Deborah Byrd

Will you see BepiColombo’s goodbye flyby tonight?

BepiColombo is a spacecraft on a roundabout journey to Mercury. It’ll sweep near Earth tonight, using Earth as a gravity slingshot to send it hurtling toward the inner solar system. For most of us, BepiColombo will pass unseen. But people with telescopes might spot it! Charts and more here.

Bright waxing gibbous moon among treetops, with 2 birds flying by.

What is a waxing gibbous moon?

A waxing gibbous moon appears more than half lighted, but less than full. It rises before sundown and sets somewhere between midnight and dawn.

What is a supermoon?

We’re currently enjoying a “season” of 3 full moon supermoons: March 9, April 7-8 and May 7, 2020. Then we’ll have a “season” of 3 new moon supermoons on September 17, October 16 and November 15, 2020. Supermoon-o-mania, here.

Photos: Venus and the Pleiades meet

This week, Venus – the brightest planet and dazzling “evening star” – will pass the beautiful Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters. Look west after sunset! Venus and the Pleiades meet only every 8 years. Photos here.

April 2020 guide to the bright planets

In April 2020, Venus is at its brightest as the evening “star,” passing near the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, as the month begins. In the morning, you can see Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. In the Southern Hemisphere, catch Mercury before sunrise …

A precisely half-illuminated moon.

1st quarter moon is April 1

The 1st quarter moon happens on April 1, 2020, at 10:21 UTC. As viewed from anywhere on Earth, a 1st quarter moon is at its highest in the sky at sunset, looking like half a pie.

Four images of with multiple rounded downward bulges.

Check out these mammatus clouds

Mammatus clouds can appear ominous. But, in a way that’s so common in nature, their dangerous aspect goes hand in hand with a magnificent beauty.

More essential coronavirus links: March 17-23

A roundup of information from physicians, scientists and journalists, from March 17 to 23, 2020.

Submit your #SocialDistanceSelfie

How’re you doing out there? We want to see you and hear from you! Post your selfie at EarthSky Facebook, or at EarthSky Community Photos, or in the comments section of this post.

Sky chart of Orion the Hunter.

Westward shift of Orion and all the stars

As Earth makes its grand tour around the sun each year, the constellations all shift westward in our sky. Orion is a good one to notice.