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FAQs

What is virga?

Virga over west Texas by Deborah Byrd.

Virga over west Texas by Deborah Byrd.

We’ve all seen virga, but maybe not known what it’s called. Virga is rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. Enjoy these photos!

How to see a green flash

San Diego, California on October 25, 2012, taken by EarthSky Facebook friend Jim Grant.  Thanks Jim!

San Diego, California on October 25, 2012, taken by EarthSky Facebook friend Jim Grant. Thanks Jim!

It’s said that once you’ve seen a green flash, you’ll never go wrong in matters of the heart. Here’s all you need to know to see the legendary green flash, plus great pics.

What makes Venus the brightest planet?

View larger. | Venus and Jupiter (with moons) on June 30 by Geraint Smith in Taos, New Mexico.

Venus and Jupiter (with moons) on June 30, 2015 by Geraint Smith in Taos, New Mexico.

Venus is bright because it’s nearby, because it’s blanketed in highly reflective clouds and because of its location in orbit with respect to Earth now.

How to see anticrepuscular rays

Anticrepuscular rays and a rising moon caught by Jenney Disimon in Sabah, North Borneo on June 4, 2015.

Jenney Disimon in Sabah, North Borneo caught these anticrepuscular rays and a rising moon – and posted them to EarthSky Facebook – on June 4, 2015.

Next time you see crepuscular rays or sunrays extending from the horizon … turn around. You might catch a glimpse of elusive anticrepuscular rays.

How do fireworks get their colors?

Photo credit: Jeff Golden

Photo credit: Jeff Golden

If you’re celebrating the 4th of July by attending a fireworks display, maybe you’ll look up and wonder: What creates those red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple colors exploding in the night sky?

What’s the birthstone for July?

Photo credit:  Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Happy birthday to all you July babies! Your birthstone, the ruby, is among the most highly prized of gemstones. Large rubies are harder to find than large diamonds, emeralds and sapphires.

When will all five visible planets appear simultaneously?

planets

All five visible planets will appear together in the morning sky early next year – from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. That hasn’t happened since 2005. Details inside.

Can a human singing voice shatter glass?

If you run a damp finger along the rim of a glass, you might hear a faint, ghostly hum – the resonant frequency of the glass. To shatter the glass, a singer’s voice has to match that frequency, or pitch, at an extremely loud level, and the glass must have microscopic defects.

Why isn’t hottest weather at year’s longest day?

You know it's not when ... (Image by Flickr user Katerha

You know it’s not when … Image by Flickr user Katerha

Solstice – year’s longest day for northern part of Earth – was Sunday. But our hottest weather is still to come. Likewise, the coldest weather is ahead for S. Hemisphere.

Can you see a whole circle rainbow?

View larger. | Full circle rainbow was captured over Cottesloe Beach near Perth, Australia in 2013 by Colin Leonhardt of Birdseye View Photography.  He was in a helicopter flying between a setting sun and a downpour.   Used with permission.  Order prints of this photo.

View larger. | Full circle rainbow was captured over Cottesloe Beach near Perth, Australia in 2013 by Colin Leonhardt of Birdseye View Photography. He was in a helicopter flying between a setting sun and a downpour. Used with permission. Order prints of this photo.

It is indeed possible to see the whole circle of a rainbow – but conditions have to be just right.