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Deborah Byrd

New map of space dust in 3-D

Sure, we’re all collections of space dust. But astronomers also want to study it in order to understand how space dust in our Milky Way obscures starlight from afar.

Perfect airplane glory

You might catch an airplane glory when a mist or cloud lies below you, with the sun shining upon it.

Record low sea ice at both poles

Considering both poles in February 2017, Earth essentially lost the equivalent of a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico, in contrast to the average global minimum for 1981-2010.

Does Mars sometimes have rings?

It’s possible that Mars’ closer moon – Phobos – might alternate between becoming a planetary ring and clumping together to form a moon.

A tangle of stars in Berenices’ Hair

Coma Berenices – aka Berenices’ Hair – requires a dark sky to be seen. But it’s worth the effort, a wonderful star cluster!

Green flash at sunset

It’s easiest to see a green flash with optical aid, but you have to be very careful not to look too soon, or you’ll dazzle – or damage – your eyes.

Lenticular clouds look like UFOs

Glorious photos of rare lenticular clouds, sometimes called UFO clouds, plus a word about how they form.

March equinox! Happy spring or fall

The 2017 vernal or spring (or fall) equinox occurred on March 20 at 10:29 UTC. Spring for the north – fall for the south – of Earth’s globe.

Last quarter moon at March equinox

A last quarter moon rises around midnight. It appears half illuminated from Earth. This month’s falls on the March 2017 equinox.

A Chinese perspective on spring

In Chinese thought, spring is associated with the direction east, the sunrise direction as Earth spins us toward the beginning of each new day.