No, asteroid 2006 QV89 won’t strike Earth in September

There’ve been scare stories online this month about asteroid 2006 QV89, a space rock that’ll pass closest to Earth on September 9, 2019. Should you be scared? Heck no.

What causes flashes on the moon?

People have reported seeing Transient Lunar Phenomena – unusual flashes and other lights on the moon – for at least 1,000 years. Yet they’re still mysterious. Now a scientist in Germany is using a new telescope to try to solve the mystery.

What’s a penumbral eclipse of the moon?

During a penumbral eclipse, observant people in the right spot on Earth will look up and notice a dark shading on the moon’s face. Others look and notice nothing at all.

Amazing June for noctilucent clouds

For the northern part of Earth, the season for seeing noctilucent clouds – clouds that shine at night – typically begins in June. This June has been particularly fine for seeing these electric-blue clouds. Photos and video here.

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The undark nights of summer

Guy Ottewell lives in England. His illustrations of 3-dimensional space are illuminating. Long summer twilights, explained.

Has the ball lightning mystery been solved?

What is ball lightning? Scientists have been trying to figure that out for hundreds of years, and now it seems they may finally be close to solving one of Earth’s most intriguing natural mysteries.

Two Friday the 13ths in 2019

Do you have friggatriskaidekaphobia … an irrational fear of Friday the 13th? Today isn’t Friday the 13th. But it is exactly 13 weeks before a Friday the 13th in September. Then, exactly 13 weeks after that, 2019’s second Friday the 13th will fall in December. Zoinks!

All you need to know: June solstice 2019

It’s nearly the June solstice! Longest day for the Northern Hemisphere. Shortest day for the Southern Hemisphere. Details here.

US astronomers speak on SpaceX Starlink satellites

The American Astronomical Society – chief organization for US astronomers – said it is in conversations with SpaceX about the impending launch of 12,000 Starlink satellites. The astronomers worry the satellites will interfere with their work of understanding the universe.

IAU invites countries to name exoplanets

Nearly 100 countries have already signed up to organize national campaigns, to provide the public with an opportunity to vote. The deadline is July 30 to express interest in organizing a national campaign. The IAU will announce results in December.

Will evidence for life on Mars look like fettuccine pasta?

The search for life on Mars usually involves looking for past or present microbes, invisible to the eye. Scientists at University of Illinois suggest searching instead for a type of rock formation known on Earth to be created by microbes.

Alphecca, the jewel in the Northern Crown

Alphecca. Gemma. Alpha Coronae Borealis or simply Alpha Cor Bor. They’re all names for one star – the brightest star in the constellation Northern Crown.

Watch these 2 planets: Mercury and Mars

They’re not the brightest planets in the sky now, and they’re visible only briefly after sunset. But – around June 17, 18 and 19 – Mercury and Mars will have the closest conjunction of 2 planets for 2019.