Geminid Meteors Peak December 13-14, 2014

The Geminid meteor shower will be at its best after dark on Saturday, December 13 and before dawn on Sunday, December 14, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

Leonid Meteor Shower Best Views Before Dawn November 17, 2014

A “streaky” meteor shower will be at its best before dawn on Monday, November 17, according to the editors of StarDate magazine. Unfortunately, this won’t be one of its better years, as the partially illuminated Moon will wash out some of the meteors. Even so, the Leonid meteor shower should produce a “shooting star” every few minutes.

Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, October 23, 2014

The afternoon sky will get a little darker than normal for most of the United States Thursday. That’s because there’s a partial solar eclipse, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

Mars to Have Comet Close Encounter Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mars is about to dodge a big snowball — a comet that will swing just 82,000 miles above the planet’s surface on Sunday, according to the editors of StarDate magazine. That’s just a third of the distance between Earth and the Moon, so it’s quite a close call. Comet Siding Spring will not be visible from Earth with the unaided eye, but it will be a spectacular sight under the dark Martian sky. It could even spawn a short but brilliant meteor shower caused by the dust grains plunging into the Martian atmosphere.

Total Lunar Eclipse Before Dawn Wednesday, October 8, 2014

American skywatchers get a rare treat early October 8 — the second total lunar eclipse of the year, according to the editors of StarDate magazine. The entire “total” phase of the eclipse is visible across all but a narrow strip of the East Coast.

Total Lunar Eclipse Before Dawn on Tuesday, April 15

A total lunar eclipse will grace skies across the United States several hours before dawn on Tuesday, April 15, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

Gemini 4

CAPCOM: Gemini 4, Hawaii capcom. We just had word from Houston — we’re ready to have you get out whenever you’re ready.

Today it’s almost routine — it happens every few weeks. Just a few years into the Space Age, though, no American astronaut had yet left the comfort and safety of his ship. But 50 years ago today, that changed. Ed White stepped outside his Gemini 4 spacecraft and floated into the history books.

WHITE: Okay, my feet are out....Okay, I’m out...

Moon and Antares

The full Moon arcs low across the southern sky tonight. It’s accompanied by bright Antares, the heart of Scorpius, the scorpion. Antares is to the right of the Moon as night falls.

If you look at the Moon with your eyes alone, you can pick out quite a few features — mostly the dark volcanic plains known as “seas,” plus a few prominent impact craters. Telescopes and spacecraft have revealed thousands more features: craters, canyons, mountains, and others. They’ve even revealed some features that have been buried from view for eons.

Moon and Saturn

You’d think that after centuries of plotting the motions of the planets, astronomers would know the position of each world in our solar system down to the last millimeter. But that’s not quite the case — especially for the worlds of the outer solar system. The positions of those planets can be off by miles.

But thanks to a sort of interplanetary GPS, they’ve narrowed down the position of Saturn to a single mile.

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