White Island is one of several volcanoes in New Zealand that can produce sudden explosive eruptions at any time. An Earth scientist explains why.
The sudden eruption at White Island was short-lived but produced an ash plume that rose several kilometers above the vent. Image via GNZ Science.
It’s time again for the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. This is the project’s 120th year! Learn how to join the count here.
Image via Audubon.
The Geminid meteor shower – one of the highlights of the year for stargazers – will peak around the mornings of December 13 and 14, 2019, though under the light of a bright waning gibbous moon.
John Ashley caught this amazing earthgrazer meteor on December 6, 2018. Earthgrazers are best seen in the evening hours. Watch for them during this week's Geminid meteor shower! John wrote: "It lasted for approximately four seconds, and I never saw any color but white. It left behind a glowing smoke train that lasted for at least 24 minutes. John commented: "The meteor went dark just above Dusty Star Mountain, or "Iszika-kakatosi" in Blackfeet, which translates to
'smoking star.'" Thanks, John! Nikon D750, Rokinon 24mm lens @ f1.4, 30 sec, ISO 3200.
Here’s information about New Zealand’s White Island volcano – which erupted on Monday, December 9 – in the context of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Around 50 people - mostly tourists - were on White Island when the volcano erupted on Monday afternoon, December 9, 2019. Many remain unaccounted for at this writing. The eruption began at around 2:11 p.m., local time. Image via NewsHubNewZealand
In 2018, Mars was brighter in our sky than it had been since 2003. In 2019, Mars was mostly faint and inconspicuous. But 2020, here we come!
Mars is very bright now! And it's very red in color. This photo of Mars taken July 21 by Dennis Chabot of POSNE Night Sky
Astronomers have discovered a black hole with 40 billion solar masses in the heart of the Abell 85 cluster of galaxies.
Image of Abell 85 cluster of galaxies obtained at the USM Wendelstein observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University. The central bright galaxy Holm15A has an extended core. A team of astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the University Observatory Munich were able to use new data to directly measure the mass of central black hole of this galaxy: it is 40 billion times more massive than our sun. Image via Matthias Kluge/USM/MPE
ESA released the 1st of a series of global maps aimed at quantifying change in carbon stored as biomass across the world’s forests and shrublands.
The fascinating object 2I/Borisov has been steadily brightening as it nears its encounter with our sun. It’ll pass closest to the sun on December 8, 2019, then flee again toward interstellar space.
The perihelion - or closest point to the sun - for 2I/Borisov is just outside the orbit of Mars. Image via Wikimedia Commons
user Drbogdan/ NASA
Remember comet 46P/Wirtanen? It was a bright comet about this time last year. Around the time it swept near the Earth and sun, the comet entered the field of view NASA’s TESS planet-hunter. And boom! It underwent an outburst, caught by TESS.
This animation shows an explosive outburst of dust, ice and gases from comet 46P/Wirtanen that occurred on September 26, 2018 and dissipated over the next 20 days. The images, from NASA’s TESS spacecraft, were taken every three hours during the first three days of the outburst. Image via Farnham et al./NASA