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One explosion begets another

Family Fun with Sky Watching

Fireworks, Planets, Comets, a Nova — July's Got it All!

July's a busy month for skywatching. Not only are five bright planets in view, but three comets and a newly-discovered nova are also observable. And it all starts with a bang on Independence Day.

Moon

What is a Supermoon? Facts vs. Fiction

The perpetuation of the supermoon myth is mostly motivated by desire for publicity. But much of what we call the supermoon is just our eyes playing tricks on us.

Planets

Ice Giants: Neptune and Uranus

Spot Uranus and Neptune, and relive the original discoveries.

How to see 5 planets at once

Celestial News & Events

Get Up Early, See Five Visible Planets at Once!

Over the next two weeks, for the first time in more than a decade, you can see all of the naked-eye planets — from Mercury to Saturn — together in the predawn sky.

Mars with strange weather

Celestial News & Events

Brightest Mars in Six Years

Mars is making its nearest and brightest appearance in the night sky since the end of 2007.

Comet 209P on May 24, 2014

Celestial News & Events

Catch a Comet Buzzing Earth

On Thursday, May 29th, Comet 209P/LINEAR will pass just 5 million miles (8 million km) from Earth, one of the closest comet approaches in history.

Celestial Objects to Observe

Jupiter Facts: Big, Bright, and Beautiful

The King of Planets reached opposition in the first half of January but it's still big and bright, a captivating sight no matter how you look at it.

Celestial News & Events

Ceres and Vesta in 2014

The two brightest asteroids are very close to each other in the sky in 2014, fitting in a single field of view through binoculars and some telescopes.

Celestial News & Events

Mercury's Best Show of 2014

Mercury puts on its best show of the year for mid-northern latitudes around the end of January.

Comet Lovejoy on November 30th

Celestial News & Events

Lovely Comet Lovejoy

Comet ISON has come and gone, but lovely Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) is still going strong. It is now at or near peak brightness, and well placed in the Northern Hemisphere's predawn sky.

Solar System

The Next New Meteor Shower

Astronomers confirm that debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR should create a sky show on May 24, 2014 — but it looks less likely that a “storm” is in the works.

Comet Lovejoy

Celestial News & Events

The Other Great Morning Comet

While Comet ISON is brightening rapidly, Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) is far more impressive right now, and also much better placed in the sky. It's shown here passing Messier 44, the Beehive Cluster.

Celestial News & Events

Triple Shadow Transit across Jupiter Tonight

Triple shadow transits, where three moons cross the face of Jupiter, happen only once or twice a decade. Catch the show tonight.

Celestial News & Events

A Night to Howl at the Moon

You can gawk, study, sketch, image, or just howl. No matter how you do it, head outside on October 12th to celebrate International Observe the Moon Night.

Celestial News & Events

The Quest for Zodiacal Light

The first half of October 2013 is a good chance for early risers to catch the zodiacal light, the faint eastern glow preceding dawn.

Celestial News & Events

Equinox Arrives September 22nd

Although many of us are already seeing seasonal changes, autumn for the Northern Hemisphere officially begins on Sunday, September 22nd, at 20:44 Universal Time. But why is the time of the equinox so specific? S&T's editors explain.

Celestial News & Events

Catch a "Shooting Star"

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower ramps up in late July, and you already have everything needed to enjoy the show: your eyes.

Celestial News & Events

The Ultimate New-Moon Sighting

A French astrophotographer used luck and some special gear to capture a razor-thin lunar crescent precisely at the moment of New Moon on July 8th.

Celestial News & Events

Now Playing: A Huge Sunspot Group

Cycle 24 hasn't offered much in the way of solar fireworks, but right now a large group of sunspots is front and center on the Sun's disk for your viewing enjoyment.

Celestial News & Events

This Weekend's Twilight Sky Gathering

The Moon, Jupiter, Aldebaran, and two naked-eye star clusters adorn the western twilight this weekend, April 12–14. Spread the word, and grab your camera.

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