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This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

This Week's Amazing Sky

March 23, 2019
Few seem to realize that the Sun in April is as strong as it is in August, especially once we hit the middle of the month. Solar fear and confusion still abound. The marketing of ultrablocking sunscreens and special sun-protective clothing plays into these fears. I certainly got repeatedly surprised when I researched the Sun’s health effects. Sunlight Lifts Your Mood…
March 21, 2019
The Big Dipper is an old friend to most of us. Poetically, it is spring itself, the season of renewal. Just go outside in early evening, and you’ll see stars shaped in a dipper pattern high in the northeastern sky. Looming large in the night sky, the Big Dipper’s shape is mutating and will appear different in just a few thousand years, but it hasn’t changed a bit since we…
February 15, 2019
On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the full Moon reaches 2019’s closest approach to Earth. The media will call it a supermoon, astronomers will call it lunar perigee. Regardless of the name, it will be the nearest, largest, and brightest full Moon of the year—and will produce the strongest tides. This nearest full Moon of the year will reach its peak on Tuesday, February 19, at…
January 17, 2019
On Sunday evening, January 20, we’ll see the finest total eclipse of 2019, visible from all of North America. How long will the eclipse last? When is the eclipse visible? Here are the times for watching the eclipse on Sunday—and how it will all unfold. This event is definitely worth observing. Kids particularly love lunar eclipses, and remember them vividly their whole…
January 9, 2019
On Sunday, January 20, we’ll see the only total lunar eclipse of 2019—and the last one until 2021. Here’s what to look forward to. The “Super Blood Wolf Moon” Total Lunar Eclipse Yes, that’s really what this event is being called in the media (and yes, it is a mouthful). Let’s break the name down into bite-size pieces: Total Lunar Eclipse:…
December 26, 2018
Want to welcome 2019 in grand style? So happens, the year begins with an eye-catching celestial alignment that will light up the eastern sky at the first dawn of 2019. Watch the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury line up—and connect the dots! Here are Bob’s viewing tips. Three planets and the crescent Moon will create a string of pearls early New Year’s morning. Maybe it’…
December 19, 2018
Winter solstice 2018 brings a wonderful weekend of night sky wonders—a full Moon, a meteor shower, and a beautiful conjunction of planet Jupiter and Mercury. Here’s all you need to know. The winter solstice, of course, is one of the biggest and most ancient annual events. We also call it the December solstice, since December 21st marks the start of summer…
December 16, 2018
Let’s do something different, and mix sky-stuff with weird science! Ready? Here are seven strange science facts—about everything under the Sun from rainbows to our reflection in mirrors! Number 1. A rainbow has no independent reality. Sunlight and raindrops are not enough to create one. An observer is necessary for its existence, by standing exactly where the 42-degree refraction…
December 16, 2018
Twilight. The word evokes gorgeous colors. But what exactly is twilight? And did you know that there are three types? The Old Farmer’s Almanac now has a calculator that will tell you when twilight begins and ends for your location. Get ready for adventures in the Twilight Zone. That famous TV show would not have been a hit on Pluto. In fact, creatures on any known planet…
December 14, 2018
Comet 46P/Wirtanen is 2018’s brightest comet and comes closest to Earth on December 15–16, 2018—this weekend! As awesome as they can be, you can’t trust comets. We can always predict where they’ll be, but not how they will react with the Sun’s energy. So, the question is: Will it be an amazing sight or another bust? For a short background, Comet 46P/Wirtanen is…
November 30, 2018
Mars is brilliant at dinnertime. In mid-autumn, Mars is one of the sky’s brightest objects between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. Simply look left of where the sun sets for that brilliant orange “star.” You can’t miss it. We keep sending landers there, and interest in Martian colonies remains high—but why? True, Mars’ super-close visit happened four months ago, in late July, and,…
October 31, 2018
As you may have heard, China announced that their artificial Moon will be launched in 2020. No more night! Yes, they’re abolishing full darkness. It’s a bad idea but not a new one.  The idea is an enormous 80 foot mirror placed into a geosynchronous orbit where it will remain glued to the same spot in the sky. From its altitude of 22,300 miles it will focus sunlight…