StarDate 7/10/2014: Mars And SpicaA bright star and a brighter planet are staging a beautiful encounter in the evening sky. They’re quite close together tonight, and will pass even closer over the next few nights.
StarDate 7/9/2014: A Glittering Test Subject In The Summer SkyOver the decades, when astronomers wanted a subject for testing new techniques for studying the stars, they frequently turned to Vega, the brightest star of Lyra, the harp.
StarDate: Feeling the Heat
StarDate 7/3/2014: Looking For Fresh IdeasJupiter’s moon Europa is one of the most intriguing bodies in the solar system. Its icy crust appears to cover a global ocean that could be many miles deep.
StarDate 7/2/2014: Pitching Ideas For New MissionsDozens of spacecraft are keeping their eyes and ears on the universe, and more are on the way. But it usually takes years from the time a mission is first proposed until it flies in space — and a lot of good candidates never make it.
StarDate: Cygnus Rising
StarDate: Serpens SouthA star cluster in the constellation Serpens blazes with the fires of dozens of young stars. And it’s not that far away — perhaps 1300 light-years or so. That should make it an easy target for most telescopes. Yet until a few years ago, no one knew it even existed.
StarDate: Moon and Venus— A Brilliant Morning Encounter Early risers are in for a skywatching treat at first light Tuesday morning — a close pairing of the crescent Moon and the planet Venus. Venus looks like a dazzling star just to the left or upper left of the Moon.
StarDate: Summer Solstice— Plotting The Sun's Motions Summer arrives tomorrow in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun stands farthest north for the entire year. It's also the longest day day of the year with 14 hours of daylight in the U.S.
StarDate 6/18/2014: The Spectacular Death Of A Giant StarThere’s little doubt that the larger star in the system known as Eta Carinae will soon expire — and in spectacular fashion. But just how spectacular remains uncertain.
StarDate: Eta Carinae One of the most intriguing star systems in the galaxy may be about to get a lot more interesting.
StarDate: Cosmic HailstonesSpace rocks hit our planet all the time. Most of them burn up in the atmosphere, but a few hit the ground. And most of those are unseen — they hit the oceans or deserts or other uninhabited regions. But like the one in New Zealand, a few have witnesses.
StarDate: MenkentIf you judge by the layout of the night sky, you might think that centaurs roamed across every field and mountain in ancient Greece. That’s because these mythological beasts are represented by not one, but two constellations created by the Greeks.
StarDate: Evidence Of Life In A Rock From Mars There’s no doubt that Mars was once much warmer and wetter than it is today — a fairly comfortable home for life. Stardate looks at the evidence of life in a rock on the red planet.
StarDate 6/5/2014: Rebuilding Astronomical HistoryOne hundred eighteen years ago, a team of draft horses labored up a hill west of Flagstaff, Arizona. Their cargo was a 32-foot steel telescope tube commissioned by astronomer Percival Lowell.