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This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

This Week's Amazing Sky

October 23, 2018
The Sun is setting earlier and earlier: It’s really dark. The leaves are dropping quickly now, so barren branches now tremble in the wind. And yes, even that wind is generally stronger during the cold months. Gather round the campfire. It’s the perfect time to tell blood curdling tales of the sky’s sinister side. Ramping up the scare-factor is that backyard sky-…
October 15, 2018
Would you like to find not one, but two black holes? You’ve come to the right place. That place is your own backyard. All you have to do is look up at around 7:30 p.m. any time during the next week. What is a Black Hole? A black hole in space is an object that has so much material packed into a small region that not even light can escape its gravitational pull!…
September 15, 2018
Over the upcoming days, see the Moon visit four bright planets—for the last great conjunctions of this year! Most notably, mark your calendars for September 17 when the Moon shines close to Saturn’s upper left as darkness falls. The Harvest Moon Sure, everyone will focus on the Moon later this month. When it’s full on the 24th, it’ll be the Harvest Moon. …
August 30, 2018
Want to be amazed? Look skyward on the next clear night. With your own eyes, you’ll be able to see which way you, Earth, the Sun, and the entire galaxy are moving in space. You don’t need dark country skies for this. Being in a city is okay. But you do need an open swath of sky, so get out in the open somewhere, and do this at 9 p.m. Nothing is Stationary in…
August 16, 2018
Mars remains blazingly brilliant in the night sky. The real draw now is that it’s part of a rare display above our heads. In mid-August, 2018, four planets and two famous stars have formed a rainbow of gemstones. Look for Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in a line! Planet Viewing Tips  It’s easy to see this for yourself if you can get to a place with an…
August 7, 2018
An unusually good meteor shower is happening. The reliable summer Perseid meteor shower is unfolding under ideal conditions: A new moon will keep skies ideally black, plus there’s a rare insurance day this time around. A Weekend Shower The display usually peaks on a single night, but this year, the spectacle will unfold on both Saturday and Sunday night (August…
July 26, 2018
We’re about to see one of the truly great sky events of 2018. First, Mars’ best opposition in 15 years happens July 26–27. Second, Mars comes closest to Earth on July 30–31. And finding it requires no sky knowledge. It’s extremely bright and very red! Mars Opposition In the Martian opposition, Mars is aligned with the Sun with Earth right in the middle. This…
July 22, 2018
Discover 10 amazing facts about planet Venus, our neighbor! We call her sister planet, goddess of love, “morning star,” and—apparently—UFO! Read on … Venus will not be visible in Earth’s sky in early July, 2019.  Like Earth, it orbits the Sun but it’s racing ahead of us and will soon be behind the Sun. We’ll see her again as a “morning star” in September.…
July 4, 2018
On Independence Day, the same scene will be repeated around the country. Crowds will gather as twilight deepens, awaiting darkness and the start of the fireworks. It’s the annual occasion when the maximum number of people are gazing idly up at the sky. This year it brings a special opportunity. In most places, figure enough darkness will have fallen for the fireworks…
June 26, 2018
It’s a truly extraordinary conjunction. Saturn reaches opposition—shining at its biggest and brightest for the whole year—next to the Full Strawberry Moon on Wednesday night. It’s cool, it’s amazing, it’s in-your-face, and it happens Wednesday, June 27.  The Honey Moon of June First, let’s talk about June’s full Moon. You’ll note that many…
June 11, 2018
Keep your eye on Venus tonight! Our wonderful Evening Star Apparition is at its best in years. Here’s how to enjoy Venus through the summer! Get started this weekend (June 15–16, 2018), as Venus hovers near the crescent Moon in the beautiful twilight sky. Venus will shine brilliantly in the northwest the first few hours after sunset. It’s not high up,…
May 16, 2018
Sunspots are disappearing more rapidly than usual as the Sun prepares to enter the solar minimum. The last time the absence of sunspots was so prolonged was the “Little Ice Age,” which happened back in the 1600s. Will Earth experience another cold snap? First, understand that the Sun normally follows sunspot cycles of roughly 11 years. Think of sunspots as storms…