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EarthSky.org - A Clear Voice for Science

Interviews with the worlds top scientists heard, seen or downloaded millions of times each day. Digital media company. Scientists speak directly to listeners in daily science podcasts.



Raining stars  

Although they're called shooting stars, meteors aren't star-related. They're really comet dust. Nature photographer John Ashley created this composite image of the Lyrid meteor shower peak April 22.

2017-04-25 07:18:34
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Happy World Penguin Day  

Antarctica has 12 million penguins and 5 penguin species, according to a new report released today. But at least 2 penguin species have recently and significantly declined.

2017-04-25 04:57:58
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Why cats can’t resist (even a phony) box  

Twitter has been blowing up with posts on cats' attraction to taped squares on the ground. An animal behavior expert explains what draws Fluffy to the #CatSquare.

2017-04-25 04:54:48
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Cassini completes final, fateful Titan flyby  

This was Cassini's 127th Titan flyby. The craft passed at an altitude of about 608 miles (979 km) above the moon's surface. Cassini is now in position for its daring Grand Finale.

2017-04-24 22:14:18
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How our Milky Way looks from space  

Composite of 2 spiral galaxies - offered in celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope's 27th birthday today - shows how our Milky Way galaxy might look if we were outside it.

2017-04-24 10:04:11
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This asteroid and comet look similar  

Radar images of close-passing large asteroid 2014 JO25, which swept near last week, show it looks a lot like Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which was explored by the Rosetta spacecraft.

2017-04-24 02:49:50
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See it! Meteors, moon, Venus photos  

The Lyrid meteor shower didn't produced as many meteors as some hoped, but we got a few lovely photos. And the moon and Venus were awesome Sunday morning!

2017-04-23 09:42:26
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Moon and Venus before Sunday’s sunrise  

Before sunrise on April 23, 2017, you'll find a beautiful pairing of the waning crescent moon and dazzling planet Venus in your eastern sky.

2017-04-22 06:08:54
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Earth and moon between Saturn’s rings  

Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn obtained this new image April 12. The craft was 870 million miles (1.4 billion km) from Earth.

2017-04-21 13:42:03
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Video: Cassini’s final crazy engineering  

During Cassini's close pass of Titan on April 21-22, Titan's gravity will bend Cassini's orbit around Saturn, shrinking it slightly, so that instead of passing just outside the rings, the spacecraft will begin its Grand Finale dives just inside the rings. Wow!

2017-04-21 07:33:33
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Black dog, rising moon, San Juan Islands  

This black dog's name is Smokey. He belongs to James Younger, who captured this photo April 19, 2017 while camping at the San Juan Islands in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

2017-04-21 04:16:22
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Cassini’s final encounter with Titan  

Cassini's final closest approach to Saturn's moon Titan is scheduled for April 21 at 11:08 p.m. PDT (2:08 a.m. EDT or 6:08 UTC on April 22).

2017-04-21 01:13:51
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Growing crack in Larsen-C ice shelf  

The European Space Agency is monitoring the progress of the crack in Antarctica's Larsen-C ice shelf. The crack is eventually expected to produce a massive iceberg.

2017-04-20 10:29:19
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Photos of close asteroid 2014 JO25  

Large asteroid 2014 JO25 safely passed Earth on April 19, 2017 at some 1,098,733 miles (1,768,239 km) or about 4.6 times the distance from Earth to the moon. Images from the EarthSky community here.

2017-04-20 01:41:25
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Cassini to begin its Grand Finale  

On April 26 - as it begins its Grand Finale months - the glorious Cassini spacecraft will make the 1st in a series of dives through the gap between Saturn and its rings.

2017-04-19 12:33:16
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Ocean worlds beyond Earth  

Sure, Earth is the ocean planet. But astronomers are now coming to realize that ocean worlds are all around us in space. New ScienceCast video from NASA.

2017-04-19 08:20:59
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Celebrating science, the Earth and the sky  

Earth Day and the March for Science, April 22. International Dark Sky Week, April 22-28. Links and resources for all 3, here.

