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This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

This Week's Amazing Sky

August 8, 2022
Seen any shooting stars lately? Worried about being clobbered by a meteor? Let’s talk about the chances of a meteor hitting Earth—and one of us! For reasons no one can explain, meteors are mostly crammed into the final five months of the year. The most famous is the Perseids, which peak in August. These “falling stars” are mostly the size of apple seeds. But larger ones are out…
August 8, 2022
Discover 10 amazing facts about planet Venus, our neighbor! We call her our sister planet, goddess of love, “morning star,” and—apparently—UFO! Read on… Planet Venus is always brilliant and shines with a steady silvery light. For almost all of 2022, our brightest planet is a “morning star” in the eastern sky just before day breaks. Venus will disappear into the Sun’s glare at…
August 5, 2022
This year, the great Perseid meteor shower (peaking August 11–13) will be marred by the sky-brightening mischief of the full Moon. So we may as well amuse ourselves by making the Moon the scapegoat for other problems, too! Read on—and get a couple tips to boost your chances of seeing meteors despite the Moon’s interference. Moon Myths It’s not a weird idea to think that…
August 3, 2022
August brings us the last supermoon of the year. What is a supermoon, exactly? We agree that it’s a catchy word—and anything that encourages us to explore the night sky is positive—but let’s also get our facts straight. What Is a Supermoon? Generally speaking, a supermoon is a full moon that appears larger than a typical full moon due to it being closer to Earth.…
July 27, 2022
We’ve all heard of the Big Bang Theory. One of the goals of the new James Webb Telescope is to reveal what happened after the Big Bang. Why do we need to understand the Big Bang? And how will the Webb telescope help us understand the secrets of the origins of the universe—and of life itself? July’s first-ever James Webb Telescope images, released just a couple of weeks ago, showed…
June 27, 2022
You finish dinner at a restaurant and it’s suddenly pouring. You gaze at your car parked not so far away. Is it better to walk or run in the rain? Believe it or not, scientists have debated this for years.  If you run you get there faster, so less rain hits you.  But meanwhile you’re slamming more frontwise into the droplets, making them preferentially…
June 24, 2022
In early summer, night falls at its latest hour—around 9:30 to 10 PM. Not a single bright planet is around. Instead, high in the east shines summer’s brightest star—the famous Vega. It’s the “candle” by which brightness is measured. Learn fascinating facts about Vega, a favorite of stargazers and astronomers. Away from city lights in mid-July, one could see as many as 2,500…
May 24, 2022
This month, we saw the first-ever photograph of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. We had seen stars orbiting around something invisible and massive but this image was the first direct visual evidence of our black hole. But what are we really seeing in this image? Bob Berman shares insight. As you may have heard, astronomers unveiled the first-ever image…
May 24, 2022
Heads up! On Monday night, May 30, we may witness a new meteor shower and impressive display of shooting stars, thanks to a comet that’s breaking apart! Will a newcomer—the Tau Herculids showers—make an epic appearance? Bob Berman fills us in on the latest astronomy news. Some words in English are frustratingly ambiguous. “Earthquake” can mean a tremor that no one can feel or a city-…
May 5, 2022
On Sunday night, May 15, a gorgeous total eclipse of the Moon will sweep across the continent. It’s especially welcome since it’s been years since we’ve had a true total lunar eclipse. Get the “real” start time and more viewing tips. For the last couple of years, every lunar eclipse has been of the penumbral type, meaning the Moon failed to even momentarily touch the edge of…
April 25, 2022
This weekend marks the new Moon stage of the lunar cycle, which means we will be viewing crescents until then. Seen in twilight rather than full darkness, and always low in the sky, the crescent may be the Moon’s most surreal phase. Learn more. The new Moon phase is this Saturday, April 30 here in North America. See your local Moon phase time. Until then, we enjoy a waning crescent all…
April 22, 2022
Welcome the summer solstice with fun 10-question solstice quiz. Then read Bob Berman’s seven cool (or, is it “hot”?) solstice facts to celebrate the start of summer! The solstice on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth; only our clocks are different. In the eastern United States, the solstice occurs at 5:14 AM EDT (2:14 AM PDT). Sure…