SPHERE Snaps Stunning Photos Of Budding Solar Systems

What makes a planet different from a star? A star shines generates its own light by fusing hydrogen atoms in its core. The energy escapes the star from its surface as heat and light. Planets are too small burn elements. They may heat up but they don’t shine. Instead, a planet is visible by the…
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Daylight Saving Time Pros And Cons For Skywatchers

I’m no fan of Daylight Saving Time. In spring it means we all have to stay up an hour later until the sky gets dark. That’s OK for now but by summer, when the sun sets at 9 o’clock followed by more than 2 hours of twilight, I’ve had my fill. Still, that extra hour…
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Saturn Mercury Duet At Dawn

I thought we were done with the planets after the crescent moon stopped by on Thursday next to Jupiter and Saturn at dawn. Not on your life. Two more vie for our attention lower down in the dawn sky: bright Mercury and returning Saturn. They’ll really get close too — less than 1° (⅘° to…
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Close Conjunctions Make Us Wonder: Do Planets Occult Planets?

If there’s such a thing as a pleasant 18 below zero morning, today was it. Mars and Jupiter mesmerized. The two were so close they looked identical to a double star viewed in a telescope. How fun to just look up and split them with eyes alone. My friend Greg, who lives in northern Wisconsin,…
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Miss The Evening Planets? Cheer Up With A Visit To Uranus

Planets are scarce these nights. Look around the late fall sky and you won’t find a single one. At least not without optical aid. Only Uranus and Neptune swim among the evening stars. Venus, Saturn and Mercury are currently too close to the sun and swamped in its glare, and Jupiter and Mars shine low…
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