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Astrophotographer’s self-portrait

Photo by Daniel McVey, September 2014.  Visit Daniel McVey's website.

Self Portrait – Astrophotographer on Jeep. Photo by Daniel McVey, September 2014.

Daniel McVey in Summit County, Colorado has contributed some of the most beautiful images to our pages. He posted this one on EarthSky Facebook and wrote:

Inspired in part by a photo of Ansel Adams on his “Woody.”

Moon helps you visualize Pluto spacecraft on October 1

2014-oct-1-moon-pluto-new-horizons-m25-teapot-night-sky-chart

A spacecraft is now in route to the dwarf planet Pluto, scheduled to arrive in the year 2015. The October 1, 2014 moon can help you visualize this Pluto spacecraft’s whereabouts on the sky’s dome.

October 2014 guide to the five visible planets

Total lunar eclipse in 2004 by Fred Espenak

Total lunar eclipse in 2004 by Fred Espenak

A total eclipse of the moon on October 8. Comet Siding Spring just misses Mars on October 19. A partial solar eclipse on October 23. Plus Mars, Saturn, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter!

Wind and solar energy capacity catching with nuclear power

Image via and solarwinddepot.com

Image via and solarwinddepot.com

The Worldwatch Institute said on September 30 that energy generation capacity via wind and solar is catching up with that of nuclear energy. In its latest Vital Signs Online analysis, WorldWatch quantifies the steady decline of nuclear energy’s share of global power production, and renewable energy’s increased share.

California drought linked to climate change, say scientists

The drought crippling California is by some measures the worst in the state's history. Photo credit: NOAA

Photo credit: NOAA

The drought now crippling California – by some measures the worst in the state’s history – is very likely linked to human-caused climate change, researchers report.

Star of the week: Gamma Cephei is a future North Star

Artist's conception of the planet and its view of the two stars that make up the Gamma Cephei system. The planet orbits the bright yellow star on the right every 2.5 years. [larger view]  Image and caption via Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory.

Artist’s conception of Gamma Cephei’s planet, found in 2002, and its view of the two stars in the Gamma Cephei system. The planet, shown here with rings, orbits the bright yellow star on the right every 2.5 years. This was the first planet found in a close binary system. Image and caption via Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory.

Although Gamma Cephei – also known as Errai – rates as only a third-magnitude or moderately bright star, it is easy to find and quite visible in a dark country sky. To many stargazers, the constellation Cepheus the King looks like a child’s depiction of a house, with Gamma Cephei marking the peak of the roof. This is a fascinating star – a future North Star. It also plays an important role in this history of our understanding of extrasolar planets, that is, planets orbiting distant stars.

Five myths about the moon

This isn't a real photo.  It's from a television commercial for Nike footwear, called “Moon Jump.”  The idea of zero gravity on the moon is ... well ... equally imaginary.  Read more about this image here.

This isn’t a real photo. It’s from a television commercial for Nike footwear, called “Moon Jump.”

Moon myths, take that! Five of the most common myths about the moon explained.

Milky Way over Green Lake, in Horsham, Australia

Photo by Lynton Brown Landscapes in Australia.  Visit Lynton Brown's Facebook page.

View larger. | Photo by Lynton Brown Landscapes in Australia. Visit Lynton Brown’s Facebook page.

Lynton Brown stitched together 9 portrait images to show the Milky Way over Green Lake, in Horsham, Australia on September 21, 2014. The glow above the water on the right – behind the tree – are town lights over Horsham. And the mysterious glow on the left? It’s the elusive zodiacal light.

Moon at southernmost point for the month on September 30

2014-sept-30-moon-mars-antares-night-sky-chart

As darkness falls on September 30, the wide waxing crescent moon resides to the east of the planet Mars and the star Antares in the constellation Scorpius. On this night, the moon reaches its southernmost declination for the month, at about 18.5 o south of the celestial equator. Even so, the moon swings about 5 degrees north of the December solstice point (23.5o south declination). That’s a way of saying that the moon is far to the south on September 30 on the sky’s dome. But it’s not as far south as it can be.

Video: New 3D look at brain circuitry

The connections between neurons in the brain are involved in everything we do, and no one’s pattern is the same.