Solar System, Sky Watching
Aug 10, 2015
This week, Earth passes through a stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Forecasters say the show could be especially good this year because the Moon is nearly new when the shower peaks on Aug. 12-13.
Solar System, Planets of Our Solar System, Sky Watching
Jun 8, 2015
Venus and Jupiter are converging for a must-see close encounter at the end of June. It could be the best backyard sky show of 2015.
May 14, 2015
On Earth, a fast runner takes a few hours to complete a marathon. On Mars, it's taken 11 years. NASA's Opportunity rover crossed that finish line in 2015.
May 11, 2015
May 11, 2015: One day, when humans go to Mars, they might find that, occasionally, the Red Planet has green skies. In late Dec. 2014, NASA's MAVEN spacecraft detected evidence of widespread auroras in Mars's northern hemisphere. The "Christmas Lights," as researchers... Read More
Universe, Sun, Solar System
May 5, 2015
May 5, 2015: As May of 2015 unfolds, Halley's Comet is more than 5 billion kilometers from Earth, receding into the inky blackness of the outer solar system, where its looping orbit takes it every 76 years. Dim and distant, history's most famous comet won't be back until sometime... Read More
Universe, Earth, Solar System
Apr 30, 2015
April 30, 2015: The planet closest to the Sun is, ironically, one of the coldest. That’s just one of many mind-bending discoveries about Mercury that NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft beamed back to Earth over the past 7 years. Earlier today, the mission ended with a crash as spectacular as... Read More
Apr 21, 2015
At the end of a day devoted to Earth, people can look to the heavens for a beautiful shower of Lyrid meteors.
Apr 21, 2015
April 21, 2015: When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies by Pluto this July, the spacecraft's high-resolution cameras will spot many new landforms on the dwarf planet's unexplored surface. There could be mountains, craters, rilles, valleys and, of course, the unknown. They are... Read More
Mar 30, 2015
On Saturday morning, April 4th, sky watchers in the USA can see a brief but beautiful total eclipse of the Moon.
Feb 27, 2015
Feb 27, 2015: Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA's Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The latest images from Dawn, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) from Ceres, reveal that a bright spot that... Read More
Feb 27, 2015
Feb 27, 2015: Cruising through the asteroid belt, NASA Dawn spacecraft is approaching dwarf planet Ceres, and some puzzling features are coming into focus. "We expected to be surprised by Ceres," says Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission,... Read More
Earth, Sun, Solar System
Feb 6, 2015
Feb 6, 2015: Every 13 months, Earth and Jupiter have a close encounter. Astronomers call it an "opposition" because Jupiter is opposite the Sun in the sky. Our solar system’s largest gas planet rises in the east at sunset, and soars overhead at midnight, shining brighter than any star in the... Read More
Jan 8, 2015
Jan. 8, 2015: Scientists have paired NASA's Cassini spacecraft with the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio-telescope system to pinpoint the position of Saturn and its family of moons to within about 2 miles (4 kilometers). The measurement is some 50 times... Read More
Sun, Solar System
Dec 22, 2014
Dec 22, 2014: According to the calendar, Christmas comes on Thursday, Dec. 25th. For backyard sky watchers, however, the holiday starts earlier. They're getting planets for Christmas—and the show begins on Dec. 22nd.