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5 Sky Events This Week: Blue and Green Giants With Goddess of Love

Along with a sprinkling of shooting stars, sky-watchers this week will marvel at the moon, which guides them to the mythical characters studding the night sky. Lyrids peak. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 22, observers can expect this small meteor shower to peak, with rates of up to about 20 shooting stars per…

5 Sky Events This Week: Full Lunar Eclipse and Lord of the Rings

This is a big week even for the most amateur of sky-watchers, with a rare full lunar eclipse and Mars getting as close as it ever does to Earth. Moon shadow play. The moon will appear to be orange-red late Monday night and early Tuesday morning as it undergoes a total eclipse, the first visible…

Sea Serpent Eats Cosmic Diamond Ring

A  cosmic diamond ring is the best way to describe the haunting beauty of a distant star in its final moments of life. Located some 2,500 light-years from Earth within the belly of a mythical water snake, Abell 33 (also known as PK238+34.1) represents the final remains of a sunlike star that has thrown its…

5 Sky Events This Week: Lunar Wall, Mars Up-Close, and a Blue Giant

Fantastic fault lines and planetary close encounters this week offer sky-watchers some impressive cosmic views of the heavens. The lunar wall. The first quarter moon, which comes into view on Monday, April 7, offers the best moment this month to view, in small telescopes, an amazing lunar feature called the lunar wall, or Rupes Recta (sometimes called the…

Global Star Party Kicks Off Astronomy Month

Get up close and personal with the cosmos. The world’s largest event dedicated to sharing the wonders of the universe kicks off an exciting series of events for space geeks throughout April. This year’s Global Astronomy Month (GAM2014) brings together astronomy enthusiasts and organizations worldwide to share the passion for the night sky with everyone,…

4 Sky Events This Week: Ghostly Glows and Rocky Worlds

Ethereal apparitions from the dusty inner solar system this week seem certain to delight sky-watchers.  Zodiacal lights. Starting Monday, March 24, and continuing through the week, keen-eyed sky-watchers in the mid-northern latitudes will witness the ghostly glow of the zodiacal lights, which will appear about one to two hours after local dusk in the western sky.…

5 Sky Events This Week: Moon Joins God of War While Leo’s Heart Winks Out

Sky-watchers can rejoice at the change of seasons this week, seeing the moon join forces with Mars and Saturn, just as one of the sky’s most brilliant stars is eclipsed. Moon joins Spica. Late at night on Monday, March 17, look for the waning gibbous moon to rise in the eastern sky with two bright celestial…

Orion Star Factory May Be Deadly to Planets

  The Great Orion Nebula not only looks like a giant star factory, but new research suggests it also is a destroyer of young worlds. New high-frequency radio observations obtained through the radio telescopes at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile show for the first time that the giant gas cloud, located…

March 9, 2014: Racing the Iditarod With Twins, Time Traveling to a Black Hole and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week they ride 1,000 miles across Alaskan wilderness with a pack of dogs, hike quickly down the Appalachian Trail, lower scientists into sinkholes on tepuis, program robots to do household chores but not enslave the human race, break free of time on the edge of a black hole, be persecuted for our science, grow organic underwear, and explain evolution to children.

Comet Collisions Spotted Around Distant Star

Violent comet crashes are occurring around a star easily visible to sky-watchers, astronomers report. The star is one already known to harbor a burgeoning solar system. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Telescope in northern Chile announced this week that they have found a giant clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disk…

4 Sky Events This Week: Venus at Dawn and Gemini’s Double Jewel Box

A crescent moon snuggles up to the innermost planets this week, while sky-watchers will also see mythical twins reveal two stellar wonders. Zodiacal lights. With the moon out of the early evening sky this week, ideal sky conditions prevail for hunting down the elusive zodiacal lights. This ethereal glow across the sky is caused by sunlight…

Ancient Cosmic Collision Marked Dwarf Galaxy

Astronomers report evidence of an ancient merger between two “satellite” galaxies, ones that circled our own galactic big brother, the Andromeda Galaxy. Even larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy, Andromeda is located some 2.5 million light-years away. According to the study released by the journal Nature, evidence of an ancient galactic collision there comes from…

Lopsided Supernova Blasts Uncovered

Some jumbo stars commit stellar suicide in surprisingly lumpy explosions, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists led by Caltech’s Brian Grefenstette looked at Cassiopeia A, a supernova that first appeared in nighttime skies around the year 1670. The supernova’s wispy remnants rest some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, stretched across some 59 trillion miles (95 trillion…

Newfound Star May Be Oldest in the Universe

The ultimate age barrier has been broken. The oldest living star in the entire universe may have been discovered—one formed only one or two hundred million years after the Big Bang itself. The ancient star, born some 13.6 billion years ago, bests the previous record handily, by 400 million years, and offers a unique view into what…

6 Sky Events This Week: Leo’s Heart and Goddess of Love

Just in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the silvery moon guides sky-watchers to a stellar heart, just as the goddess of love shines at her brightest this week. Moon joins Jupiter. Check out the king of planets after nightfall on Monday, February 10, as Jupiter pairs up with the waxing, gibbous moon in the southeastern…