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Space

Earth from space in northern summer via NASA
Science Wire | Dec 21, 2014

Watching solstices and equinoxes from space

How sunlight falls on Earth’s surface during the solstices and equinoxes, as seen from geosynchronous orbit.

mercury-10-18-2014-MESSENGER-cp
Science Wire | Dec 20, 2014

Help name craters on Mercury

Competition to name five impact craters on Mercury. Submit ideas December 15, 2014, to January 15, 2015. Finalists go to the IAU for selection of five winners.

ursid-radiant-point-cp
Tonight | Dec 19, 2014

Ursid meteors active around December solstice

As many as 100 Ursid meteors per hour have been seen – but only in short bursts. Expect 5 to 10 meteors per hour.

Comet Finlay on December 16th shows a bright coma and short tail. Its sudden rise  to 9th magnitude was confirmed on December 18th by Australian comet observer Paul Camilleri. The moderately condensed object is about 3 arc minutes in diameter. Credit: J. Cerny, M. Masek, K. Honkova, J. Jurysek, J. Ebr, P. Kubanek, M. Prouza, M. Jelinek
Science Wire | Dec 18, 2014

Comet Finlay is in outburst!

With a small ‘scope or large binoculars, you can catch Comet Finlay. It’ll be near Mars on December 23 and 24. Cool photo opportunity for those equipped to catch it!

spacecraft voyager 1
Science Wire | Dec 17, 2014

Voyager spacecraft rides tsunami wave in interstellar space

Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter to ring like a bell. You’ve never heard anything from farther away …

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | Dec 17, 2014

December 2014 guide to the five visible planets

In December, 2014, Venus out briefly after sunset; Mars up in early evening; Jupiter shines from mid-to-late-evening to dawn; Saturn in the southeast predawn; Mercury lost in the sun’s glare.

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, "Cumberland." Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Science Wire | Dec 16, 2014

Questions of life on Mars revive with methane spike

Curiosity rover has now measured a dramatic spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the Martian air, plus other organic molecules in a Martian rock.

Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 14, 2014

Everything you need to know: Geminid meteor shower

Peak viewing was Saturday night, but, if you look in a dark sky late Sunday until dawn Monday, you might still catch a stray Geminid.

Image Credit: NASA
FAQs | Dec 12, 2014

How high up are meteors when they begin to glow?

Meteors begin to glow almost as soon as they hit Earth’s atmosphere, but tend to vaporize (burn up completely) at varying altitudes.

Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Rosetta’s comet fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans

There’s three times the concentration of deuterium-enriched water (heavy water) in the vapor from Rosetta’s comet as in the water on Earth.

An artist's concept of graphene, buckyballs and C70 superimposed on an image of the Helix planetary nebula, a puffed-out cloud of material expelled by a dying star. Image credit: IAC/NASA/NOAO/ESA/STScI/NRAO
Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Buckyballs in space born in molecular striptease?

Oo la la! Big organic compounds called PAHs may “strip” to create buckyballs in space.

Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Mars’ Mount Sharp built of lake sediments?

The Curiosity rover on Mars is exploring the base of Mount Sharp, within the Gale Crater. Did the crater hold a series of lakes? Did lake sediments create the mountain?

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Tonight | Dec 10, 2014

EarthSky’s top 10 tips for meteor-watchers

You might see a lot or you might not see many, but if you stay in the house, you won’t see any.

Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 10, 2014

Radiant point for December’s Geminid meteor shower

The December Geminid meteor shower radiates from the constellation Gemini – in the east in mid-evening or overhead by about 2 a.m.

Artist's concept of an asteroid breaking up, via NASA/JPL
Science Wire | Dec 10, 2014

Asteroid 2014 UR116 is no threat to Earth

Calculations by NASA and Harvard say the closest the asteroid will get to Earth is about 2.7 million miles – over 10 times the moon’s distance – in April 2047.

Jack-Fusco-Chasing-Starlight
Blogs | Videos | Dec 09, 2014

Video: Chasing Starlight

Beautiful new time-lapse video from Jack Fusco, under Canada’s dark skies.

ISS, as captured by Dave Walker
Blogs | Dec 09, 2014

How to spot the International Space Station

Every so often, the International Space Station (ISS) becomes visible in your night sky. Here’s how you can spot it.

Image Credit: NASA
Science Wire | Dec 08, 2014

New Horizon spacecraft wakes up for encounter with Pluto system

It’s awake! On Saturday, the New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation, at the doorstep of Pluto.

Possible iridium flare via Simon Waldram
FAQs | Dec 08, 2014

I saw a flash in the night sky. What is it?

We can’t ever say for sure what you saw in the night sky. But it might have been a flare from an iridium satellite.

ceres-12-1-2014-via-Dawn-cp
Science Wire | Dec 06, 2014

As Dawn approaches, new image of dwarf planet Ceres

1 Ceres is the largest and most massive object in the main asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will reach it in March, 2015.

Credit: NASA/JPL
Blogs | Dec 06, 2014

Dawn Journal: Update on trek from Vesta to Ceres

Dawn spacecraft’s chief engineer and mission director at JPL shares insights. Dawn due to reach Ceres in March, 2015. First spacecraft ever to orbit two planetary bodies!