Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

224,017 subscribers and counting ...

Deborah Byrd
Photo taken October 18, 2016 by Helio C. Vital in Brazil.

Have you seen Venus?

Venus is the brightest planet, 3rd-brightest object in our sky after the sun and moon. You can’t miss it in the west after sunset.


Boom! Orbiter spies crash site on Mars

Images from space show a dark spot on Mars’ surface where none was seen before, thought to be where the Schiaparelli lander crashed on Mars last Wednesday.

The six most distant known objects in the solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Also, when viewed in three dimensions, they tilt nearly identically away from the plane of the solar system. Batygin and Brown show that a planet with 10 times the mass of the earth in a distant eccentric orbit anti-aligned with the other six objects (orange) is required to maintain this configuration. This diagram was created using WorldWide Telescope. (Credit: R. Hurt / IPAC / Caltech)

More evidence for a 9th planet

Is a hypothetical large planet – far beyond Neptune – causing a tilt in the sun? Plus, evidence for a 9th planet based on “extreme Kuiper Belt objects.”

Joe Randall created this composite shot of the Orionid meteor shower from images taken on October 21, 2014.  Thanks, Joe!

Look for Orionid meteors this month

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower. How and when to watch. In 2016, the peak mornings is October 21, but, by then, the moon will be in the way.


If we could see Mars in ultraviolet …

We’d see how winds circulate at high altitudes, and how ozone amounts change over the seasons, and how afternoon clouds form over giant Martian volcanoes. Images here.


ESA’s Mars craft landed, but not softly

“We have data coming back that allow us to fully understand the steps that did occur, and why the soft landing did not occur.” Meanwhile, the orbiter is A-OK.

A citizen scientist (Alex Mai) created this image of the sunlit part of Jupiter and its swirling atmosphere using data from Juno's JunoCam instrument. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Alex Mai.

Juno in safe mode for Jupiter flyby

A sudden safe mode halted planned data collection during the spacecraft’s perijove – or closest point to Jupiter – on October 19. Next perijove December 11.


Setting supermoon

Every full moon sets around dawn. Watch how much how much the sky brightened in the 3 minutes it took for the moon to disappear.

Many people use the M- or W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia to find the Andromeda Galaxy.  See how the star Schedar points to the galaxy?  Click here to expand image.

Tonight, find the Andromeda galaxy

The Andromeda galaxy is the closest big galaxy to our Milky Way. Here are a couple of different ways to find it. Just be sure your sky is dark!

Taken during the 2015 Perseid meteor shower in August - at Mount Rainier National Park - by Matt Dieterich.  He calls the photo 'Skyfall.'

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2016

Look here for information about all the major meteor showers between now and the year’s end.