SKYWATCH: COUNTDOWN TO NEW HORIZON’S FLYBY, PLUTO’S OCCULTATION, AND MORE

LATEST NEWS

Glimpsing Pluto’s Curious Equator

Here’s a taste of what New Horizons hopes to resolve when it passes by Pluto next Tuesday, July 14th.

“Down-Under” Observers Capture Pluto Occultation

Deep snow, high winds, and equipment glitches didn’t stop dozens of observers in New Zealand and Tasmania from recording Pluto’s occultation of a bright star on June 29th – just two weeks before New Horizons’ close-up flyby.

SOFIA Dashes into Pluto’s Shadow

Despite an 11th-hour scramble due to an unexpected shift in predictions, NASA’s flying observatory was in the right place at the right time on June 29th as distant Pluto briefly covered a 12th-magnitude star.

Pulsar System to Put On a Show in 2018

Astronomers are looking forward to 2018, when a young pulsar will pass through its binary star companion’s disk.

Black Hole Too Big for Its Breeches

A supermassive black hole in the early universe is at least 10 times too heavy for its host galaxy, raising questions about galaxy and black hole coevolution.

Seeing Signs of the First Stars?

Astronomers have come upon the tantalizing signal from some of the universe’s first stars.

OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, July 10 – 18

Venus and Jupiter continue to shine low in the west in twilight. As the darkness deepens, look for Regulus and fainter Gamma (�) Leonis emerging into view above them.

See Pluto in 2015

It’s been a fantastic year for Pluto, and it’s only going to get more so. What better time to make your first (or second!) attempt at spotting the dwarf planet?

C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS – Next Naked-Eye Comet?

Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS has been skirting the northern horizon since mid-June. Now it’s ready to dip Down Under, where it may be visible with the naked eye in evening twilight.

Tour July’s Sky: Saturn and the Scorpion

Stargazing in July is warm and pleasant. After sunset Venus and Jupiter are together in the west and Saturn is low in the south amid the stars of Scorpius.

 

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