Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

211,967 subscribers and counting ...

Image via Debbie Lewis

Asteroid Day 2016 is June 30

Hundreds of events – films, concerts, panels with engineers, scientists and astronauts – about asteroids and how to protect our planet from asteroid impacts.

Fallen trees at Tunguska.  This image is from 1927, when Russian scientists were finally able to get to the scene.  Photograph from the Soviet Academy of Science 1927 expedition led by Leonid Kulik.

Today in science: The Tunguska explosion

On June 30, 1908, an explosion over Siberia killed reindeer and flattened trees. But no crater was ever found. It may have been a small asteroid.

Image via Las Cumbres Observatory

Join astronomers in tracking asteroids

Sign up to trigger asteroid observations on a global telescope network on Asteroid Day, June 30. Anyone can help! Sign up by 00:00 UTC on July 1.


Juno on Jupiter’s doorstep

Juno spacecraft on approach to Jupiter! The craft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4, first spacecraft to orbit the giant planet since Galileo (1995-2003).

Taken during the 2015 Perseid meteor shower in August - at Mount Rainier National Park - by Matt Dieterich.  He calls the photo 'Skyfall.'

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2016

2016 will be a great year for watching meteors in late July and early August. A dark sky is best … peak time is late night to dawn.

Close-up view of a false-color infrared image of Jupiter. See full-sized image below. Image via ESO

Spectacular new images of Jupiter

Just days before the Juno spacecraft’s arrival at Jupiter on July 4, astronomers unveiled these VLT images of Jupiter in the infrared.

Nakhla meteorite specimen at the American Museum of Natural History, NY. Nakhla fell in Egypt in 1911.

Today in science: Egypt’s first meteorite

It was the first meteorite in the Egyptian record. Years after the event, scientists concluded through various tests that it came all the way from Mars.


Cygnus spacecraft’s fiery re-entry

Scientists aboard an aircraft caught the impressive streak and final breakup of the Orbital ATK Cygnus supply ship, as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on June 22.


A new dark spot on Neptune

Voyager 2 in 1989 – and Hubble Space Telescope in 1994 – saw similar features. But this dark spot, or vortex, is the first seen on Neptune in the 21st century.


Watch 5 moonsets over Zimbabwe

Moonset at 5 different points on the horizon, at 5 different moon phases, from a young moon to the June 20 full moon at Zimbabwe’s winter solstice.

Artist's concept of a greenhouse on the surface of Mars via SAIC/ NASA.

Can we grow food on Mars?

Apparently we can, and you can view details in this video from a talk given at Mars One’s recent private event in Amsterdam.

Marathon Valley on Mars opens to a view across Endeavour Crater in this scene from the Pancam of NASA's Mars rover Opportunity. The scene merges many exposures taken during April and May 2016. The view spans from north (left) to west-southwest. Its foreground shows the valley's fractured texture. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

Video sweep across Mars’ Marathon Valley

A panoramic view from the Mars rover Opportunity. Wow! This video will take you to another world …

Artist's impression of the simultaneous stellar eclipse and planetary transit events on Kepler-1647. Such a double eclipse event is known as a syzygy. Image via Lynette Cook

Largest planet yet orbiting 2 suns

Imagine seeing 2 suns in your sky. Like the fictional planet Tatooine in Star Wars, some planets do orbit 2 stars. Kepler-164 is the largest yet discovered.

The HiRISE camera in orbit around Mars caught Mars Curiosity rover, just left of center in this image, on March 25, 2016 (MSL Sol 1291). Image via University of Arizona.

One robot spacecraft spies another

See the Mars rover Curiosity, nestled on Mars’ surface? The sharp-eyed HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught the view from space.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft spied extensional faults on Pluto, a sign that the dwarf planet has undergone a global expansion possibly due to the slow freezing of a sub-surface ocean. A new analysis by Brown University scientists bolsters that idea, and suggests that ocean is likely still there today. Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.

Liquid water ocean under Pluto ice?

“That you could have vast liquid water ocean habitats so far from the sun on Pluto – and on other Kuiper belt objects as well – is absolutely incredible.”

Artist's concept of young planet K2-33b, via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Astronomers find a baby planet

Planet K2-33b resides in a solar system in the process of being born. In human terms, if Earth were 45 years old, this planet would be just a few weeks old.

This artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter. Image via  NASA/JPL-Caltech

Juno to enter Jupiter orbit July 4

Juno will fly closer to Jupiter than any spacecraft yet, into the harshest radiation environment in the solar system.

Hot Jupiters, exoplanets around the same size as Jupiter that orbit very closely to their stars, often have cloud or haze layers in their atmospheres. This may prevent space telescopes from detecting atmospheric water that lies beneath the clouds, according to a study in the Astrophysical Journal. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech

Exoplanets’ water hidden by clouds?

Hot Jupiters have masses like our Jupiter, but orbit their stars closely. They often have cloud or haze layers, which, a new study says, may hide atmospheric water.


Success! Mystery star to be monitored

Astronomers have raised $100,000 via Kickstarter to observe KIC 8462852, or Tabby’s Star, sometimes called the most mysterious star in the universe.

Asteroid 2016 HO3 has an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Earth has a new quasi-satellite

Asteroid 2016 HO3 is Earth’s nearby companion in space. It’s not a second moon, but it has an orbit so similar to ours that it’ll remain nearby for hundreds of years.