planets

4 Sky Events This Week: Ghostly Glows and Rocky Worlds

Ethereal apparitions from the dusty inner solar system this week seem certain to delight sky-watchers.  Zodiacal lights. Starting Monday, March 24, and continuing through the week, keen-eyed sky-watchers in the mid-northern latitudes will witness the ghostly glow of the zodiacal lights, ...

6 Sky Events This Week: Leo’s Heart and Goddess of Love

Just in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the silvery moon guides sky-watchers to a stellar heart, just as the goddess of love shines at her brightest this week. Moon joins Jupiter. Check out the king of planets after nightfall ...

Newly Discovered Planet Wobbles as It Spins

A newly discovered planet wobbles as it spins, astronomers say, though it’s in no danger of falling down. The planet, dubbed Kepler-413b, wobbles as it spins around on its north-south axis circling its stars. The wobbles have altered ...

Monster Storms Raging on Failed Stars

Hurricanes as large as planets may sweep across the face of brown dwarfs—failed stars bigger than planets but smaller than real stars. A new study looks at 44 brown dwarfs using the infrared camera of NASA’s Spitzer space telescope. ...

Sneak-Peek: Top 5 Sky Events of 2014

  The New Year promises a pair of lunar disappearing acts and a potential surprise meteor shower, among other celestial delights. While scores of amazing astronomical phenomena are in the offing, here are our picks for sky-watching events worth circling on ...

Stunning Photo: Luna Snuggles With Goddess of Love

The waxing crescent moon appears to play peek-a-boo with the planet Venus through a natural rock arch in this dramatic snapshot taken in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Sky-watchers this week got to see Earth’s lone natural ...

Cassini Photo: Stunning New Views of Saturn’s Hexagon Storm

NASA has released this week the best views yet of a bizarre hexagon-shaped cloud that blankets Saturn’s north polar region, courtesy of the Cassini spacecraft.  First seen by the Voyager probe during its flyby in the early 1980s, this ...

MAVEN Launches for the Red Planet

When MAVEN fires its thrusters and settles into Martian orbit next September, it will join a celebrity list of spacecraft already studying the red planet. Its launch today from Cape Canaveral, Florida, was a major step toward that goal, one ...

7 Sky Events This Week: Double Comet Flybys and Lunar Encounters

Comets dominate the pre-dawn skies and their flybys of neighboring planets offer observing challenges for early bird sky-gazers.  Comet ISON Brightens. Late last week Comet ISON began to wake up and now shines ten times brighter than it did just ...

6 Sky Events This Week: Taurids, Lagoon, and Neptune

Sky-watchers will see a sprinkling of shooting stars, bask under autumn’s brightest star pattern, and take a dip in a cosmic lagoon. Taurid meteors. Look toward the southeast sky on Monday, November 4, and into the following morning to catch ...

5 Sky Events This Week: Cosmic Bull’s-Eye and Eskimo Nebula

While Venus shines bright after sunset in the southwest, and Jupiter rises high late nights in the south, the moon dances with planets and stars this week. Orionid stragglers: If clouds kept you from viewing the peak of the Orionids ...