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Total lunar eclipse path on May 26, 2021

Celestial Objects to Observe

Solar and Lunar Eclipses in 2021

Four eclipses occur in 2021, with annular and total solar eclipses alternating between total and not-quite-total lunar eclipses.

Protocluster

Galaxies

Astronomers Spot Galaxies Clustering in Early Universe

Astronomers have discovered a cluster of galaxies coming together just 770 million years after the Big Bang.

New Horizons

Cosmology

What New Horizons Found in Deep Space — And Why It Matters

NASA’s mission to the outer solar system has found more light than expected. That could mean more galaxies in the visible universe than we thought— or less, depending on who you talk to.

January 20, 2021 Starlink launch

Astronomy and Society

Beyond Starlink: The Satellite Saga Continues

SpaceX has placed more than 1,000 Starlinks in orbit, and other companies are following suit. Here's the latest on what's being done to protect astronomy.

VisorSat

Astronomy and Society

Starlink Satellites Are Fainter Now — But Still Visible

Measurements of Starlink's "VisorSat" show SpaceX has succeeded in making a less reflective satellite. But it's still visible from dark-sky areas.

Moon, Aldebaran, Pleiades Jan 22-24, 2021,

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, January 22 – 30

Right after dark, face east and look very high. The bright star there is Capella, the Goat Star. To the right of it, by a couple of finger-widths at arm's length, is a small, narrow triangle of 3rd- and 4th-magnitude stars known as "the Kids." Though they're not exactly eye-grabbing, they form a never-forgotten asterism with Capella.

Chang'e 5 T1 view of the Moon and Earth

Spacecraft and Space Missions

China's Chang'e 5 Probe Heads Sunward

China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft helped deliver samples from the Moon to Earth. Now it’s heading for an extended mission to observe the Sun.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Comets

Comet Watch 2021

If you own an 8-inch or larger telescope you might see more than a dozen new and returning comets this year, including one potential naked-eye candidate.

Juno Insight

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

NASA Extends Juno, InSight Missions

NASA has granted two key planetary missions extensions, so InSight and Juno will continue to return data from Mars and Jupiter, respectively, for years to come.

illustration of X-ray binary system

Milky Way

Astronomy News: Galactic One-Two Punch, Black Hole Heartbeat Falters

In the news this week: Globular clusters have the detailed scoop on our galaxy's past, and a "heartbeat" black hole binary in the Milky Way has gone mysteriously dim.

astronomical society

This Week in Astronomy Pictures: A Magnetic Whirlpool, Windblown Jets & More

Whether you're here for eye candy or a more cosmic perspective, these astronomy pictures released this week will do the trick.

Most distant quasar

Black Holes

What the Most Distant Quasar Tells Us About Black Hole Birth

The existence of a quasar when the universe was only 670 million years old is helping astronomers understand how black holes are born.

Moon passing Mars, Jan 20-21, 2021

Celestial News & Events

This Week's Sky at a Glance, January 15 – 23

Bright Capella high overhead, and equally bright Rigel in Orion's foot, have almost the same right ascension. This means they cross your sky’s meridian at almost exactly the same time. So whenever Capella passes the zenith, Rigel marks true south, and vice versa. That happens around 9 or 10 p.m. now.

Giant flare on a magnetar

Stellar Science

Masquerading Magnetars Make Short Brilliant Bursts

Giant flares emitted from the surface of highly magnetized neutron stars could explain some gamma-ray flashes astronomers have caught over the past few decades.

Supermassive black hole devouring a star

Black Holes

Black Hole Feasts on Star, Bite by Bite

Like a cosmic blinker, a distant supermassive black hole is flaring every 114 days. Astronomers believe the eerily regular signal betrays the piecemeal devouring of a star.

Exoplanets

Rocky Planet Found Around 10 Billion-Year-Old Star

Astronomers have found an Earth-size (but not at all Earth-like) planet around an ancient star that has a nice high view of our galaxy.

Pulsar detected by FAST

Professional Telescopes

China Opens World's Largest Radio Telescope to International Scientists

Scientists outside China will be allocated around 10% of observation time on its gigantic radio telescope following the collapse of Arecibo.

Timing an array of pulsars

Cosmology

Pulsars Show Hint of Gravitational-wave Background

Duos of supermassive black holes tangoing throughout the universe make their own music, and astronomers may have picked up a hint of the tune.

Lost Jovian moon J 23

Solar System

Amateur Astronomer Finds “Lost” Moons of Jupiter

An amateur astronomer has recovered four of five "lost" Jovian moons.

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, January 8 – 16

Twilight challenge: the planet-conjunction finale! Jupiter and Saturn are becoming ever harder to pick up low in bright twilight, but bring those binoculars on Saturday Jan. 9th. Because then they'll be three! Mercury is emerging to join them. It will pass by them for a couple more days.

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