Looking Back At Earth From Mars Gives Us Pause

After you’ve traveled a long way, whether in life or miles, it’s nice to look back. You can see the world with fresh eyes. That’s why I like these now-and-again photos of our home from space. They place the Earth in the context of the greater solar system, the way we see Mars or Jupiter or…
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Below Zero And Closest To The Sun — How So?

Wednesday morning, the people in my town will wake up to strong winds and 4 below zero (–20°C). Funny that that very day the Earth will be closest to the sun for 2017. Do you think we’ll feel any warmer? Absolutely not. The momentary proximity occurs at 8:17 a.m. Central time, when the distance from…
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Solstice Aurora And A Dawn Double Conjunction

Just a few hours ago, the sun reached its lowest point in the sky for the northern hemisphere at exactly 4:44 a.m. Central time (10:44 UT). The moment is known as the winter solstice and the official start of winter. It’s also the shortest day and longest night of the year. If night’s your thing, you’ll have…
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Venus And Mars Charm At Dusk

Clear and cold nights are perfect for early evening observing. Get a quick look then duck back in to warm up. If you’ve been wondering what that big, bright “star” is in the southwest after sunset, it’s Venus, brightest of all the planets. If you know where to look, you can even spot the stunning gem…
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Why Isn’t The Earliest Sunset On The Shortest Day?

The dark days are upon us. Welcome to the earliest sunsets of the year this week and early next. Counter to intuition, the sun sets earliest before the winter solstice, not on it. Shouldn’t the sun set earliest and rise latest on the shortest day of the year? Well no, and it’s because our clocks keep steady, uniform time…
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