Warming is clearly visible in new US climate normals

Climatologists at NOAA have released updated climate “normals.” They explain what “normal” means, how our U.S. climate normals have changed, and how to best make sense of them.

Arcturus, brightest star of the north

Arcturus is the 4th brightest star in the sky and the brightest star north of the celestial equator. One of the easiest stars to locate due to its position off the handle of the Big Dipper, you can look for it on spring evenings in the Northern Hemisphere.

See a nova or “new” star. V1405 Cas is now visible to the eye

A nova that first brightened in March of 2021 has now flared bright enough to be seen without binoculars or a telescope.

New type of aurora revealed in 19-year-old video

Scientists call it a “diffuse auroral eraser.” That’s because this newly named aurora first appears as a bright stripe over a diffuse auroral background. Then, when it disappears, it scrubs out the faint auroral light behind it.

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Sharks navigate using Earth’s magnetic field

Longstanding mystery solved! New research shows that – just as lobsters, turtles and some birds do – sharks navigate using Earth’s magnetic field,

Voyager 1 detects a hum in interstellar space

Now 8 years into its travels in the deep reaches of space between the stars, Voyager 1 has detected a faint, low-level hum. It stems from the vibration of the plasma, or ionized gas, in interstellar space.

The Brood X cicadas are emerging now

Some areas of the United States are starting to report the emergence of the Brood X cicadas after their 17-year absence.

Astronomers photograph giant exoplanet in unusual large orbit

A giant gas exoplanet in an unusually large orbit has been directly imaged by astronomers via the Young Suns Exoplanet Survey (YSES). It is 20 times as far from its star as Jupiter is from our sun.

The fiery fate of China’s Long March 5B rocket

The core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket – which launched the Tianhe space station module – plummeted into the Indian Ocean on May 8, 2021. In a statement issued that day, new NASA administrator Bill Nelson criticized China’s handling of the re-entry.

Warp drives: Physicists give chances of faster-than-light space travel a boost

If humanity wants to travel between stars, people are going to need to travel faster than the fastest-moving stuff known in our universe: light. New research suggests that it might be possible to build warp drives and beat the galactic speed limit.

Swimming up sky and up river

A couple of charts from master chart-maker Guy Ottewell, showing Mercury in the sky now and throughout 2021. Plus a word about a lost whale …

Natural radio signal buzzes in Venus’ atmosphere

New measurements from Parker Solar Probe – the first new direct measurements of Venus’ atmosphere in nearly 30 years – showed an unexpected natural radio signal being emitted by Venus’ ionosphere. The probe made the discovery while using Venus as a “gravity slingshot” to come closer to the sun.

How do you measure the mass of a star?

Binary stars – a star system consisting of two stars – are extremely useful. They give all the information needed to measure the stars masses’. Here is how.