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Deborah Byrd
In the galaxy II Zw 40, dust (shown in yellow) is strongly associated with clusters of stars (shown in orange). UCLA researchers have used new observations of this galaxy to confirm that these stars are creating enormous amounts of dust. Image via UCLA.

Star clusters seen spewing out dust

UCLA astronomers confirm that stars are responsible for producing dust on a galactic scale, a finding that’s consistent with long-standing theories.

Photo Copyright Xiao Shuai. Photo processing by Jeff Dai. Used with permission.

Gravity waves over China

Gravity waves traveling upwards from the lower atmosphere caused this unusual banded structure in airglow above China in late November.

Artist's conception of the Spiderweb. In this image, the protogalaxies are shown in white and pink, and the blue indicates the location of the carbon monoxide gas in which the protogalaxies are immersed. Image via ESO/ M. Kornmesser/ NRAO.

Astronomers see giant galaxy being born

The Spiderweb Galaxy – which spans some 3 times the diameter of our Milky Way – is forming inside a cluster of protogalaxies, in a dense soup of molecular gas.


See it! Moon sweeps past Venus

The moon passed Venus Friday evening, but there’s more to come. Wonderful photos here! Thanks to all who submitted. Keep watching this post for more photos.

Watch for the waxing crescent moon and the dazzling planet Venus to adorn the evening twilight for several days, centered on December 2 or 3. Read more.

Moon, Venus, Mars on December 3

The moon is sandwiched between very bright Venus and fainter, reddish Mars this evening. Watch for them in the sunset direction, shortly after the sun goes down.


It’s a bird, a plane, the tiniest asteroid!

Asteroid 2015 TC25 is small enough to be straddled by a person, reminiscent of the iconic bomb-riding scene in the movie Dr. Strangelove. It swept between us and the moon a year ago.


Moon and Venus on December 1

Did you see the very young waxing crescent moon on November 30? It’ll be easier to see on December 1, low in the west after sunset, below a very bright object … Venus!

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.

December guide to the bright planets

Three bright planets appear at nightfall in December 2016: Mercury, Venus and Mars. Jupiter reigns as the sole morning planet. Saturn is lost in the sun’s glare.

A mile-wide (1.4 km) crater on the rim of a larger crater near Mars' equator, as seen from CaSSIS. Image via University of Bern.

First images from ExoMars mission

A camera on board ESA’s ExoMars mission has returned its first images from orbit. It was meant to be a test, but the images are spectacular.

Comparison of an ultra-diffuse galaxy with the nearby Andromeda galaxy, an ordinary spiral galaxy and our Milky Way's nearest large neighbor.

Supernovas and ultra-diffuse galaxies

These strange galaxies have 1,000 times fewer stars than the Milky Way, yet occupy a large space. Astronomers used an advanced computer simulation to show that supernova explosions helped create them.