An Invitation To Explore Tonight’s Crescent Moon

Clear skies this evening? Face west about 45 minutes to about an hour after sunset and you’ll see — from top to bottom — the 3½ day old crescent moon, Saturn, Venus and Jupiter. Jupiter will be leaving the scene soon. Venus sticks around and gets higher and brighter. Saturn follows Jupiter’s lead and slowly…
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Comet Borisov Dwarfs The Earth / Space Station Wings Overhead For Thanksgiving

Yale astronomers have taken a new, close-up image of the interstellar comet 2l/Borisov. And to help us appreciate the size of the comet they’ve included our planet for comparison. Discovered by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov in August this year, the comet will come closest to the sun on Dec. 8 at a distance of 186…
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Asteroid Ultima Thule Christened ‘Arrokoth’ In Native American Tribute

Remember Ultima Thule? That was the temporary name given to the remote asteroid New Horizons flew by on January 1, 2019. The name referred to the distant unknown, an idea or object at the limit of our understanding. And indeed the 22-mile-wide contact binary asteroid fits the bill, orbiting the sun every 298 years with…
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Jupiter And Venus Cozy Up For One Of The Best Conjunctions Of The Year

Don’t miss what’s happening in the southwestern sky after sundown the next few nights. The sky’s two brightest planets are pairing up for one of the prettiest conjunctions of the year. Yesterday evening I spotted the pair at 4:55 p.m. local time just 35 minutes after sundown. Venus was obvious about 10° high with Jupiter…
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Meteor Shower A Dud, But Showing Up Was Half The Fun

Astronomy is just so weird. Sometimes you have to take it in stride. After the hype of the Alpha Monocerotids — of which I’m partly to blame — the shower proved to be very weak. Michael Boyle Sr., an amateur astronomer living near Chiefland Astronomy Village in Florida, reported about 20 meteors per hour at…
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