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Close encounter between the Moon and Jupiter on Monday night (Jan. 21, 2013)

Jan 18 2013 - 12:05pm

BY AMY SAYLE

Be sure to look up Monday night (Jan. 21, 2013) to catch a close encounter of the Moon with Jupiter.

The view should be spectacular anytime that Monday evening, but to view these two objects at their closest, go out around 11:30 p.m. The waxing gibbous Moon and brilliantly shining Jupiter will be less than 1 degree apart. That’s less than the width of your pinky finger when you hold it all the way out, at arm’s length.

Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight (Dec. 13/14, 2012)

Dec 3 2012 - 12:11pm

BY AMY SAYLE

One of the best meteor showers of the year—the Geminid meteor shower—peaks tonight (Thursday 12/13/12).

Although meteors are sometimes called “shooting stars,” they aren’t stars. The streaks of light are created when bits of cosmic debris are vaporized in Earth’s atmosphere. In the case of the Geminids, the debris has been left by a small asteroid, 3200 Phaethon. Every year around this time, Earth’s orbit takes us through this stream of particles.

When to look for the Geminid meteors:

2012: The Maya Mystery

Nov 15 2012 - 12:13pm

BY KAREN KORNEGAY

This is a liveblog that I wrote during a free public lecture by Dr. Anthony Aveni on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill. Dr. Aveni's lecture explored scientific research countering predictions that the world will end in December 2012. These predictions are based in part on the fact that the Maya calendar ends in December 2012.

Two bright sights tomorrow morning (Oct. 3, 2012): Venus/Regulus plus the ISS

Oct 2 2012 - 12:24pm

BY AMY SAYLE

Will you be up before dawn tomorrow morning (Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012)? If you have clear skies, step outside for two interesting sights:

FAQs about Jordan Lake skywatching sessions

Sep 12 2012 - 12:28pm

BY AMY SAYLE

What happens at Morehead's skywatching sessions at Jordan Lake?

Lining up in the sky: Saturn, Mars, Spica

Aug 13 2012 - 10:45am

BY AMY SAYLE

An interesting line-up appears in the sky the next two evenings. Tonight (8/13/12) and tomorrow (8/14/12) three bright objects—Saturn, Mars, Spica—form a nearly straight line.

Remembering Sally Ride? Remember Jerrie Cobb, too.

Jul 23 2012 - 11:01am

BY KAREN KORNEGAY

This week, Dr. Sally Ride died from pancreatic cancer. In 1983, Dr. Ride was the first American woman to fly in space, becoming a role model for girls who wanted to pursue careers in science, mathematics and aeronautics.

What many people don't know is that the first American woman in space could have been -- and perhaps should have been -- Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb, who was recruited by NASA for its astronaut program in 1959.

Rare but not impossible: your last chance to see a Transit of Venus (June 5, 2012)

Jun 1 2012 - 11:05am

BY AMY SAYLE

My all-time favorite case of “impossible astronomy” happens in the final scene of Dan Brown’s popular novel The Da Vinci Code.

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