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Comet Lovejoy near star Polaris

View larger. | Comet Lovejoy on May 22, 2015.  The comet is the brilliant green dot near the center of the photo.  At the upper right of the photo is the star Polaris, aka the North Star.  Photo by Stuart Atkinson.  Used with permission.

May 22 photo of Comet Lovejoy (green dot, center of photo) and star Polaris (bright, upper right of photo) by Stuart Atkinson. Used with permission.

Here is a grand photo of Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), which is now in the northern sky, not far from the North Star, Polaris. On May 26, 2015, Stuart Atkinson posted this photo and wrote a great article about how to spot the comet now, at the blog of the Society for Popular Astronomy. Details inside.

Two owls

Janet Furlong in Culpeper, Virginia captured this image of two screech owls on May 15, 2015.

Janet Furlong in Culpeper, Virginia captured this image of two screech owls on May 15, 2015.

Looks like screech owls like to snuggle, too.

See it! Best photos of moon, Venus, Jupiter

The moon is just now returning to the evening sky.  See it low in the sky, below Venus (brightest) and Jupiter (top of photo) in this shot by Ken Christison in Northampton County, North Carolina?  Thanks, Ken!

The moon is just now returning to the evening sky. See it low in the sky, below Venus (brightest) and Jupiter (top of photo) in this shot by Ken Christison in Northampton County, North Carolina? Thanks, Ken!

The moon has returned to the evening sky! And what a sight it will be in the coming days as it sweeps up past Venus and Jupiter. Enjoy these photos from EarthSky’s community. We’ll be posting more in the days ahead.

This date in science: Dramatic space photos of Pavlof Volcano

Pavlof Volcano May 18, 2013 via ISS

Pavlof Volcano May 18, 2013 via ISS. The space station was about 475 miles south-southeast of the volcano when astronauts aboard captured this beautiful, oblique view. Photo provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. Image taken by the Expedition 36 crew.

May 18, 2013. On this date astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) captured three beautiful views of Pavlof Volcano, part of the Aleutian Arc, with a handheld Nikon D3S digital camera. As the volcano poured out lava and shot ash 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the air, the astronauts managed to capture these seldom-seen oblique views of the volcano, which are very different from the top-down views of most unmanned satellites.

You’ve got to see these mammatus clouds

Josh Blash caught these mammtus clouds illuminated by lightning over Rye, New Hampshire on July 4, 2014.

Josh Blash caught these mammatus clouds illuminated by lightning over Rye, New Hampshire.

Contrary to myth, these clouds don’t continue extending downward to form tornados. But it’s true they can appear around, before or after a storm. Click in to see a spectacular collection of photos of these magnificent clouds.

Milky Way against a bright moon

View larger. | Milky Way against a bright Moon at Mount Bromo during the peak of Eta Aquarid meteor shower, by Justin Ng of Singapore.

View larger. | Milky Way against a bright moon at Mount Bromo during the peak of Eta Aquarid meteor shower, by Justin Ng of Singapore.

Even in bright moonlight, astrophotographer Justin Ng captures amazing shots of the Milky Way. Here’s one from May 6, during the peak of a meteor shower.

Sea haar and clouds meet

View larger. |

View larger. | Photo by Will Keogh.

Here’s a sea fog, called a haar in Scotland. They occur on the east coast of England or Scotland in spring and summer, when warm air passes over the North Sea.

You are there! Sunset on Mars

View larger. | Mars sunset in Gale Crater, Sol 956, Wednesday, April 15, 2015.  Image via 34mm MastCam on Mars Curiosity rover.  Image via NASA / JPL / Malin Space Science Systems.

View larger. | Mars sunset in Gale Crater, Sol 956, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Image via 34mm MastCam on Mars Curiosity rover. Image via NASA / JPL / Malin Space Science Systems.

This new timelapse lets you experience a sunset on our neighboring planet, Mars. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover captured the images to make this animated gif from the Gale Crater on Mars during Sol 956 – the 956th day of the rover’s activity on the Martian surface.

Large sunspot group AR 2339

View larger. | Photo taken May 7, 2015 by Alan Friedman.

View larger. | Photo taken May 7, 2015 by Alan Friedman.

After a period of few to no spots, a large sunspot group emerged on May 5. It has already produced an X-flare!

What makes a red rainbow?

Göran Strand of Sweden captured this double red rainbow.  Used with permission.

Photo by Göran Strand. Used with permission.

Astrophotographer Göran Strand of Sweden kindly gave us permission to publish this photo, which a phenomenal double red rainbow. Details … inside.