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Posts by Bruce McClure

View larger. | This image shows our neighbouring planet Mars, as it was observed shortly before opposition in 2016 by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Some prominent features of the planet are clearly visible: the ancient and inactive shield volcano Syrtis Major; the bright and oval Hellas Planitia basin; the heavily eroded Arabia Terra in the centre of the image; the dark features of Sinus Sabaeous and Sinus Meridiani along the equator; and the small southern polar cap. Image via NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, J. Bell, M. Wolff.
Tonight | May 30, 2016

Mars closest to Earth on May 30

We passed between Mars and the sun 8 days ago, on May 22. Yet Mars is closest on May 30, 2016. Why?

Let brilliant Mars guide you to the planet Saturn and the star Antares for months to come.
Tonight | May 29, 2016

Best time to see Saturn is here!

We’ll pass between Saturn and the sun on June 3. Tonight – or any night soon – watch for it near brilliant Mars and the star Antares.

Last quarter moon
Tonight | May 28, 2016

Half-lit last quarter moon on May 29

Although appearing half-illuminated, the last quarter moon carries that name because it’s three-quarters of the way from one new moon to the next.

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Tonight | May 25, 2016

Find the Keystone in Hercules

Vega acts as your guide star the Keystone – a noticeable pattern of four stars in the constellation Hercules.

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star.  He wrote, "For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference."  See more photos from Ken Christison.
Science Wire | May 24, 2016

Star of the week: Polaris is the North Star

The entire northern sky wheels around Polaris. Some assume it’s the brightest star in the sky. In fact, Polaris ranks only 50th in brightness.

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Tonight | May 23, 2016

Close and far Martian oppositions

Why 2016’s opposition of Mars – although good – doesn’t bring Mars as close to Earth as the extremely close opposition of 2018.

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Tonight | May 22, 2016

Brightest Mars in 10 years

Earth passes between Mars and the sun on May 22, and the red planet shines from dusk until dawn. Our two worlds will come closest together on May 30.

Blue moon and red Mars on the evening of May 21 and morning of May 22. Read more.
Tonight | May 21, 2016

Blue Moon and red Mars on May 21

The moon is blue in name only, but spectacular near the red planet Mars tonight, just one day before Mars’ first opposition in two years!

Photo via Tim Geers
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Only 2 full moons in a season possible?

The May 21 Blue Moon carries that name because it’s the 3rd of 4 full moons in a season. But can a season have just 2 full moons?

Look for the Blue Moon to pair up with Mars on the sky's dome on May 21. The green line depicts the ecliptic - Earth's orbital plane projected onto the dome of sky.
Tonight | May 20, 2016

Tonight … nearly a Blue Moon

The moon – nearly full on May 20 – will be sweeping past Mars and Saturn this weekend.