Check out these pics from the annual Eta Aquariid meteor shower. The peak morning was likely May 5, 2021, but the following morning, May 6, might be good, too.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Eliot Herman in Tucson, Arizona, captured this photo of an Eta Aquariid meteor on May 5, 2021. He wrote: "1:48 am on peak night. The radiant is still below the horizon, resulting in this long-trail meteor with the beautiful green, typical of Halley's comet-derived meteors. My backyard view." Thank you, Eliot!
The gravity of the Large Magellanic Cloud – one of the Milky Way’s satellite dwarf galaxies – is collecting stars behind it in a trail, like the wake from a boat, as it travels through our galaxy’s halo.
The new map of the Milky Way's halo (blue elliptical region) with the disk of the Milky Way galaxy, seen from the side, overlaid, and with the satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud
in the bottom right (the small one is there too). What is interesting in this image are the bright areas of the halo: the lower one is forming a distinct pathway - a wake - behind the Large Magellanic cloud. The top one is a region of more stars in the northern hemisphere of the halo. Both of these halo anomalies were first predicted by computer models and have now been observationally confirmed. Image via NASA/ ESA/ JPL-Caltech
/ Conroy et. al.
In and around Florida, at least, no more “finders keepers” once a new bill becomes law on July 1. The Spaceflight Assets bill affirmed by the Florida legislature in late April 2021 requires that anyone who finds “reasonably identifiable” spacecraft parts make a “reasonable effort” to notify the hardware’s owner.
The parachute cover from SpaceX's Demo-2 Crew Dragon was recovered by a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico, and now sits in a private memorabilia collection belonging to a SpaceX investor. Image via Steve Jurvetson
Scientists have used radio waves to precisely measure Venus’ spin rate and tilt on its axis. We knew the Venus day was exceedingly long, but now we know that the length of a day on Venus regularly changes in length!
This topographic map of Venus shows the spin axis of the planet (yellow arrow), which is less than 3 degrees, meaning Venus spins nearly upright with only the smallest wobble. Image via Jean-Luc Margot/ UCLA
In 2021, the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquariid meteors to fall before dawn on May 5. If you’re clouded out, try the morning of May 6.
Eta Aquariid meteor coming straight from its radiant point - the Water Jar asterism in the constellation Aquarius, visible in the top left of this photo - captured by Eliot Herman
in Tucson, Arizona on May 4, 2020. Thank you, Eliot!
In May 2019, astronomers measured the largest flare ever from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun. What do such flares mean for possible alien life, on a planet in the Proxima Centauri system, only 4 light-years away?
Mars is the only visible planet out after nightfall. You’ll find it descending in the west each evening in May 2021. Also watch for brilliant Venus and little Mercury low in the west, for a brief time after sunset. Bright Jupiter and ringed Saturn grace the morning sky.
View larger. | V. Srinivasagopalan caught both Venus (below) and Jupiter on September 22, 2018 from Bangalore, India. Remember, Venus is going into the sunset in October, 2018. Watch for it soon!
Check out the videos in this post to see the hypnotic pulse of swimming jellyfish. Their gentle movement belies a complex flow of water that make these creatures highly energy-efficient swimmers.
A moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) swimming in the Red Sea, off Egypt. Image via Alexander Vasenin / Wikimedia Commons
In 2018, a small asteroid crashed into Earth, and scientists recovered pieces of it in a Botswana game reserve. Now the scientists have determined the space rock’s origin: Vesta, in the asteroid belt.
This is a fragment of asteroid 2018 LA that was discovered in Botswana. Image via Peter Jenniskens.