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EarthSky

Contemplate the apex of the sun’s way

Our sun moves around the center of the galaxy, toward the star Vega. Astronomers call this motion the apex of the sun’s way. One circuit – about 230 million years – is called a cosmic year.

A winding river of stars called Eridanus

Why search for such a faint constellation? Only because it’s very beautiful. Plus seeing Eridanus can give you a kinship with stargazers from centuries ago.

Look for Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper

Watch the celestial clock and its 2 great big hour hands – Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper – as they swing around the North Star every night!

Ocean plastic killing marine turtles

Hundreds of marine turtles die every year after getting tangled in trash – such as plastic ‘six pack’ holders and discarded fishing gear – in oceans and on beaches.

Are December’s solstice and January’s perihelion related?

December solstice 2017 was December 21. Earth is closest to the sun for 2018 on January 2-3. Coincidence?

Why the New Year begins on January 1

Celebrating the New Year on January 1 is a civil event, not an astronomical one. And yet nature cooperates to make January 1 a satisfying time to start anew.

Celebrating the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters

Photos from Project Nightflight and others in the EarthSky community of the famous star cluster Pleiades. Look for this tiny, misty dipper in your night sky.

Time to see Mira the Wonderful

Mira, in Cetus the Whale, varies in brightness over about 11 months. In late December 2017, it might be near its peak brightness, easily bright enough to be viewed with the eye alone.

Geminid meteors peak December 12-13

With the meteors’ source – 3200 Phaethon – nearby, 2017 could be a fantastic year for this shower. Peak morning probably Thursday, but watch tomorrow and Friday mornings, too.

Meet the Dog Stars

Dog Star Sirius is our sky’s brightest star. Dog Star Procyon isn’t as bright, but it’s easy to spot. Say howdy to these 2 tonight!