Observing – Sky & Telescope

The essential guide to astronomy

FaviconAugust: Saturn & the Perseids 1 Aug 2022, 2:00 pm

August marks the return of the Perseid meteor shower — and as you’re looking out for shooting stars while listening to this month’s Sky Tour podcast, look for Saturn low in the southeast as soon as night begins to fall.

The post August: Saturn & the Perseids appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

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FaviconThis Week's Sky at a Glance, July 29 – August 6 29 Jul 2022, 5:57 am

As the Big Dipper dips and the Guardians of the Pole align one over the other, Saturn looms low in the southeast and the False Comet teases at its highest.

The post This Week's Sky at a Glance, July 29 – August 6 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconSolving an Earthshine Mystery 27 Jul 2022, 10:05 am

Something we take for granted about the crescent Moon's appearance may be nothing more than an optical illusion.

The post Solving an Earthshine Mystery appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconThis Week's Sky at a Glance, July 22 – 30 22 Jul 2022, 4:54 am

Bright Arcturus is still pretty high after dark, but as summer progresses, it moves down the western side of the evening sky. Its pale ginger-ale tint always helps identify it.

The post This Week's Sky at a Glance, July 22 – 30 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconThis Week's Sky at a Glance, July 15 – 23 15 Jul 2022, 11:58 am

The waning Moon says hi to late-night Saturn, the Teapot starts tilting, the Great Square thrusts up, and the Milky Way arches high.

The post This Week's Sky at a Glance, July 15 – 23 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

Astronomy & Observing News – Sky & Telescope

The essential guide to astronomy

FaviconHubble's Future in the Webb Era 3 Aug 2022, 9:49 am

Even though it's far past its warranty, Hubble is still proving its worth in this new era that includes the James Webb Space Telescope.

The post Hubble's Future in the Webb Era appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconAugust: Saturn & the Perseids 1 Aug 2022, 2:00 pm

August marks the return of the Perseid meteor shower — and as you’re looking out for shooting stars while listening to this month’s Sky Tour podcast, look for Saturn low in the southeast as soon as night begins to fall.

The post August: Saturn & the Perseids appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

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FaviconWhy Are Jupiter's Rings So Thin? 1 Aug 2022, 12:00 pm

Why does the biggest planet in the solar system have such flimsy rings? New research shows Jupiter's moons may be to blame.

The post Why Are Jupiter's Rings So Thin? appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconThin Red Lines: Webb Space Telescope Captures Star Creation on Grand Scale 30 Jul 2022, 12:00 pm

New imagery from the James Webb Space Telescope shows a nearby galaxy in a whole new light.

The post Thin Red Lines: Webb Space Telescope Captures Star Creation on Grand Scale appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconThis Week's Sky at a Glance, July 29 – August 6 29 Jul 2022, 5:57 am

As the Big Dipper dips and the Guardians of the Pole align one over the other, Saturn looms low in the southeast and the False Comet teases at its highest.

The post This Week's Sky at a Glance, July 29 – August 6 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

NASACast Video

NASACast combines the content of all the NASACast subject area podcasts into a single omnibus podcast. Here you'll find the latest news and features on NASA's missions as well as the popular "This Week @NASA" newsreel.

FaviconWhat's Up - December 2022 1 Dec 2022, 12:40 pm

Your evening planet highlights, including the disappearance of Mars, and the constellation Pegasus.

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FaviconThis Week @NASA, Nov. 18, 2022 18 Nov 2022, 2:34 pm

Artemis I Mega Rocket Launches Orion to Moon and more ...

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FaviconThis Week @NASA, Nov. 11, 2022 11 Nov 2022, 10:30 am

Artemis I Moon Rocket and Spacecraft Arrive at Launch Pad and more ...

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FaviconThis Week @NASA, Nov. 4, 2022 4 Nov 2022, 2:29 pm

Artemis I Moon Mission Still Targeting November Launch and more ...

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FaviconWhat's Up - November 2022 2 Nov 2022, 11:48 am

What's Up for November? A lunar eclipse, the moon and planets, and the Leonid meteors.

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StarDate Online - Your guide to the universe

FaviconOrion Rising 3 Dec 2022, 1:00 am

The longer, colder nights of late autumn bring one of the great skywatching treats of the year: the return of Orion to prime time. The hunter is in good view in the east and southeast by 9 o’clock, and climbs high across the sky later on.

The constellation’s most prominent feature is the hunter’s belt — a short line of three fairly bright stars. As Orion rises, the belt extends almost straight up from the horizon.

Two of the brightest and most impressive stars in all the night sky flank the belt. Orange Betelgeuse is to the left of the belt, with blue-white Rigel to the right.

Both stars are supergiants — they’re much bigger, heavier, and brighter than the Sun. Betelgeuse is the bigger of the two. If it took the Sun’s place in our own solar system, it would engulf half of the planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars — and perhaps even the next one out, Jupiter.

Such massive stars burn through the nuclear fuel in their cores in a hurry. Betelgeuse is only about 10 million years old, compared to four-and-a-half billion years for the Sun. Yet it’s already near the end of its life. Within the next couple of million years, it probably will explode as a supernova, briefly looking as bright as the full Moon.

Rigel is about the same age as Betelgeuse, so it may soon puff up and get redder, just as Betelgeuse has. It, too, then will explode as a supernova — briefly adding to the luster of beautiful Orion.
 

Script by Damond Benningfield

StarDate: 
Saturday, December 3, 2022
Teaser: 
Jumbo stars climb into view

FaviconOrion Rising 3 Dec 2022, 1:00 am

The longer, colder nights of late autumn bring one of the great skywatching treats of the year: the return of Orion to prime time. The hunter is in good view in the east and southeast by 9 o’clock and climbs high across the sky later on.

