A penumbral lunar eclipse in the early morning hours of November 30th marks the start of the last eclipse season for 2020.
Howling at the Moon Sunday night? Sunday night into Monday morning November 30th features not only the penultimate Full Moon for 2020, but the final lunar eclipse of the year, with a penumbral eclipse of the Moon.
Continue reading “Catch Monday Morning’s Subtle Lunar Eclipse”
Wow. A low-flying space rock set a record last Friday (appropriately, the 13th), when 2020 VT4 passed just under 400 kilometers (250 miles) over the Southern Pacific.
Continue reading “A Record Close Shave: Asteroid 2020 VT4 Just Skimmed by Earth”
Following the Leonid meteors in 2020.
We witnessed an amazing astronomical spectacle in the early morning skies over the Kuwaiti desert in November 1998. That year, the Leonid meteors put on a spectacular display, topping an estimated 1,000 meteors per hour near sunrise. On most years, however, the Lion whimpers with a few paltry meteors per hour, but once every 33 years or so, the mighty Leonids can roar with an amazing display reaching storm level proportions.
Continue reading “From a Tempest to a Trickle: Prospects for the 2020 Leonid Meteor Shower”
Comet C/2020 S3 Erasmus ‘may’ end out the cometary cavalcade for 2020.
Ready for one more comet for 2020? Thus far, this year has been a memorable one for comet watchers, with a steady stream of binocular fuzzball comets, crowned by the amazing sight of naked eye comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE this past summer. 2020 cometary alumni has also included comets F8 SWAN, P1 NEOWISE, and M3 ATLAS. Now, newly discovered Comet C/2020 S3 Erasmus takes center stage.
Continue reading “Enter Comet S3 Erasmus: A Bright Comet For November”
The final Blue Moon of the decade this weekend rounds out October 2020.
Halloween. It’s not only a great time to dress up in ghoulish garb going from house to house, but a great time for some (in 2020, socially-distanced) sidewalk astronomy. This year also offers up a special trick-or-treat event, as the second Full Moon of October falls on the very last day of the month.
Continue reading “Boo! A Halloween Blue Moon”
Two more comets – 88P Howell and M3 ATLAS – are worth scouting the sky for into November 2020.
If you’re like us, you’ve been at taking advantage of every clear night during quarantine to get out and observe the night sky. Thankfully, 2020 has thus far been a ‘comet year,’ with a steady string of binocular comets, led by bright comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE this summer. Fall is seeing another surge in comets topping +10th magnitude. Late October sees a brief dawn apparition of Comet C/2020 P1 NEOWISE and now, two other comets grace the dawn and dusk skies.
Continue reading “Tales of Two Fall Comets: 88P Howell and M3 ATLAS”
The Mercury-bound BepiColombo spacecraft will observe Venus during tonight’s pass, on the hunt for phosphine and sulfur-dioxide.
The joint Japanese/European Space Agency’s BepiColombo spacecraft makes a scheduled pass near Venus tonight, while the cloud-shrouded planet has been very much in the news.
Continue reading “BepiColombo Mercury Mission to Make First Venus Flyby Tonight”
Comet P1 NEOWISE will make a brief dawn appearance for northern hemisphere observers in late October/early November.
So, how about Comet F3 NEOWISE this summer? 2020 saw the rapid appearance of one of the best northern hemisphere comets in recent memory, and the first good comet for us up north for the 21st century, as F3 NEOWISE graced early morning skies, and transitioned to a fine dusk apparition for an encore performance in the last half of July.
F3 NEOWISE reminded us that all comets are worth keeping tabs on… just in case. But wait, there’s more. The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) caught another intriguing object on August 2, 2020 as part of its extended sky survey mission: Comet C/2020 P1 NEOWISE is set to become a fine binocular object in late October and early November.
Continue reading “Comet P1 NEOWISE Makes a Brief Late October Appearance”
Check out this stunning new deep-sky panoramic, and a new light-weight ‘smartscope,’ courtesy of Vaonis.
Smartscopes are coming into their own as a viable and exciting new facet of amateur astronomy. We’ve recently reviewed Unistellar’s evScope, and Vaonis’s Stellina telescope. Both are compact, smartphone-controlled telescopes that put simple deep-sky imaging within the user’s grasp.
Now, Vaonis is upping their game. The company recently released a sneak peek at a new upgrade to Stellina’s capabilities, and a new Kickstarter for a compact, lightweight version of the telescope, known as Vespera.
Continue reading “An Amazing Sky Mosaic Courtesy of Stellina…and a New Telescope from Vaonis”
Grab your telescope: when it comes to astronomy, 2020 saved the best for last, with a fine opposition season for the planet Mars. In 2020, the Red Planet reaches opposition next month on October 13th.
Continue reading “Our Complete Guide to Mars Opposition Season 2020”