2017-04-18 14:41:30
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Last quarter moon rises around midnight  

You might spot the moon after sunrise on April 18 or 19, high in the sky. Did you know a last quarter moon is slightly fainter than a first quarter moon? Learn why here.

2017-04-18 05:30:28
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Who needs dark energy?  

Dark energy is thought to be the driver for the expansion of the universe. But do we need dark energy to account for an expanding universe?

2017-04-17 12:22:34
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Mars near Pleiades cluster at nightfall  

Mars and the Pleiades star cluster will fit (or nearly fit) in the same binocular field all this week. They'll come closest together on the sky's dome on or near April 22.

2017-04-17 04:14:11
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Lyrid meteor shower has begun  

The annual Lyrid meteor shower is active each year from about April 16 to 25.

2017-04-17 01:27:59
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Early morning clouds  

Photo by Eileen Claffey.

2017-04-16 08:19:04
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New global map of Earth at night  

First new global map of Earth at night since 2012, dubbed Black Marble. It shows city lights, boats on the water, how people follow geography, population patterns and more.

2017-04-15 11:23:31
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Is there life on Saturn’s moon?  

A form of chemical energy that can support life appears to exist on Saturn's moon Enceladus. 

2017-04-15 10:44:41
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New global map of Earth at night  

First new global map of Earth at night since 2012, dubbed Black Marble. See a video showing how the lights of human activity shine.

2017-04-15 03:31:09
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Moon and Saturn close in morning sky  

From anywhere on Earth - on the mornings of April 15, 16 and 17 - Saturn will be a bright golden object near the waning gibbous moon. The red star Antares is also nearby.

2017-04-14 03:33:33
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More ways sun storms can disrupt things  

Scientists are learning more about the way storms on the sun can disrupt our communications satellites and ground-based electric grids.

2017-04-14 03:03:45
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Watch space debris conference online  

ESA invites you to watch the opening address and more from the European Conference on Space Debris. It'll begin April 18 at 09:30 CEST.

2017-04-13 12:51:45
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California superbloom from space  

Thanks to years of drought followed by above-average rainfall, California is enjoying a fantastic wildflower superbloom in 2017. See before-and-after space images here.

2017-04-13 08:40:46
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See a daytime moon around now  

These next few mornings are a good time to look for a daytime moon. Look west in the hours shortly after sunrise.

2017-04-13 06:14:32
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M13: Great Cluster in Hercules  

Stargazers agree that the Great Cluster in the constellation Hercules - also known as M13 - is the finest globular cluster in the northern half of the heavens.

2017-04-12 06:59:51
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Jupiter has a Great Cold Spot  

The newly discovered Great Cold Spot on Jupiter rivals the scale of the planet's Great Red Spot. It's thought to be driven by powerful energies from auroras at Jupiter's poles.

2017-04-12 02:26:48
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First-ever image of dark matter?  

The scientists say their image, which combines images from more than 23,000 galaxy pairs, confirms dark matter's existence. Will other astronomers agree?

2017-04-12 01:12:53
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New views of Uranus’ auroras and rings  

NASA just released a new composite image combining Voyager 2 and Hubble data to show both the rings and auroras of Uranus.

2017-04-11 06:25:21
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Southern lights over South Pole  

Hunter Davis sent these photos from Antarctica this morning of the aurora australis - or southern lights - now appearing over Earth's South Pole.

2017-04-11 03:03:42
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Why does the moon seem to follow me?  

Here's something you - or your kids - might notice. When you're moving in a car, earthly objects get left behind, but the moon seems to follow. Why?

2017-04-10 13:38:34
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Full moon near Jupiter April 10-11  

Full moon comes on April 11 at 6:08 UTC. For the Americas, that means full moon happens tonight. As the 1st full moon of northern spring, it fixes the date of Easter Sunday.

2017-04-10 06:50:31
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The perilous process of star birth  

A new image shows a star explosion, but not from a supernova or dying star. It's an explosion during star birth and provides insights into the sometimes-fierce relationship among sibling stars.

2017-04-10 05:33:11
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Sun pillar over England  

A sun pillar, visible earlier this month before and up until dawn, from the Northumberland coast in northeast England.

