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.

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.

Our favorite moon and planets photos from March 16 to 21

The moon swept past the morning planets last week, and the EarthSky Community did a great job capturing each day’s view. Thanks to all who contributed photos to EarthSky Community Photos and to our Facebook page!

A year of sunrises

We’re between the extremes now, in a place of balance, near an equinox. This composite image shows how the sun moves along your horizon each day at sunset and sunrise, as Earth moves in orbit around the sun.

Moon composite

Last month’s full moon plus this month’s waxing gibbous moon, combined.

Standing wave cloud at sunrise, over Zimbabwe

Standing wave clouds form when wind blows over a mountain.

Blue ball with white swirls.

And now, a word from Juno at Jupiter

Juno arrived at Jupiter in 2016. It’s in a 53-day orbit around the planet. Close sweeps past the planet are called “perijoves” (peri means “near”). Here are some spectacular images from the most recent sweep, Perijove 25, in February.

Curiosity rover on Mars snags highest-resolution panorama yet

This just in … a new super-cool composite from Curiosity on Mars. The panorama contains more than 1,000 images taken last Thanksgiving and assembled over the past few months … 1.8 billion new pixels of Martian landscape!

Western New York digging out from intense snow and ice

An intense storm and lake-effect snow walloped upstate New York – especially rural areas in western New York – in late February 2020. On the shores of Lake Erie, the storm created a dramatic display of thick, windblown ice on homes and buildings.

African dust bombards the Canary Islands

These hot, dust-laden winds are known as “la calima” and happen most often in winter. They can blow at up to 75 mph (120 kph). The dust kicked up last weekend in Africa drifted over the Canary Islands, shutting down airports and stranding travelers.

Waning moon with Mars nearby.

Photos: When the moon hid Mars

The moon will cover Mars 5 times in 2020, but the occultation on February 18, 2020, was the only one accessible to viewers in much of North and Central America. Photos from the EarthSky Community here.

VLT sees surface of dim Betelgeuse

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope is in northern Chile. Astronomers used it to capture the unprecedented dimming of Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star in the constellation of Orion. The new images show how the apparent shape of this star is changing.

Pine Island Glacier spawns PIGlets

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier – known as ‘PIG’ for short – has just spawned a huge iceberg. At over 115 square miles (300 square km), this huge berg quickly broke into many ‘PIGlet’ pieces

Liftoff! Solar Orbiter launches successfully

ESA’s sun-exploring Solar Orbiter will be the first spacecraft ever to fly over the sun’s poles. It’ll study the origin of the solar wind, which has the potential to affect earthly technologies.

Congratulations, Christina Koch!

Astronaut Christina Koch has returned to Earth after a record-breaking stay of 328 days aboard the International Space Station. She now holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

Tarantula Nebula seen through the eyes of Spitzer

Stunning new Spitzer Space Telescope image of the Tarantula Nebula in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud dwarf galaxy. Spitzer ended its 16-year mission on January 30.

Splash of color on Georgia’s Arabia Mountain

Diamorpha on a Georgia mountaintop

This week’s Venus and Neptune conjunction

The Venus-Neptune in conjunction on January 27 was the closest planetary conjunction of 2020. But – because Neptune is so faint – it wasn’t easy to capture. Plus a star near Venus confused people!

Moon and tiny starlike dot and an arched stone structure against purple sky.

Crescent moon and Jupiter

Jenney Disimon captured the crescent moon and Jupiter over Sabah, N. Borneo, on January 23, 2020.

Rippling ice and storms at Mars’ north pole

This image is part of a wider system of depressions that spiral outward from the very center of Mars’ north pole. Seen in context, you can see rippling troughs that curve and bend and slice outwards from the pole counterclockwise.