Enjoy A Venus Aperitif Before Tomorrow Morning’s Occultation

An aperitif is an alcoholic drink you take before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Tonight, a close conjunction of Venus and the star Regulus offers a visual aperitif for tomorrow morning’s occultation / close conjunction of the waning crescent moon and Aldebaran. You’ll find the pair — along with Mercury — low in the…
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See A Beautiful Aldebaran Occultation, Last One For 15 Years

When the moon covers a bright star it’s called an occultation. There have been 49 occultations of Aldebaran in a row every month since Jan. 29, 2015. Many of them have occurred in daylight or over distant lands and oceans, so the actual number visible from any one location is much lower. Add in bad…
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First Fragment Of Shattered Asteroid Recovered In Botswana

Before we look at the main news I wanted to share a serendipitous photos of Venus. While taking a picture of the planet’s reflection in a lake near Duluth, Minn. someone on the opposite shot off a few rounds of fireworks that squeezed their way into the 10-second time exposure. Boom, boom! Did I hear…
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State Of The Sky On The 4th Of July

America celebrates its independence today. My independent minded neighbors began their festivities days ago, setting off firecrackers and bottle rockets till past midnight. But the big fireworks happens tonight. Most cities start blasting shells into the air around 10 o’clock, about an hour after sundown. If you’re one of the millions of people who’ll be…
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Astronomers Take First Image Of A Baby Planet

Woo-hoo! Astronomers have their first image of a planet forming around its parent star. A group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany captured the thrilling photo of a young planet named PDS 70b in orbit around the orange star PDS 70. They used the SPHERE instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) — one…
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