2017-04-10 02:26:49
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Jupiter and its moons  

The 4 largest moons of Jupiter - called the Galilean satellites - are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Recent photos here.

2017-04-09 14:16:26
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Moon and Jupiter meet in Virgo  

Jupiter stays in any constellation of the zodiac for roughly a year. In 2017, it's Virgo's turn. Use the moon to find Jupiter over the next several nights, then use Jupiter to find Virgo.

2017-04-09 06:14:12
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Molecular clocks track human evolution  

How do scientists figure out when evolutionary events happened? It turns out our DNA is a kind of molecular clock, keeping time via genetic changes.

2017-04-09 05:28:18
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Rescuing 11 elephants from a mud hole  

Asian elephants got stuck in a mud-filled old bomb crater in Cambodia. A collaborative rescue effort saved them all.

2017-04-08 14:43:41
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Why Jupiter is closest on April 8  

You'd think Jupiter would be closest to Earth on the day we passed between it and the sun. We did that yesterday, though, and our 2 worlds are closest today. Why?

2017-04-08 06:45:05
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Raindrops like tiny suns  

After a spring rain .... in this photo by John Entwistle, raindrops sparkle like tiny suns.

2017-04-08 03:28:16
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Large asteroid coming close on April 19  

Asteroid 2014 JO25 will pass safely at 4.6 times the moon's distance. It's 60 times the diameter of the asteroid that penetrated the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013. People with small telescopes might be able to spot it.

2017-04-08 02:12:43
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New Hubble image of Jupiter  

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system - some 88,789 miles (142,984 km) at its equator. We pass between Jupiter and the sun this week, and Hubble Space Telescope looked its way.

2017-04-07 13:41:41
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Overtaking the king of planets  

This is what the opposition of Jupiter means.

2017-04-07 02:35:37
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New ideas on dinosaur evolution  

Basic facts that paleontologists thought they'd known for 130 years - about dinosaurs' family trees - might turn out to be wrong.

2017-04-06 09:55:47
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Use zip code to attract birds to your yard  

Audubon website lets you enter your zip code to see a list of the best bird-friendly plants for your yard. Plus a free app to identify the birds you see.

2017-04-06 06:15:55
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Moon meets up with star Regulus  

On the night of April 6, 2017, enjoy the close pairing of the moon and Regulus. From the southern tip of South America, the moon will occult - or pass in front of - this star.

2017-04-06 03:58:26
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Red ring of light over Eastern Europe  

The enormous ring of light that appeared in the night sky on April 2 - above a thunderstorm in the Czech Republic - was a rare and fleeting lightning phenomenon.

2017-04-06 02:21:18
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California desert superbloom  

After 5 years of exceptional drought, California deserts have exploded with "superblooms" of wildflowers following the wet winter.

2017-04-05 01:53:23
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Close pass today from asteroid 2017 GM!  

Asteroid 2017 GM is one of the 10 closest asteroids known so far to sweep past Earth, and then keep going. At its closest, it was less than 1/20th of the moon's mean distance.

2017-04-04 09:01:10
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Watch for Venus before dawn  

Venus was in the west after sunset in March. It passed between us and the sun on March 25 and now can be seen in the east before dawn. Watch for it!

2017-04-04 04:54:35
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What is Lunar X?  

Is Lunar X a sign of an alien visitation? No. It's an example of how lighting and topography can combine to produce a pattern that seems familiar to the human eye.

2017-04-03 09:37:22
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Milky Way and zodiacal light  

Which one looks brighter to you? One is the combined light of many stars. The other is the light of our own star, the sun, reflecting on grains of dust.

2017-04-03 05:59:30
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April 3 is John Burroughs’ birthday  

John Burroughs - born in 1837 - was one of the first nature writers. He was the first to say, "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."

2017-04-03 02:32:24
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Male Emperor penguins are good dads  

In fact, male Emperor penguins are one of nature's best animal dads. This month - autumn in Antarctica - their breeding cycle begins, and then there's a long winter ahead.