FaviconStellar Zaps 2 Dec 2022, 1:00 am

There’s no way to dive into the heart of a star to learn what’s going on. So scientists are creating their own stars here on Earth. The most recent experiment is creating the conditions found in the most common stars in the galaxy.

Scientists have been using a facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque for years. It builds up a massive charge of electricity, which it discharges in an instant. That creates extremely high temperatures and pressures. Astronomers have used that to simulate conditions in several types of stars.

The current experiment is using the National Ignition Facility — the world’s most powerful laser. It’s at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. It generates almost 200 laser beams, which focus on a target area the size of a pencil eraser.

Scientists are using the lasers to create the conditions inside red dwarf stars. They account for more than two-thirds of all the stars in the galaxy — including our closest neighbor star. Yet they’re so small and faint that not a single one is visible to the unaided eye.

Conditions inside these stars are poorly understood. But they have a big impact on conditions at the surface. Many red dwarfs produce huge eruptions of radiation and charged particles. That could make it impossible for life to survive on any planets that orbit them. So understanding what’s happening inside red dwarfs can tell us a lot about whether anything could live near them.
 

Script by Damond Benningfield

Keywords:

StarDate: 
Friday, December 2, 2022
Teaser: 
Making stars here on Earth

FaviconAuriga 2 Dec 2022, 1:00 am

The constellation Auriga, the charioteer, is low in the northeast at nightfall and passes directly overhead around midnight. Its brightest star is yellow-orange Capella, one of the brighter stars in the night sky.

FaviconMoon and Jupiter 1 Dec 2022, 1:00 am

The biggest moon in the solar system is an ocean world. It may have as much liquid water as all of Earth’s oceans combined. Don’t start looking for beachfront property, though — the ocean is buried below a hundred miles of ice.

Ganymede is a moon of Jupiter. It’s about 3300 miles in diameter — half again the size of our moon. And it’s about three times farther from Jupiter than the Moon is from Earth. Some of its surface is covered by impact craters, while the rest features long, deep grooves.

Ganymede is the only moon in the entire solar system that produces its own magnetic field. And that’s key to the discovery of its buried ocean. As Ganymede rotates, the salty ocean creates an imprint on the moon’s magnetic field. The Galileo spacecraft measured hints of that as it orbited Jupiter. But it got only brief glimpses as it sped past Ganymede.

Hubble Space Telescope got a better idea by looking at Ganymede’s aurora — like the northern lights here on Earth. Interactions between the magnetic fields of Ganymede and Jupiter cause the aurora to rock back and forth. The size of that rocking motion hints at the internal ocean, and even provides some of the details about it — a deep ocean on a giant moon.

Jupiter is close to our Moon tonight. It looks like a brilliant star. Binoculars reveal Ganymede and Jupiter’s three other big moons. They look like tiny stars lined up near the solar system’s biggest planet.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield

StarDate: 
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Teaser: 
Diving into a deep ocean

ESOcast HD

ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO, the European Southern Observatory. Here we explore the Universe's ultimate frontier.

FaviconHeaviest Element yet Detected in an Exoplanet Atmosphere (ESOcast 257 Light) 13 Oct 2022, 8:00 am

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, barium has been detected in the atmosphere of two exoplanets.

FaviconHot Gas Bubble Swirling Around our Supermassive Black Hole (ESOcast 256 Light) 22 Sep 2022, 8:00 am

Using ALMA, astronomers have found a hot bubble of gas that swirls around Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, at 30% of the speed of light.

Favicon'Black Hole Police' Spot Extragalactic Black Hole (ESOcast 255 Light) 18 Jul 2022, 11:00 am

The black hole police, a team of astronomers known for debunking black hole discoveries, reported finding a "needle in a haystack". After searching nearly 1000 stars outside our galaxy, they found that one of them has a stellar-mass black hole as a companion. This short video summarises the discovery.

FaviconWhat it Takes to Image a Black Hole 12 May 2022, 9:07 am

What does it take to capture an image of the black hole at the centre of our galaxy? This video explains how the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) works, and how astronomers managed to create one massive Earth-sized telescope big enough to “see” at the edge of black holes.

FaviconMicronovae – a New Kind of Stellar Explosion (ESOcast 254 Light) 20 Apr 2022, 11:00 am

Astronomers have discovered a new type of explosion occurring on white dwarf stars in two-star systems. This video summarises the discovery.

HD - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

High-definition (HD) videos from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory feature the latest news on space and science findings from JPL and NASA. Topics include discoveries made by spacecraft studying planets in our solar system, including Mars, Saturn and our home planet, Earth. Missions also study stars and galaxies in our universe.

FaviconWhat's Up - August 2020 31 Jul 2020, 3:00 am



What are some skywatching highlights in August 2020? See the Moon posing with various planets throughout the month, plus catch the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower.



FaviconNASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Launches With Your #CountdownToMars 30 Jul 2020, 3:00 am



To get ready for the launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, NASA invited the public to join a global, collective #CountdownToMars project.



FaviconNASA's Perseverance Rover Launches to Mars 30 Jul 2020, 3:00 am



NASA’s Perseverance Rover began its long journey to Mars today by successfully launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a ULA Atlas V rocket.



FaviconMission Overview: NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover 27 Jul 2020, 3:00 am



NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is heading to the Red Planet to search for signs of ancient life, collect samples for future return to Earth and help pave the way for human exploration.



FaviconGetting Perseverance to the Launch Pad 22 Jul 2020, 3:00 am



In February 2020, NASA’s Perseverance Rover began its long journey to Mars by first traveling across the United States.