Naked-Eye Delight: Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend

To whet your appetite for the upcoming eclipse, nature has an opening act performing this weekend. It’s the annual Perseid meteor shower, a pleasant “rain” of fiery flashes coming to a sky near you. Each year in mid-August, Earth zips through the stream of grit and ice boiled off the nucleus of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during…
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Mysterious Alien “Wow” Signal Turns Out To Be A Comet

Astronomers have cocked their ears hoping to hear signals from an alien civilization ever since Cornell University astronomer Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at the stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani back in 1960. Named Project Ozma after the queen of L. Frank Baum’s fictional land of Oz, a place “very far away, difficult to reach, and populated by strange…
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Earth Crosses Comet Johnson Orbit, Tails Twist

Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson has been sliding south down the side of Boötes the Herdsman all month and slowly brightening. The “2015” in its name was the year of its discovery. On Nov. 3, 2015, astronomer J.A. Johnson, working with the Catalina Sky Survey, found the then-faint new comet in the constellation Lynx the Lynx not…
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Comet Lovejoy Is Falling Apart

Oh, it’s still there, but not like it used to be. In early April, Comet C/2017 E4 Lovejoy was the ticket — bright, dense head and streak of a tail almost at the naked eye limit of visibility. Certainly it was an easy if small binocular object with a bright future, provided it held together in…
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Take A Lyrid Meteor Shower Tonight / Astronomy Day!

Tomorrow morning (April 22), the annual Lyrid meteor shower reaches its peak! This medium-strength stream typically delivers about 10-20 meteors per hour from a point in the sky near the bright star Vega. We’ve been showerless since the Quadrantids in early January, and the Lyrids arrive at a most welcome time of year. The warmer weather will…
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