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.

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!

See it! Photos of 2018’s Geminid meteor shower

The Geminids peaked last night, and, by all reports, put on a great show in 2018. Photos here from the EarthSky community. Thank you to all who submitted.

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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.

Ancient water found on asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission arrived at asteroid Bennu on December 3 and has already made a significant discovery about this small world.

Scientists describe 229 new species in 2018

The list includes neon fish, a fast-spinning spider, moray eels, venomous snakes, and more!

What would a warmer world look like?

According to the recent IPCC Special Report, warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F) is an important threshold for many climate impacts. What might our planet look like with 1.5°C of warming?

Christmas Bird Count starts December 14

Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running citizen science projects in existence. How to participate.

10 tips for watching the Geminids

#1. Geminid meteor numbers tend to intensify as evening deepens into late night, with the greatest number of meteors likely falling an hour or 2 after midnight. That’s true no matter where you are on the globe.

Voyager 2 enters interstellar space

NASA announced Dec. 10 that for the 2nd time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars.