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Top 7 EarthSky stories of 2017

Scientists reveal secrets of lost continent Zealandia. In February, scientists were discussing whether a submerged realm called Zealandia should be recognized as a full-fledged Earth continent. In October, a team of researchers returned from an expedition to Zealandia and reported their results.

A rainbow seen from the research ship JOIDES Resolution, during the Zealandia expedition. Image by Tim Fulton via International Ocean Discovery Program/ JRSO/ NSF.

Close shave from an undetected asteroid. Whoosh! Astronomers discovered a small asteroid – now designated as asteroid 2017 OO1 – on July 23. That was 3 days after it passed 1/3 the moon’s distance from Earth. More.

Artist’s concept of an asteroid passing near Earth.

When’s the next U.S. total solar eclipse? After 2017’s awesome total solar eclipse on August 21, the next total solar eclipse visible from North America will be April 8, 2024. More.

Image via Fred Espenak at the NASA Eclipse Web Site.

Biblical signs in the sky on September 23, 2017? A mirror in the sky to “signs” from the Bible’s Book of Revelation? Possibly. But this same sky scene has been seen 4 other times in the past 1,000 years. An astronomer explains.

Green arrows show the “9” stars of Leo. Blue arrows show the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Red arrow is Jupiter. Violet arrow is the moon (shown enlarged). The sun is at Virgo’s shoulder. Image via Christopher M. Graney.

Mysterious rock-comet 3200 Phaethon. This asteroid-comet hybrid was closest to Earth December 16. Its presence near Earth may be why the Geminid meteors put on a good show in 2017. Info and images of the rock-comet here.

History of global temperature 1880-2016. Take 14 seconds to watch the change in Earth’s surface temperature from 1880 through 2016. More.

And, lastly, the ever-popular … Betelgeuse will explode someday. Someday, the star Betelgeuse will run out of fuel, collapse under its own weight, and then rebound in a spectacular supernova explosion. Someday … but probably not soon. More.

Betelgeuse imaged in ultraviolet light by the Hubble Space Telescope and subsequently enhanced by NASA. The bright white spot is likely one of this star’s poles. Image via NASA/ESA.

Bottom line: EarthSky’s 7 most-viewed news and feature stories of 2017. Happy new year to our readers, and thank you for visiting EarthSky!

December 29, 2017

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Deborah Byrd

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