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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Comet 41P In The Dragon’s Gaze / Saturn’s Flying Saucer Moon

Now that the waning gibbous moon rises after 11 o’clock, we’ve got an expanding dark sky window to catch up with 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak. When we last left the comet, it was sailing across the Big Dipper and visible as a 6th magnitude smudge-ball in binoculars. It passed closest to Earth on April 1 at 13 million miles.…
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Asteroid 2017 GM Misses Earth By 9,942 Miles / Comet Lovejoy Still Cookin’

I hope you had pleasant dreams overnight. In one of mine, I couldn’t get my shoe tied right. Glad I woke up from that one. While many of us slept, a tiny near-Earth asteroid named 2017 GM passed exceptionally close to Earth, just 9,942 (15,000 km) miles overhead at 5:31 a.m. CDT (10:31 UT). That…
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