Deborah Byrd
An artist's conception of a face-on spiral galaxy with a central bar.

Gaia starts mapping our Milky Way’s bar

“We knew the Milky Way had a bar, like other barred spiral galaxies. But we only had indirect indications from the motions of stars and gas. This is the first time we see the galactic bar in 3D space, based on geometric measurements of stellar distances.”

Altair and Aquila the Eagle

Look for the star Altair in the east on July evenings. You’ll recognize it for the 2 fainter stars on either side of it … as if the 3 were “walking the Milky Way hand in hand and three abreast.”

Deneb and Cygnus the Swan

The star Deneb in its constellation Cygnus the Swan are part of the famous Summer Triangle.

Video: Moon hoax not

Don’t believe the moon landings were real? Go ahead. Watch this.

Vega and its constellation Lyra

The Summer Triangle consists of 3 bright stars in 3 different constellations. The brightest is Vega in the constellation Lyra.

Daytime moon.

Watch for a daytime moon

Beginning around the mornings of July 18 or 19, 2019, watch for the daytime moon. For these next few mornings, look for it in the west after sunrise.

What’s a Blood Moon?

In some circles of Christian prophecy, a Blood Moon is a member of a special kind of lunar tetrad : four total lunar eclipses in a row, each separated by six lunar months. By this definition, the last Blood Moon occurred on September 28, 2015.

Big earthquakes today in Australia and Indonesia

The 2 strong earthquakes of July 14, 2019 – the first a 6.6-magnitude off the western coast of Australia and the second a 7.3-magnitude in Indonesia – happened on or near the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Pluto in natural color.

Today in 2015: New Horizons at Pluto

The small, fast-moving New Horizons spacecraft is likely to be the only Pluto mission in the lifetimes of many of us. It changed forever the way we on Earth perceive this outermost world and its moons.

Close-up on Pluto's path in front of the constellation Sagittarius.

We go between the sun and Pluto on July 14

This is Pluto’s opposition, marking the middle of the best time of year to see it. Telescope users spot it by locating its star field and watching nightly for the object that moves. Details and photos here.