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Vision quest

Seven shield-bearing warriors stand guard below the rising Milky Way, in a very special place in Montana.

Hot Jupiters, exoplanets around the same size as Jupiter that orbit very closely to their stars, often have cloud or haze layers in their atmospheres. This may prevent space telescopes from detecting atmospheric water that lies beneath the clouds, according to a study in the Astrophysical Journal. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech

Exoplanets’ water hidden by clouds?

Hot Jupiters have masses like our Jupiter, but orbit their stars closely. They often have cloud or haze layers, which, a new study says, may hide atmospheric water.


Astral dream

A light painting under the stars of southern Maine.

Sky wheeling around Polaris, the North Star.

Does the North Star ever move?

It’s a symbol for constancy, but, if you took its picture, you’d find that the North Star makes its own little circle around the sky’s north pole every day.

Image via ESA/NASA

Night shining clouds from ISS

A view of noctilucent – or night shining – clouds from the International Space Station.


Join the fun at ALCon 2016

ALCon 2016 is the national amateur astronomy convention, held this year from August 10-13 in Washington, D.C. Registration is now live!

Sun halo captured on June 6, 2016 by Amy Gray in Aiken, South Carolina.

Why a halo around the sun or moon?

A ring or circle of light around the sun or moon is called a halo by scientists.

EarthSky Facebook friend Jüri Voit Photography wrote on May 30, 2016: "Season of noctilucent clouds is open!"

The secrets of night-shining clouds

People at high latitudes are seeing glowing clouds in a dark night sky. They’re called noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds.

Photo posted to EarthSky Facebook on June 3, 2016 by Max Moorman Photography

Sky lights over Granite, Colorado

Faint purple aurora borealis, green airglow, and the Milky Way over lights at a dock near Granite, Colorado.

"Fireflies on top of the wave of grass and overflowing. Biggest firefly show in years." by Eileen Claffey, June, 2015.

Why fireflies light up

Next time you see a firefly, keep in mind that its flickering isn’t just a wonder of the night. It’s also a unique, and sometimes deadly, language of love.