Venus Returns, Joins Exceptionally Young Moon Tonight

Have you noticed something missing lately? Venus has been absent from view since late last summer. We last saw it struggling against the solar glare at dawn. Now, just in time for the holidays, Venus is returning to the evening sky, low in the southwest after sundown. Tonight there’s even a chance to see it…
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Winter Solstice Brings Longest Night, Warm Comforts

You can kiss the fall goodbye starting at 5:03 p.m. (CST) tonight. That’s when the Sun arrives at its southernmost point in the sky in the constellation Sagittarius. For those of us in the northern hemisphere it rises late, never climbs very high in the south and sets early, making today the shortest day and…
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Aurora Alert Through Sunday Night Dec. 20-21 / Aurora Link Updates

Auroras are on the prowl. A glancing punch from a coronal mass ejection on December 17th coupled with a more direct hit from another blast on the 18th are already goosing Earth’s magnetic bubble this evening and will continue through Sunday evening. NOAA predicts the latter will cause moderate to major storming starting early Sunday…
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Comet Finlay Outburst Another Present Under The Christmas Tree

Surprise! An obscure comet that only amateur astronomers would pay attention to experienced a sudden outburst in brightness earlier this week putting it within range of telescopes as small as 4.5 inches. Comet 15P/ Finlay hunkered along at a dim 11th magnitude successfully avoiding the limelight until about December 16th. That’s when Czech comet observer┬áJakub…
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Who Or What Passed Gas On Mars?

What a tantalizing week it’s been for organic chemistry on Mars. We learned that NASA’s Curiosity rover measured a┬átenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by its drill. Scatalogical references to the contrary, methane is a colorless and odorless gas.…
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