stars

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, which will appear about one to two hours after local dusk in the western sky....

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend. Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below! Hour 1 – Having a partner can help competitors survive...

Violent comet crashes are occurring around a star easily visible to sky-watchers, astronomers report. The star is one already known to harbor a burgeoning solar system. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Telescope in northern Chile announced this week that they have found a giant clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disk...

A crescent moon snuggles up to the innermost planets this week, while sky-watchers will also see mythical twins reveal two stellar wonders. Zodiacal lights. With the moon out of the early evening sky this week, ideal sky conditions prevail for hunting down the elusive zodiacal lights. This ethereal glow across the sky is caused by sunlight...

Some jumbo stars commit stellar suicide in surprisingly lumpy explosions, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists led by Caltech’s Brian Grefenstette looked at Cassiopeia A, a supernova that first appeared in nighttime skies around the year 1670. The supernova’s wispy remnants rest some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, stretched across some 59 trillion miles (95 trillion...

The ultimate age barrier has been broken. The oldest living star in the entire universe may have been discovered—one formed only one or two hundred million years after the Big Bang itself. The ancient star, born some 13.6 billion years ago, bests the previous record handily, by 400 million years, and offers a unique view into what...

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 on Monday, February 10, as Jupiter pairs up with the waxing, gibbous moon in the southeastern...

A glimpse of a large asteroid comes to delight sky-watchers this month, silently sailing its way through a cosmic bull’s horns and past a famous supernova remnant. In the next few weeks, the asteroid Herculina, the 532nd asteroid to be discovered, will glow in the sky at a magnitude of brightness of about 10. That should...

From exploding stars, barnstorming asteroids, and a buzzing beehive, the starry skies this week are filled with cosmic wonders to behold. Supernova Update: A surprise star exploded in a spiral galaxy 12 million light years from Earth and appears to be slowly brightening in the evening skies. The Cigar Galaxy or Messier 82 is host...

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. The astronomers report that they recorded periodic changes in brightness and saw the largest variations ever...

  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 your calendar for 2014. 1. Total Eclipse of the Moon This year sky-watchers will...

As festivities kick off the New Year, sky-watchers will revel in nights filled with shooting stars, the king of planets shining like a beacon, and grand planetary spectacles blooming in the heavens. Great Orion Nebula. With the moon reaching a new phase for New Year’s Eve, December 31, the dark skies are perfect for hunting...

Sky-watchers this week can follow Earth’s lone natural satellite as it glides across the sky and poses with some of the most well known celestial treasures. Moon and Pisces.  After nightfall on Monday, December 9,  look for the first quarter moon to hang just below the “Circlet,” the most easily recognizable part of the constellation...