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Deborah Byrd

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. The coming full moon – Hunter’s Moon for the Northern Hemisphere – is October 24.

The Draconids did have an outburst

Experts had said “no outburst” predicted for the 2018 Draconids. But, since the parent comet had recently passed near, observers knew to watch anyway.

1st quarter moon is October 16

A 1st quarter moon is high up at sunset. You see it half-illuminated, like half a pie. Really, you’re seeing half the moon’s day side.

All you need to know: Orionid meteor shower

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower. How and when to watch. In 2018, the peak morning is probably October 21. But start watching now, before dawn!

When white dwarf meets brown dwarf, pow!

In 1670, skywatchers saw a nova, a star that appeared where none had been before. Today’s astronomers have learned it was a collision between an aging white dwarf star, and less massive brown dwarf.

Orange Arcturus sparkles after sunset

On October evenings, look for brilliant Arcturus in the west, flashing in colors. Follow the curve in the Big Dipper’s handle to this yellow-orange star.

Today in science: Proxima Centauri

Astronomers thought Alpha Centauri was the closest star to Earth. Then they found a smaller, fainter star that’s even closer. They named it Proxima, which means “nearest.”

What is a waxing crescent moon?

Many people report seeing earthshine on a waxing crescent moon. That’s when the darkened portion of the crescent glows dimly with light reflected from Earth.

Whale songs evolve, but calls persist for generations

Humpback whales have ever-changing and evolving songs. But a new study of whales in Alaska shows their repertoire of calls – including growls, trumpets, and ahoogas – remains more stable. Why?

Watch 3 whales dive, then leap

Whale watchers on a cruise out of Nova Scotia got a thrill when they saw 3 whales breach the surface, one after the other. “We did not drive them,” the cruise director commented.