Credit: NASA

Venus Is A Backwards Planet

It’s fun to have Venus on the scene again. You can spot it at dusk very low in the northwestern sky starting about 20 minutes after sundown. Look for a solitary yellowish point of light struggling against the fading light of day. One fist to its upper left, you might see glimmering Mercury (it’s only magnitude +1) and…
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This was the first sunset observed in color by Curiosity. The color has been calibrated and white-balanced to remove camera artifacts. Mastcam sees color much the way the human eye does,  although it's a little less sensitive to blue. The Sun's disk itself appears pink because all the cooler colors have been scattered away, similar to why the Sun on Earth appears orange or red when near the horizon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Stargazing On Mars

We’re stuck with Earth for now when it comes to stargazing. And despite the plague of light pollution, it’s still a pretty good planet for looking up. But thanks to planetarium-style software, we can easily jaunt off to Mars and get an inkling of what the night sky has to offer on a different planet.…
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Moonrise over Lake Superior from Duluth, MInn. Click the image to find when the Full Strawberry Moon rises for your town on the solstice on Monday (June 20). Credit: Bob King

Wow — First Day Of Summer And A Full Moon Too!

Stealthy summer has been advancing this way since December 22. That date marked the winter solstice or first day of winter, when the sun reached its lowest point in the sky in the northern hemisphere. Monday June 20th it will reach its highest point in the sky, officially marking the start of summer. Meteorological summer may have…
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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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Quasars Mysteriously Align Across Billions Of Light Years

Quasar. One of the coolest words ever. It’s really shorthand for “quasi stellar radio source”. When radio telescopes were developed in the latter half of the 20th century, astronomers eagerly used them to find new objects in the sky, many invisible in visible light. One of the things they found were these star-like objects glowing…
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