December 2020 will show you 3 bright planets as soon as darkness falls: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Venus, the brightest planet, is in the east before sunrise. On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will have their once-in-20-years conjunction in our sky, appearing closer than they have for centuries, only 1/5 of a moon-diameter apart.
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!
On December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be only 1/5 of a moon-diameter apart! Guy Ottewell offers insights and charts showing a magnified (telescopic) view of their once-in-20-years great conjunction.
For the southernmost US and similar latitudes, the earliest sunsets of the year are happening now. Your earliest sunset depends on your latitude, but always comes before the winter solstice.
Adrian Strand captured this photo on a beach in northwest England.
The sun is becoming active again as it enters Solar Cycle 25. This week, scientists’ predictions of sunspots were proven via photos from astronomers around the world. Giant sunspot AR2786 can be viewed with proper filters and may create strong flares that reach Earth.
If the Earth and moon orbited on the same plane around the sun, we’d have a total solar eclipse – and a total lunar eclipse – every month. As it is, in 2020, there are 6 eclipses: 2 solar and 4 lunar.
There are many cycles in the heavens. An eclipse season describes one of the most interesting. When we’re in the midst of one, as we are now, an eclipse is inevitable.
View larger. https://earthsky.org/upl/2017/08/eclipse-solar-8-21-2017-Beverley-Sinclair-outside-Charleston-SC-sq.jpg| EarthSky community member Beverley Sinclair captured this beautiful view of a total solar eclipse outside Charleston, South Carolina on August 21, 2019 and wrote: "The skies were very cloudy leading up to totality but, miraculously, slowly cleared as totality approached. This photo shows the diamond ring and Bailey's beads." Thank you, Beverley!
November’s full moon is at 09:29 UTC November 30, but it will look full before and after that date.
We already know that Gale Crater on Mars used to hold a lake or series of lakes a few billion years ago. Now, NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence for ancient giant floods that washed through the region as well.
Gale Crater on Mars used to contain a lake, or series of lakes, a few billion years ago. Streams also used to empty into that lake. Now, new evidence for the Curiosity rover shows that giant floods also once washed through this region. Image via Kevin Gill/ Wikimedia Commons/ Science Alert.
Seeing a dragon in a patch of clouds or a face on the moon, are examples of what’s called pareidolia. Take a look at these photos to test your own abilities to recognize patterns.