Massive eruptions 66 million years ago in India played a role in dinosaur extinction, say researchers, a challenge to the theory that a meteorite impact was the sole cause.
Mirfak (Alpha Persei) ranks as the brightest star in the constellation Perseus, which represents a Hero in ancient skylore, but whose shape might remind you of someone dancing. Dancing Perseus also contains the sky’s most celebrated eclipsing binary star, Algol, sometimes called the Demon Star. Algol wins notoriety for its wild swings in brightness, which recur with clock-like precision. However, Mirfak is the easier of the two stars to find, and can serve as your guide star to Algol. Follow the links below to learn more about Mirfak, Perseus’ brightest star.
The quaint holiday decoration you invited into your home and hung over your doorways is a vicious parasite that leeches nutrients from innocent host trees. It is riddled with cytotoxins and is pollinated via bird crap. Merry Christmas.
The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, is mentioned in the Bible. It’s said to have led the three wise men to Bethlehem. But was the Christmas Star a real object in the sky? Or was it just a symbol?
Skywatchers with binoculars and telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere have been watching Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy – or Comet Q2 as many are calling it. It’s brightening, and people at southerly Northern Hemisphere locations are capturing cool shots of the comet already! In January, 2015, it’ll be high in Northern Hemisphere skies.
Tonight – as soon as the sky begins to darken after sunset – look west for a very slim crescent moon and the brightest planet Venus. Although the moon and the planet Venus rank as the brightest and second-brightest orbs of nighttime, respectively, it’ll take a big effort to spot these two brilliant beauties after sunset on December 22, 2014. You’ll need an unobstructed horizon in the sunset direction. Binoculars will be helpful!
On the December solstice solstice, we celebrate the (unofficial) first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Unofficial? Yes. Winter and summer start at the solstices by tradition, not official decree. Yet these solstices bring very real occurrences to our sky, which you can witness for yourself.
How sunlight falls on Earth’s surface during the solstices and equinoxes, as seen from geosynchronous orbit.
The waxing crescent moon will be moving up past Venus in the first few days of this new week. Watch for them exceedingly low in the west after sunset.