by Abhijit Juvekar in Dombivli, India, part of the Mumbai metropolitan region.

Abhijit Juvekar posted this photo to EarthSky Facebook yesterday (March 24, 2015), in an illustration of the fact that – at this time of year, as seen from across the globe – the sunsets are moving a little farther northward each evening.

On March 25, moon heading to northern standstill

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At northern lunar standstill – its northernmost point for the month – on March 26 at 14:29 UTC, the moon is about 18 degrees north of the celestial equator. That places it high in Northern Hemisphere, low in Southern Hemisphere, skies.

Does wandering Jupiter account for our strange solar system?

Jupiter is thought to have migrated inward toward the sun before retreating to its current position in the solar system. (Photo credit: NASA/Cassini)

Jupiter is thought to have migrated inward toward the sun before retreating to its current position in the solar system. (Photo credit: NASA/Cassini)

Scientists say Jupiter swept through the inner solar system, setting off a series of collisions that smashed a first generation of inner planets to pieces, before it retreated into its current orbit. That’s according to a new study published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings help explain why our solar system is so different from the hundreds of other planetary systems that astronomers have discovered in recent years.

Highest and lowest points on Earth

Part of a new infographic on Earth's highest and lowest places.  Click in for the whole picture.   Via Chiltern Thrust Bore.

Part of a new infographic on Earth’s highest and lowest places. Click in for the whole picture. Via Chiltern Thrust Bore.

What are the highest points on Earth in contrast to the deepest manmade boreholes and ocean trenches? Click into this post to see the whole infographic.

Largest asteroid impact zone in Australia

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

Scientists in Australia have discovered a 400-kilometer-wide (250-mile-wide) impact zone from a huge asteroid that broke into two chunks moments before it slammed into the ground millions of years ago. It’s the largest impact zone ever found on Earth.

Dwarf planet Ceres gets place names

View larger. | Topographic map of Ceres, with quad names.  Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society created this image.  She applied quad names - announced last week at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston - to a digital elevation model of Ceres.  The crater with the bright feature is right on the boundary between the Palo and Ebisu quads.  NASA / JPL / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / JohnVV / Emily Lakdawalla

View larger. | Topographic map of Ceres, with quad names. NASA / JPL / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / JohnVV / Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society created this image after last week’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston. At the conference, scientists announced names for various regions (quads) on Ceres, and Lakdawalla applied those names to a digital elevation model of the little world, resulting in the image above.

Star of the week: Acrux, brightest star in Southern Cross

Constellation Crux photo by Christopher J Picking in New Zealand. Used with permission.

Bluish Acrux, otherwise known as Alpha Crucis, is the brightest star in the constellation Crux the Southern Cross. It is the 13th brightest star in all the sky. Because it is located far to the south of the sky’s equator, this star cannot be seen from much of North America. Observers north of central Florida or south Texas are out of luck. Observers in Hawaii sometimes tell us they’ve spotted it. You have to be in the Southern Hemisphere to see Crux in all its glory. Therein lies much of its magic and mystery. Follow the links inside to learn more.

Do stars make sounds?

Photo by Jason Brownlee.  Visit Jason Brownlee Design on Facebook

If only we could hear them, would the stars make a sound? Photo posted to EarthSky Facebook by Jason Brownlee.

Is there an actual harmony of the spheres? A chance discovery by a team of researchers has provided experimental evidence that stars might generate sound. They announced their discovery March 23, 2015.