2017-04-03 02:24:45
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Asteroid close encounter on April 2  

The near-Earth asteroid 2017 FU102 has a very close, but safe, encounter with Earth on April 2, 2017, sweeping to within just over half the moon's distance.

2017-04-02 10:27:12
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April’s birthstone is the diamond  

Happy birthday April babies! Your birthstone, the diamond, is the rich cousin of graphite.

2017-04-01 12:31:07
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Mercury after sunset in early April  

For northerly latitudes, we're now in the middle of Mercury's best showing in the evening sky for 2017.

2017-04-01 03:29:13
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Moon, Aldebaran, Pleiades on March 31  

Aldebaran represents the fiery red eye of the Bull in Taurus - and the Pleaides, or Seven Sisters is one of our sky's most recognizable star clusters. Learn to see them both tonight, using the moon as a guide.

2017-03-31 02:52:08
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Favorite octopus videos  

Octopuses (aka octopi or octopodes) are so cool! Here are 5 of our favorite videos featuring those remarkable cephalopods.

2017-03-31 02:04:51
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Moon and Mars at nightfall March 30  

Look in your western sky at nightfall and early evening. Mars will be the reddish "star" right next to the waxing moon.

2017-03-30 06:47:20
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No kidding! April Fools’ Comet  

You need a telescope to see Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacombini-Kresak, which comes closer to Earth on April 1, 2017 than it has since its discovery. Links to online viewing here.

2017-03-30 06:20:27
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Seahorse aurora  

Seeing a seahorse shape in the shifting light of an aurora is an example of "pareidolia."

2017-03-30 03:40:11
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Merging galaxies behaving strangely  

When large and small galaxies merge, the large galaxy's central black hole typically gorges on gas and dust. But in a merging galaxy system called Was 49, the small galaxy has the feeding black hole.

2017-03-29 06:44:29
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Moon, Mercury, Mars on March 29  

It's a very slim crescent moon you'll find in the west - shortly after sunset - Wednesday evening. Mercury is exceedingly near the sunset glare. Mars is higher up.

2017-03-29 04:11:09
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Winter lingers  

Winter lingers on Cape Breton Island, Canada. Photo by Kris Tynski.

2017-03-29 03:39:54
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Watch SpaceX rocket launch on Thursday  

This milestone SpaceX launch is currently scheduled for March 30 at 6:27 p.m. EDT (22:27 UTC). Links to the live launch here.

2017-03-29 03:33:09
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Last night’s very young moon  

It's rare to see a moon less than 24 hours old, that is, 24 hours past the new phase. But North America had a shot at a younger moon on the night of March 28.

2017-03-29 02:06:08
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What is earthshine?  

When you see the crescent moon after sunset this week, notice the pale glow on its unlit portion. This glow is called earthshine.

2017-03-29 01:38:08
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Watch spacewalk on Thursday  

Watch two ISS astronauts walk outside the station. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin about 8:00 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC) and last about 6.5 hours.

2017-03-28 19:21:11
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See a very young moon March 28  

North America has a great shot at a heartbreakingly slim young moon, in the west after sunset. Wherever you are, if you miss the moon tonight, try again Wednesday evening.

2017-03-28 05:51:55
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Orion from the Southern Hemisphere  

See the 3 stars of Orion's Belt in the upper right of this photo? The large, reddish cloud-like region on the lower left is the Gum Nebula.

2017-03-28 03:21:22
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Watch a full rotation of the moon  

Wonderful video from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA spacecraft in a polar orbit around the moon since 2009. The moon as you've never seen it!

2017-03-28 02:03:19
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Today in science: Great Alaska earthquake  

The earthquake - centered in Prince William Sound off the coast of south-central Alaska - was the most powerful yet recorded in North America at magnitude 9.2.

2017-03-27 13:53:48
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Another Planet 9 search! You can help  

This one will use images of the sky visible from Earth's Southern Hemisphere. You can help from anyplace on the globe. The search is for a 9th major planet in our system, nicknamed Planet 9.

2017-03-27 05:15:13
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Snow geese  

Marcia White Bower captured migrating snow geese in central New York on March 19.

