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Adrian Strand captured this photo on a beach in northwest England.

Watch for earliest sunsets before solstice

Year’s shortest day comes at winter solstice. But, for Northern Hemisphere, earliest sunsets happen around early December. Southern Hemisphere? Your earliest sunrises are around now.

Image via NASA.gov

What would Earth be like with no moon?

Earth without its moon would be a very different world indeed. No eclipses. Smaller tides. But the biggest change would be in the length of Earth’s day.

solar-system-artist-cp

How long to orbit Milky Way’s center?

One journey of our sun and planets around the center of our Milky Way galaxy is sometimes called a cosmic year. That’s approximately 225-250 million Earth-years.

View larger. | Photo by Jeff Dai

Can we see stars outside our Milky Way?

When we look up or down – away from the flat disk of the galaxy or toward it – we’re seeing Milky Way stars. But we also see a few more distant objects, visible to the eye alone.

Mira, from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer

Mira the Wonderful

This star in the constellation Cetus varies in brightness over about 11 months. Its next brightness maximum is due in early 2017.

The constellation Cassiopeia points to the Andromeda galaxy.  To see the galaxy, you need a dark sky.

Use Cassiopeia to find Andromeda galaxy

One half of the W of Cassiopeia is more deeply notched than the other half. This deeper V is your “arrow” in the sky, pointing to the Andromeda galaxy.

Photo credit: Lotus Carroll/Flickr

Does eating turkey make you sleepy?

Many believe that turkey is high in tryptophan, which causes that drowsiness you feel after a big Thanksgiving meal. True?

View larger. | Massimiliano Pedi Photography? in Italy.

Together under the Milky Way

A dark sky, a friend and a flashlight to point out Milky Way sights.

Arctic Tern in flight via Wikimedia Commons

Which bird migrates the farthest?

Over its lifetime of about 25 years, an Arctic Tern can fly a million kilometers – nearly three times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

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November is the month of the Pleiades

At this time of year, for all of us around the globe, the Pleiades cluster culminates – reaches its highest point in the sky – around midnight.