Deborah Byrd
Night sky behind Arecibo radio telescope steering mechanism.

Arecibo Observatory gets $12.3 million grant

Arecibo in Puerto Rico was completed in 1963. In recent years, it has weathered multiple hurricanes. The emergency supplemental funds – supported by the U.S. Congress – represent an investment in the future of this large, famous and much-loved radio dish.

The constellation Ophiuchus above Jupiter.

Ophiuchus is part of the zodiac, too

Poor Ophiuchus. Nobody ever claims him as a “birth sign,” although the sun moves in front of his stars from about November 30 to December 18. Keep the big guy company. Find Ophiuchus in your sky tonight!

It was cold in Australia last weekend

The August 9-12 weather event in Australia was one of the longest cold stretches and greatest snowfall totals so far in this century, according to climate and atmospheric scientists.

Full moon over Carnarvon, Australia

From 1963 until its closure in 1975, the Carnarvon Space Tracking Station supported a range of scientific and exploratory missions as the United States raced to put a man on the moon.

Photos from 2019’s Perseid meteor shower

It’s a very special group of images of this year’s Perseid meteor shower, many taken in bright moonlight. Thanks to all who contributed photos!

Transparent pink and blue blob with black starry sky visible.

Astronomers see a new type of pulsating star

At Palomar Observatory near San Diego, a dedicated telescope spends its nights surveying the heavens. A recent analysis of its data revealed 4 stars that change in brightness, over just minutes.

What is the moon illusion?

It’s nearly full moon. So you might see an extra-large-looking moon low in the sky, one evening soon. Why does the moon look so big? It’s because of the “moon illusion,” a trick your brain is playing.

Moon halo over Magellan telescope

This sort of halo is called a 22 degree halo by skywatchers. You can see them around both the sun and moon. They’re caused by ice crystals in the air. They bear that name because the radius of the ring is always approximately 22 degrees.

Two sweet Indian white-eyes

These birds live in open woodland on the Indian subcontinent. They forage in small groups, feeding on nectar and small insects.

Map with Pluto feature names marked.

IAU approves 2nd round of names for Pluto features

New Horizons provided close-up images of Pluto in 2015. For many on Earth today, these spacecraft images provide a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of Pluto. Read about the new Pluto feature names.