2017-03-27 03:20:08
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Super halos around very young galaxies  

Astronomers directly observed a pair of Milky-Way-like galaxies, seen when the universe was 8% of its current age. They were excited to find the young galaxies surrounded by huge halos.

2017-03-26 22:39:23
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Planets Mercury and Uranus at dusk  

Innermost Mercury - and distant Uranus - are low in the western sky after sunset. Start looking for them as soon as your sky begins to darken.

2017-03-26 03:54:22
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So long, last North American ice sheet  

The last remnant of a once-enormous ice sheet will be gone in about 300 years, according to a new study. Scientists say warming temperatures are the reason.

2017-03-26 02:49:46
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Colors of scintillating Venus  

Venus reaches inferior conjunction today, officially leaving the evening sky. It has been low in the sky, where Earth's atmosphere has caused Venus to scintillate, or twinkle, in many colors.

2017-03-25 02:36:38
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Perfect airplane glory  

You might catch an airplane glory when a mist or cloud lies below you, with the sun shining upon it.

2017-03-24 06:27:29
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New map of space dust in 3-D  

Sure, we're all collections of space dust. But astronomers also want to study it in order to understand how space dust in our Milky Way obscures starlight from afar.

2017-03-24 01:22:24
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Does Mars sometimes have rings?  

It's possible that Mars' closer moon - Phobos - might alternate between becoming a planetary ring and clumping together to form a moon.

2017-03-23 14:18:39
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Venus after sunset and before sunrise!  

The planet Venus is now appearing in the west after sunset and in the east before sunrise. Don't believe it? Astronomer Bruce McClure reports on his observation.

2017-03-23 04:56:11
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Chaco Canyon, New Mexico  

Ancient structures in a desolate area of land in surrounded by the Navajo reservation. Around 1,000 years ago, the architects of this place walked away.

2017-03-23 02:54:44
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Record low sea ice at both poles  

Considering both poles in February 2017, Earth essentially lost the equivalent of a chunk of sea ice larger than Mexico, in contrast to the average global minimum for 1981-2010.

2017-03-23 02:09:28
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Star’s death spiral into black hole  

What happens when a star with about our sun's mass spirals into a black hole? With the distant event known as ASASSN-14li, astronomers have figured out some details.

2017-03-22 04:51:19
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What is stellar magnitude?  

Brightest stars to the eye are 1st magnitude, and dimmest stars to the eye are 6th magnitude. How the magnitude scale works in astronomy and why it's useful.

2017-03-22 01:06:26
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How a Venus flytrap knows to snap shut  

Cool video, especially if you've never seen a Venus flytrap in action.

2017-03-21 12:08:08
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It looked like the sun set twice  

A lone, small, very brightly illuminated passing cloud - at the exact point where the sun was going down - caused the illusion of a double sunset.

2017-03-21 06:02:22
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7 Earth-sized worlds? What we really see  

A reality check from astrophysicist Brian Koberlein on what we actually see of the 7 recently discovered Earth-sized planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1.

2017-03-21 04:44:01
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Fizzy lakes for Saturn’s moon Titan?  

Bright features - informally known as "magic islands" - seem to appear and disappear in a Titan sea. A new study shows that bubbles could, potentially, be the cause.

2017-03-20 13:44:07
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Last sunset of winter sun pillar  

Photographer Josh Blash caught this sun pillar last night in Hampton, New Hampshire. It's caused by ice crystals drifting in the air.

2017-03-20 09:23:13
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Watch the sun’s shift on your horizon  

Here's a fun activity for the coming months. Note how far the sun moves on your horizon each day, as spring shifts toward summer (or autumn towards winter).

2017-03-20 05:47:57
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How to take great photos of star trails  

When a camera captures a star's movement across the sky, it's called a star trail. An astrophotographer explains how he does it.

2017-03-18 06:22:17
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New mosaic of Orion Nebula  

The Orion Nebula - 1,400 light-years away- is the closest star formation region to Earth. This image is the latest in the Hubble Space Telescope's collection.

2017-03-18 02:43:40
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