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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Kepler Star Is The Most Spherical Object Ever Seen In Nature

Anyone who’s ever tried to make a perfect snowball has some inkling how difficult it is to create a sphere. Even nature has a hard time of it. But a star discovered by NASA’s Kepler Mission, dubbed Kepler 11145123, comes pretty darn close. Rounder than the sun, the Earth, the moon and all the rest,…
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Cosmic Rays Are Beating Up On Key Space Weather Satellite

Our finest tool for warning us of impending solar storms has been having a tough go since it was launched in 2015. Galactic cosmic rays may be to blame. NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) hangs its hat at the L1 Lagrange Point, a handy parking spot where the gravitational pulls of the Earth and sun cancel out.…
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It’s Fall Again! Time For A Trip To The Celestial Equator

Cool breezes are back, and the outdoors color palette is shifting toward the red end of the spectrum. Spring begins Thursday morning (Sept. 22) at 9:21 a.m. Central Daylight time. Nice to know things will be warming up again so soon. Wait a sec. That’s the southern hemisphere. Here in the north, it’s the first…
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