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Ursid meteors to peak in moonlight

The Ursid meteor shower is active each year around the December solstice. In 2018, peak morning is probably December 22, but the moon will be full then. If you’re out before sunup, watch for Ursids this week!

Astronomers spy most distant solar system object yet

It’s more than 100 times Earth’s distance from our sun, and it takes 1,000 earthly years to orbit the sun once. Astronomers have labeled it 2018 VG18, but nicknamed it Farout!

Best photos of 2018’s Geminid meteor shower

The shower peaked late last week, but, with all the comet excitement going on, people didn’t start submitting their best Geminid images until the weekend.

Don’t miss the Jupiter-Mercury conjunction

You need an alarm clock and a clear sky to the east, the sunrise direction. Binoculars will come in handy. The 2 bright planets will come closer and closer, finally closest on December 21. Beautiful!

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Juno mission to Jupiter at halfway point

On December 21, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make its 16th science pass over the cloud tops of Jupiter, marking the halfway point in the solar-powered spacecraft’s prime mission.

NOAA releases 2018 Arctic Report Card

This year’s report shows that the Arctic region experienced the 2nd-warmest air temperatures ever recorded, the 2nd-lowest overall sea-ice coverage, and lowest recorded winter ice in the Bering Sea.

Exoplanet’s helium atmosphere is inflated like a balloon

Astronomers have discovered that a Neptune-sized exoplanet – HAT-P-11b – has an even larger helium atmosphere than first thought. The atmosphere is literally inflated like a massive balloon.

2018’s brightest comet is closest Sunday

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is making one of the 10 closest comet flybys of Earth in 70 years today. Whether you glimpse it with the eye – or see it online – don’t miss this comet! Charts, tips and other info here.

What is a sun pillar, or light pillar?

Sun pillars, or light pillars, are shafts of light extending from the sun or other bright light sources. They’re caused by ice crystals drifting in Earth’s air.

All you need to know: December solstice

December solstice 2018 arrives on December 21 at 22:23 UTC. High summer for the Southern Hemisphere. For the Northern Hemisphere, the return of more sunlight!

Tiny droplets of early universe matter created

Researchers have created tiny droplets of the ultra-hot matter that once filled the early universe, forming 3 distinct shapes and sizes: circles, ellipses and triangles

Huge previously-undetected coral reef off US East Coast

Earlier this year, scientists were surprised to discover a huge forest of coldwater corals off the coast of South Carolina. A scientist aboard the expedition discusses the find.

1st quarter moon is December 15

The 1st quarter moon comes on December 15 at 11:49 UTC. A 1st quarter moon is high up at sunset. It appears half-illuminated, like half a pie. Really, you’re seeing half the moon’s day side.