Quantcast
This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

Never miss a full moon, eclipse, or meteor shower with reminders from the Almanac Daily newsletter.

This Week's Amazing Sky

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…
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 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 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…
April 27, 2018
What is the most distant object humans have ever seen in the known Universe? The latest record-holder is a galaxy that is about 13.4 billion light-years away! Or, is it? Something screwy is going on when we talk about distances in an our ever-expanding Universe. The Universe itself is roughly 13.8 billion years old, so this distant galaxy (MACS0647-D) is indeed…
April 12, 2018
Space is famous for zippy activity, like streaking meteors that sail through the night sky. But space has another face—a slow-and-easy side. In reality, Venus, the Moon, and many of our most beloved sky objects are as slow as molasses. What’s the slowest-moving planet? Slowest-spinning star? Read on for some fun space facts. What is the Slowest Planet Venus, which is…