Night Sky

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Ariane 44L rocket launched in 1992 creates fiery spectacle over Brazil

The body of Ariane 44L rocket launched in 1992 re-entered Earth's atmosphere over Brazil at around 21:46 UTC (18:46 LT) on March 16, 2021, two days after schedule. The event created spectacular fiery scenery above the Brazilian state of Para and was mistaken...

March 23, 2021

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Great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21

A rare great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will take place at 18:11 UTC on December 21, with the two planets passing just 6.1 arcminutes (about one-fifth the apparent width of the moon) of each other, as seen from Earth. Coincidentally, the December solstice is...

December 20, 2020

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2020 Geminid meteor shower to peak under a total solar eclipse on December 14

The 2020 Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak around December 14 and is likely to put the best light show at around 01:00 UTC, when its radiant point is highest in the sky. Another celestial event is set to occur on the same day as a total eclipse will be...

December 11, 2020

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Total solar eclipse of December 14, 2020

A total solar eclipse will take place at 16:13 UTC on December 14, 2020, and be visible from the South Pacific, Chile, Argentina, and the South Atlantic. Observers from southern South America, the Pacific, and those currently in Antarctica will experience a partial...

December 09, 2020

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Penumbral lunar eclipse of November 30, 2020

A penumbral lunar eclipse will take place on November 30, 2020, and be visible from Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the Americas. This lunar eclipse is followed two weeks later by a total solar eclipse on December 14, 2020. The instant of greatest eclipse...

November 28, 2020

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2020 Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight

The Perseid meteor shower -- one of the best and brightest of the year -- is set to peak in the late hours of Tuesday into Thursday, August 11 into 13. This is one of the most anticipated showers of the year, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. This year,...

August 11, 2020


Once in a lifetime: Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) shines bright, joins the ISS and noctilucent clouds - observing tips, live show

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) has survived its close encounter with the Sun and is currently observable from the northern hemisphere with the naked eye. To receive this celestial gift, get up before dawn, look to the NNE and see it before the Sun takes over, or wait a...

July 08, 2020

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Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) now seen by naked eye, set to make closest approach to Earth on July 23

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is set to make its closest approach to Earth on July 23, 2020, when it will pass at a distance of 0.69 AU. Some experienced observers under clear skies have already reported spotting the comet with the naked eye. The comet was discovered on...

July 07, 2020

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'Ring of Fire' annular solar eclipse to grace the skies soon after the solstice

An annular solar eclipse will take place on Sunday, June 21, 2020. This is one of the most breathtaking celestial events when the Moon partially obscures the Sun, allowing a "ring of fire" on its edges. The eclipse will start several hours after the...

June 19, 2020

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Powerful outburst from Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN)

Astronomers monitoring Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) spotted a powerful outburst from the comet on May 5. Such outbursts usually indicate a fragmentation, but scientists are hopeful that this could just be a volatile comet. The comet is approaching Earth and the Sun-- its...

May 08, 2020

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Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) rapidly brightening, now visible to naked eye

Approaching Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) has become bright enough that it is already visible to the naked eye. As of 14:30 UTC on April 30, 2020, the comet is 115 million km (71 million miles) away from Earth, with a magnitude of 6.0. The comet appears like a bright fuzz...

April 30, 2020

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Hubble telescope captures comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) crumbling into 25 pieces

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the sharpest view of Comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS disintegrating into pieces. About 30 fragments were identified on April 20, but just three days later on April 23, the telescope spotted only 25. "Their appearance...

April 29, 2020

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Lyrid meteor shower peaks April 21 to 22, viewing conditions nearly perfect this year

The Lyrid meteor shower will peak late Tuesday into Wednesday morning, April 21 to 22, 2020. The thin crescent Moon will allow observers to get a clear view of the event as there will be no obstruction. The shower comes after the so-called meteor drought that...

April 20, 2020

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Tracking down the comets - C/2020 F8 (SWAN), C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) and C/2017 T2 (PanSTARRS)

Although Comet Atlas (C/2019 Y4) continues fading and fragmenting, newly-found comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) has been found to be brightening firmly. Meanwhile, C/2017 T2 (PanSTARRS) is holding steady at 8th magnitude and a new Comet Atlas -- C/2019 Y1 -- discovered on...

April 17, 2020

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Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) disintegrates, at least three fragments recorded

Newly-discovered comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) has broken up before its much-anticipated show, with at least three fragments observed on Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12, 2020. ATLAS was discovered on December 28, 2019, in the constellation of Ursa Major. Over the...

April 13, 2020

night sky guide april 2020

Night Sky Guide for April 2020

April 1 - Moon at First Quarter - 10:21 UTC. The Moon will be prominent in the evening sky. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated. April 2 - M104 well placed for observation. The sombrero galaxy (M104, NGC 4594) will...

April 01, 2020

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Approaching comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) rapidly brightening-- may be visible to naked eye soon

A newly-discovered comet named C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) is now crossing the orbit of Mars as it makes its way toward the Sun. The object has been brightening so rapidly since its discovery on December 28, 2019, that some astronomers believe it will be visible to the naked...

March 26, 2020