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Solar System

New Images Track Clouds on Saturn's Largest Moon

Brand-new images from the James Webb Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawai'i reveal clouds beneath the haze on this enshrouded moon.

Moon and Mars meet in December 2022

Sky Tour Astronomy Podcast

December: Mars in the Spotlight

December's solstice means that for many skywatchers the night will be up to 14 hours long — providing lots of time to enjoy the starry sky. This month’s celestial highlights are the close approach of the Moon and Mars (and, for many, a coverup) on December 7th and the Gemind meteor shower on the December 13th. Our fun and factual Sky Tour podcast provides all the details.

Mars up close

Explore the Night with Bob King

Mars Mesmerizes at December Opposition

It may not be the closest opposition, but this time around Mars arcs high across the sky where good seeing promises sharp views. That's not all. On December 7th, one night before opposition, the full Moon occults the Red Planet!

Star cluster with blues and reds

Stellar Science

Four Stars, Many Eclipses

Stars are most often born as multiples. Now, the TESS telescope has caught one of these multiple systems in a unique setup.

Moon shining with Jupiter, late evening Dec. 1, 2022

Celestial News & Events

This Week's Sky at a Glance, November 25 – December 3

Mars is closest to Earth this week, closer and brighter than we'll see it again until 2033. By late evening it's high overhead in excellent telescopic view.

Blazar (art)

Black Holes

X-rays Offer View Inside the Black Hole-Powered Plasma Guns

Polarized X-rays are helping astronomers take a closer look at blazars’ “plasma guns,” the particle jets powered by supermassive black holes.

a man standing in front of a large satellite dish

People, Places, and Events

­A Celebration of Jay Pasachoff (1943–2022)

Jay M. Pasachoff, Chair of the Astronomy Department, Director of the Hopkins Observatory, and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, succumbed to cancer on Sunday morning, November 20th.

Three images show supernova in galactic outskirts brightening and then fading again

Stellar Science

A Supernova Hits a Cosmic Speed Bump

Why did a supernova abruptly change color? A recent study suggests a change in ejecta velocity — a cosmic speed bump — might be the culprit.

Jupiter near the Circlet of Pisces

Celestial News & Events

This Week's Sky at a Glance, November 18 – 26

Orion works its way up from behind the horizon after dinnertime and stands high by late evening. Big bright Jupiter and Mars dominate the sky. Jupiter is under the Great Square; Mars is in the horns of Taurus.

Infant star and a rainbow of burps

Stellar Science

Webb Telescope Reveals Starbirth in a Riot of Colors

A riot of colors in this James Webb Space Telescope infrared image show the warm glow of a feeding infant star, representing a look back in time at a star very like the Sun.

Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3) up close

Explore the Night with Bob King

Sneak Peek at Two Promising Comets

Ready to chase comets? We look at two fuzzy solar system travelers that will keep you on your toes all fall and winter long.

BlueWalker 3 satellite panel dwarfs team that built it

Astronomy and Society

BlueWalker 3 Satellite Unfolds, Brightening 40-fold

The unfolding of the BlueWalker 3's giant flat-panel antenna array resulted in a satellite 40 times as bright, outshining most stars.

SLS Launch

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Lift-off! NASA Launches Artemis 1 Mission to the Moon

NASA’s next-generation Moon rocket has left the launchpad on the first flight of the Artemis program.

Oumuamua painting by Hartmann

Exoplanets

Was Interstellar Object `Oumuamua a Chunk of Exo-Pluto?

The interstellar pancake named 'Oumuamua might have been a chip off a Pluto-like object in another star system.

torn-apart star's innards spiral around black hole

Black Holes

Shredded Star Reveals a Dwarf Galaxy’s Central Black Hole

A luminous flare provides astronomers with a rare opportunity to measure the mass of an otherwise quiescent black hole at the center of a dwarf galaxy.

Moon and Mars, Nov 11-12, 2022

Celestial News & Events

This Week's Sky at a Glance, November 11 – 19

The Moon shines in the east with ever-brightening Mars, then it wanes down into the early morning hours to leave the evenings dark for deep-sky observing. Jupiter glares on high. Vega and its binary accompaniments await you in the west.

White dwarf surrounded by debris disk (art)

Stellar Science

Ancient White Dwarf Hosts Planetary Graveyard

Scientists have discovered one of the oldest planetary graveyards in the Milky Way: a cool white dwarf "polluted" with rocky debris.

Supernova in a box in galaxy cluster

Stellar Science

Hubble Spies Supernova in Early Universe

Archival Hubble Space Telescope images taken more than a decade ago have revealed an ancient star in the act of exploding.

an illustration of a flaring red dwarf, with a disk of gas and dust containing an earth-like exoplanet.

Exoplanets

Shields Up: Red Dwarf Worlds Might Adapt to Hostile Systems

Worlds around red dwarf stars might build an ozone "shield" in response to stellar flares.

2022 Chile group at VLT

People, Places, and Events

Observing Chile’s Finest

During October, Editor in Chief Peter Tyson accompanied 19 adventurous skygazers on a 12-day expedition to Chile — the “astronomy capital of the world” — for a tour of breathtaking landscapes and the magnificent southern sky.

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