Observing

See 2018’s largest supermoon on 2 January

31 December 2017 Ade Ashford

If skies are clear in Western Europe on the first evening of 2018, be sure to glance up at the almost full Moon in the constellation of Gemini. If it seems a bit larger than usual then you’d be right, for the lunar orb is at its closest for the year, making the full Moon of 2 January a supermoon.

News

Arecibo radar returns with asteroid Phaethon images

29 December 2017 Astronomy Now

After several months of downtime since Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar has returned to normal operation, providing the highest-resolution images to date of near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon during its December 2017 close approach to Earth.

News

An interview with David Grinspoon

28 December 2017 Astronomy Now

As part of the new Gravity Assist podcast, NASA’s Director of Planetary Science Jim Green interviewed David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona about the planet Venus and what makes the second world from the Sun so hellish compared to Earth.

News

Mars and Earth may not have always been neighbours

21 December 2017 Astronomy Now

A study published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters posits that Mars formed in what today is the Asteroid Belt, roughly one and a half times as far from the Sun as its current position, before migrating to its present location.

Observing

See the Moon hide bright star Aldebaran on New Year’s Eve

20 December 2017 Ade Ashford

Observers in the UK with clear skies on the night of 30—31 December 2017 can see the 12-day-old waxing gibbous Moon glide through the Hyades cluster in Taurus, occulting a number of naked-eye stars along the way, culminating in the disappearance and reappearance of first-magnitude star Aldebaran in the small hours of New Year’s Eve.