Astronomy Essentials
Visible planets and night sky guide for June
Visible planets and night sky guide for June 2024. Tonight and tomorrow, look for the waxing gibbous moon near the bright star Spica in Virgo the Maiden.
Did Earth lose its protective bubble 2 million years ago?
About 2 million years ago, the solar system may have collided with a cold cloud of gas, shrinking the sun's protective bubble and exposing Earth to space.

What is the heliosphere and how can we measure it?

The heliosphere is a bubble of solar gas that extends outward and protects the planets from interstellar radiation. Scientists would like a probe to study it.
Brightest Stars

Rastaban and Eltanin, the Dragon’s Eyes, on June evenings

Look in the northeast on these June evenings, near the star Vega. You'll see Rastaban and Eltanin, the eyes of Draco the Dragon.

Rare juvenile T. rex discovered by young fossil hunters

A family fossil hunting in the North Dakota badlands stumbled across an intriguing fossil. Later, scientists identified it as a rare juvenile T. rex.

Cicadas are emerging across parts of the U.S.

The cicadas are here! Have you seen - and heard them - in your neighborhood? Cicadas may be plentiful and loud, but they're basically harmless.
Astronomy Essentials

The ecliptic is the sun’s path in our sky

The ecliptic is the path the sun takes across our sky. It's the Earth-sun plane, and, more or less, the plane of our solar system.

Leaky Boeing Starliner extending stay at ISS for evaluation

The 1st crewed Boeing Starliner - launched toward the ISS on June 5 and docked June 6, 2024 - will remain on orbit until at least June 22 for an extended evaluation.

Epic solar storm effects seen by Mars rovers

The sun lobs its particles into the solar system, and studying this space weather on Mars helps us understand what future astronauts might face there.

Earliest sunrises (or sunsets) come before June solstice

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, your earliest sunrises of the year are happening around now. Southern Hemisphere? Your earliest sunsets are around now.