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An artist's impression of a gas cloud as it passes the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Black Holes

Flares from the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way released an unusual number of strong flares in 2019. Now, astronomers are trying to figure out why.

Crescent Moon with Aldebaran and Pleiades, April 15-16, 2021

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, April 9 – 17

Arcturus ascends in the east as Sirius sinks in the southwest. Orion tilts further as the Dipper rides high. And this week Mars threads the horntips of Taurus, closely followed by the crescent Moon.

Total solar eclipse 2019 in Chile

Celestial News & Events

T–3 Years Until the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

The countdown has begun to a special total solar eclipse that will cross Mexico, the U.S. and Canada on April 8, 2024.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Make the Most of Comet ATLAS

Bright comets will be scarce this year, but you can see one of the better ones this month as it races from Aquila to Canes Venatici. In other news, a new, bright nova has flared in Sagittarius.

Photo of an edge-on galaxy encircled by a faint stream of stars.

Milky Way

Seeking the Origins of Galactic Stellar Streams

A recent study has identified the origins of many of the long streams of stars that encircle the Milky Way. These streams may contain hints about our galaxy's past.

The Milky Way

Save Dark Skies

Discover the Night: International Dark Sky Week is Here!

Light pollution is insidious in today’s world. This International Dark Sky Week, become inspired to see what you can do to raise awareness.

Gamma-rays from Milky Way

Milky Way

Tibet Observatory Confirms Existence of Galactic PeVatrons

A Tibetan cosmic-ray observatory has discovered high-energy particle accelerators within our galaxy.

Annular eclipse at dawn

Celestial News & Events

First Look at 2021’s First Solar Eclipse

June 10th's annular eclipse of the Sun has a path that crosses southern Canada and the North Pole but will be a challenge to see.

The waning Moon passes under Saturn and Jupiter at dawn, April 6-7, 2021

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, April 2 – 10

Winter stars in the west are giving way to spring stars in the east, while little Mars shines on. Meanwhile, the waning Moon passes under Jupiter and Saturn at dawn.

CATegories of Floofs

People, Places, and Events

Cakes, Cats, and Stars — Astro April Fools

Astronomers turn their attention to the true puzzles of the universe: cats, Jaffa Cakes, and the coming planet–black hole apocalypse.

Moon pairings in April 2021

Sky Tour Astronomy Podcast

April: Follow the Moon

To learn “what’s up” at night during April, download Sky Tour — an engaging narrated guide to the planets, stars, and constellations now visible.

Europa eclipses then occults Io

Planets

Mutual Event Season Heats Up at Jupiter

Jupiter is usually the one occulting and eclipsing the Galilean moons, but this observing season the moons also eclipse and occult one another.

Theia Impact

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

Bits of Theia Might Be in Earth's Mantle

A "smoking gun" for the ancient calamity that formed Earth’s large Moon may still exist deep in the mantle of our planet.

Comet Borisov

Solar System

Interstellar Comet Was Pristine Sample of Planet Formation

New analysis shows that Comet 2I/Borisov, which zipped nearest the Sun in late 2019, was unlike any comet we’ve seen before.

An Artist's impression of WASP-107b

Exoplanets

Spotting a Faint Escaping Atmosphere

Low-density exoplanets orbiting close to their host stars tend to lose their atmosphere. Now, astronomers can measure how fast it disappears.

Apophis radar images in 2021

Solar System

Asteroid Apophis Will Miss Earth in 2068

Radar measurements taken early this month rule out any chance of a collision with Apophis over the next 100 years.

Great Red Spot vs. flake

Solar System

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Gets Smaller — But Stronger

"Flakes" coming off the Great Red Spot have had some wondering if this epic storm is coming to an end. But observations and computer modeling show it's only getting stronger.

Saturn and Jupiter at dawn, early April 2021

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, March 26 – April 3

Fading Mars glows above orange Aldebaran high in the west after dark. Orion tilts into his spring posture, with his belt horizontal. Arcturus climbs up in the east.

Total solar eclipse 2019 in Chile

Astronomy and Society

Join Us in Planning for the Next "Great American Eclipse"

Are you a solar eclipse enthusiast with an organizational bent? An upcoming virtual workshop geared toward planning for the 2023 and 2024 events could be just the thing for you.

polarized emission around black hole

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Astronomers Detect Strong Magnetic Fields Around M87’s Black Hole

Event Horizon Telescope data support the idea that magnetic fields control how black holes feed and grow.

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