Asteroid 2020 SW will sweep closest – closer than weather satellites – on September 24. It will not hit us, but its orbit will be changed by its close encounter with Earth. Charts here for telescope users. How to watch online.
Asteroid 2020 SW will pass so close to Earth, that our planet's gravity will blend the space rock's trajectory. Illustration by the Minor Planet Center, with modifications by Eddie Irizarry.
The 1st quarter moon happens on September 24, 2020, at 01:54 UTC. That’s September 23 for U.S. time zones. Here’s what to look for, and how to recognize this moon phase.
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. | Composite image of a moon nearly at 1st quarter with some of the features you can see on the moon at this phase - captured April 30, 2020 - by our friend Dr Ski in the Philippines. He wrote: " ... 10 hours before 1st quarter and the Lunar V and Lunar X are well defined ... " More about Lunar V and X below. Thank you Dr Ski!
Of all the hazards that hurricanes bring, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property along the coast.
Data from ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite help climbers negotiate a treacherous glacier on the route to Mt. Everest’s summit.
This image - from the European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-2
satellite mission - shows route from the Nepalese side of the mountain. GPS trajectories of the climbers on this route are plotted in purple. Read more about this image
. Image via Department of Geosciences/ University of Oslo/ ESA
A beautiful new image of Jupiter from the Hubble Space Telescope – captured in August 2020 – shows the planet’s icy moon Europa as well as several famous storms in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
View larger. | https://earthsky.org/upl/2020/09/jupiter-europa-hubble-aug2020.png This latest image of Jupiter, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on Aug. 25, 2020, was captured when the planet was 406 million miles from Earth. A unique and exciting detail of Hubble’s snapshot appears at mid-northern latitudes as a bright, white, stretched-out storm traveling around the planet at 350 mph. Hubble shows that the Great Red Spot, rolling counterclockwise in the planet’s southern hemisphere, is plowing into the clouds ahead of it, forming a cascade of white and beige ribbons. Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, thought to hold potential ingredients for life, is visible to the left of the gas giant. Image via NASA, ESA, STScI, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), and the OPAL team. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/hubble-captures-crisp-new-portrait-of-jupiters-storms/
For the first time, astronomers have detected a planet orbiting a white dwarf star. If further confirmed, the discovery shows that some planets could survive the destruction of their sun-like stars, and some might even remain potentially habitable.
Artist's concept of the Jupiter-sized planet WD 1856 b orbiting its white dwarf. Image via NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center.
The equinox is September 22.
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. | Across a wide swath of the U.S. now, the sky looks hazy, and the sun look redder than usual,due to the wildfires in the U.S. West. Nancy Ricigliano on Long Island, New York caught this image on September 16, 2020 and wrote: "This is a result from the smoke from the wildfires that have reached so many places, including New York. This photo was taken at Jones Beach, Pier 10. Normally at this time, you can't even take a picture of the sun without a filter." Thank you, Nancy.
White dwarfs are dead stars. A single white dwarf contains roughly the mass of our sun in a volume no bigger than our planet. Our sun will become a white dwarf someday.
. | The Ring Nebula (M57) in the constellation Lyra shows the final stages of a star like our sun. The white dot in the center of this nebula is a white dwarf; it's lighting up the receding cloud of gas that once made up the star. The colors identify various elements like hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Image via The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/ STScI/ NASA
Equinox means “equal night.” And you might hear that day and night are equal at the equinoxes. Yet Earth’s atmosphere and our sun team up to give us more day than night at an equinox.
Equinoxes and solstices, via Geosync. The Earth's rotational axis goes straight up and down, with the North Pole at top and the South Pole at bottom. The equinoxes are at right and the solstices at left.