- There has been a lot of interest recently in an upcoming series of lunar eclipses that begins April 15. These are usually described as "Four Blood Moons" and taken by some to prophesy upcoming disasters.
- In deep space NGC 2359, a glowing cloud of gas and dust takes the shape of Thor's mythical helmet and the colors declare the composition of the beautiful patches.
- New NASA technology straight out of "Star Trek" could help scientists detect life on other worlds.
- Here's how to see the huge Andromeda galaxy, which is visible with the naked eye in the night sky despite being 2.5 million light-years away.
- Combining the power of several telescopes, scientists discovereda magnificent image of the black hole in Hercules A.
- This month offers great variety in the night sky: planets (and a comet!) before dawn, a strong meteor shower, and a parade of bright stars after sunset.
With the solstice occurring at 11:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the 21st, December offers northern observers the longest nights for stargazing all year — and there's plenty to see!
Venus and Jupiter anchor a pretty predawn sky during December. A thin crescent Moon adds some drama on the 6th and 7th.
Sky & Telescope diagram
- Dynamicists predict that the larger of Mars's two moons will shatter to create a ring, slam into the planet — or both — in 20 to 40 million years.
The Red Planet's two moons, discovered by Asaph Hall in 1877, are small and irregularly shaped. Deimos circles every 30.3 hours from an orbit that averages 20,100 km high. Larger Phobos, only 27 km (17 miles) long, orbits just 5,980 km (3,710 miles) above the Martian surface. In fact, Phobos hovers closer to its planet than any other moon
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- New development are happening in the pre-dawn Jupiter-Mars-Venus lineup. Mars is now close to Gamma (γ) Virginis, and Spica is passing Venus.
Friday, November 27
• Before and during dawn, Venus shines within 5° of Spica from tomorrow through December 2nd. Tomorrow morning, look also for 2nd-magnitude Gamma Virginis (Porrima) just to Mars's left, as shown here.
• Algol is at minimum brightness, magnitude 3.4 instead of its usual 2.1, for a couple hours centered on 7:04 p.m. ES
- Here are the best inexpensive telescopes (sub-$200). These high-quality scopes are light on features but big on value. Each will make a great gift and a fine first telescope.
- Here are the best beginner telescopes for the money; a computerized ‘GoTo’ scope driven by your smartphone or tablet, as well as a manually operated scope that comes fully assembled.
- Here are the best portable telescopes for the money. These grab-and-go scopes are ideal for travelers, city dwellers escaping light pollution, and anyone with limited storage space.
- Here are the best hobbyist telescopes for the money, including Go-To scopes. From fully automatic to totally hand-driven, these fine instruments will reward you each night out.
- An international team of astrophysicists led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.
- The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, an international large-scale experiment to study cosmic rays, will be continued until 2025 and extended to "AugerPrime". The observatory, for the project management of which Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is responsible, will be upgraded with new scintillation detectors for a more detailed measurement of gigantic air showers. This is required to identify cosmic objects that accelerate atomic particles up to highest energies.
- The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, an international large-scale experiment to study cosmic rays, will be continued until 2025 and extended to "AugerPrime". The observatory will be upgraded with new scintillation detectors for a more detailed measurement of gigantic air showers. This is required to identify cosmic objects that accelerate atomic particles up to highest energies.
- This curious galaxy—only known by the seemingly random jumble of letters and numbers 2MASX J16270254+4328340—has been captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope dancing the crazed dance of a galactic merger. The galaxy has merged with another galaxy leaving a fine mist, made of millions of stars, spewing from it in long trails.
- Like most Americans, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren have Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) off, and they'll spend the day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) watching football and enjoying a turkey-centric feast.
- Mars' watery past suggests that long ago the planet had a much thicker, carbon-rich atmosphere. But new evidence suggests the atmosphere wasn't quite as thick as some models suggest.
- Some of the most advanced tools for studying the universe lie embedded beneath thousands of feet of bedrock.
- As the moon moves around the Earth in its monthly orbit, it often passes in front of background stars. Such events are called "lunar occultations" and one will happen Thursday at dawn in a Thanksgiving lunar treat.
- Wicked Local Middleton
North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club to host presentation
Wicked Local Middleton
The North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club invites the public to an astronomy presentation by Dr. Michael Deneen at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Boxford Community Center, 4 Elm St., next to the Boxford Community Store. Deneen will discuss the search for ...and more »
- Astronomy Magazine
A blue Neptune-sized exoplanet around a red dwarf star
Astronomers have detected light scattered by tiny particles through the atmosphere of a Neptune-sized transiting exoplanet, which suggests a blue sky on this world that is only 100 light-years away. By Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, ...and more »
- The mysterious tilt of the moon's orbit is due to gravitational tugs it received from giant, close-passing rocks that later slammed into the Earth, researchers say.
25 November 2015 in News: Ageing hypergiant star's weight loss secret revealed - Astronomy Now OnlineAstronomy Now Online
25 November 2015 in News: Ageing hypergiant star's weight loss secret revealed
Astronomy Now Online
The star VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant, one of the largest known stars in the Milky Way. In its current state, the star would encompass the orbit of Jupiter, having expanded tremendously as it enters the final stages of its life. New ...
Hypergiant Star Caught in Act of Slimming DownSci-News.comall 41 news articles »
- A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world which is only 100 light years away from us. The result was published in the Astrophysical Journal on November 20 (and is available on ArXiV).
Wisconsinite Henrietta Swan Leavitt's Impact on Astronomy
Often in science, people don't get credit for the work they do which – eventually – leads to a breakthrough. Wisconsin native Henrietta Swan Leavitt actually made a significant breakthrough a century ago, and in so doing, fundamentally changed how we ...
- NASA Johnson interns have created yet another hilarious parody music video, with this latest one highlighting Scott Kelly's epic one-year mission aboard the International Space Station.
- Astronomy Magazine
Comet fragments, not aliens, best explain mysterious dimming star
This illustration shows a star behind a shattered comet. Observations of the star KIC 8462852 by NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes suggest that its unusual light signals are likely from dusty comet fragments, which blocked the light of the ...
Unusual Star KIC 8462852 Likely Swarmed by Exocomets, Astronomers SaySci-News.comall 101 news articles »
- November's full moon will rise tonight, bringing an early Thanksgiving treat for skywatchers lucky enough to have clear skies over the long U.S. holiday weekend.
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