Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

258,675 subscribers and counting ...

No double moon in 2017, or ever

Can Mars ever appear as large as the moon in Earth’s sky? Heck no.

Leap second to be added December 31

Delay those New Year’s plans. World timekeepers will add a leap second just before midnight on December 31, 2016.

Solstice tale of two cities

December solstice sunrise comes at the same time for St. Augustine, Florida and New York City. But St. Augustine has an hour more of daylight than New York. Here’s why.

A front view of Lucy, based on a reconstruction by paleoartist John Gurche. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution Human Origins Initiative. http://humanorigins.si.edu/australopithecus-afarensis-lucy-adult-female-reconstruction-base-al-288-1-artist-john-gurche-front

Human ancestor Lucy a tree climber

Lucy lived 3.18 million years ago in what’s now Ethiopia. An analysis of high-resolution CT scans of her fossilized skeleton shows she was equipped for climbing trees.

Last quarter moon 3rd of 4 this season

Usually there are only 3 last quarter moons in a season. The November 21, 2016 last quarter moon, though, counts as the 3rd of four.

Today in science: An island is born

On November 14 1963, crew aboard a trawler sailing near Iceland spotted a column of smoke rising from the sea surface. A new island, Surtsey, was being born.

Seeing things that aren’t there

Seeing animals in clouds, or a face in the moon, are examples of pareidolia. Look here for photos to test your own ability to see things that aren’t there.

Mount Hekla was called Gateway to Hell

Mount Hekla is Iceland’s 3rd most active volcano. A large eruption in 1104 earned it the moniker Gateway to Hell. Is Mount Hekla overdue for another eruption?

Can you see lights of Diwali from space?

The Hindu festival of Diwali was October 30, 2016. It’s a festival of light! But can you see the light of Diwali from space?

2016’s longest lunar month starts October 30

Lunar months vary in part because the moon’s orbit around Earth isn’t a perfect circle. Longest (and shortest) lunar months in 2016, here.