From the discovery of gravitational waves to the building evidence that a massive planet could exist beyond Pluto, it has been a thrilling year for astronomy news.
An exciting year lies ahead for space science and planetary spaceflight — by NASA and by other spacefaring nations.
For the first time, a team of astronomers has placed a fast radio burst on the cosmic map, allowing them to better pinpoint its mysterious origin.
This Week’s Sky at a Glance,
January 6 – 14
Venus and Mars are up the southwest at sunset. Meanwhile, as the Moon fattens from gibbous to full, watch it pass several celestial landmarks: Aldebaran, the Pleiades, and Regulus.
It won’t be a great year for lunar eclipses, with a deep penumbral event on February 11th and a partial on August 7th. But the solar offerings are much better, with an annular (ring) eclipse observable from the Southern Hemisphere on February 26th . . . and the Big One — a total solar eclipse crosses the continental U.S. — on August 21st.
Comet lovers have much to look forward to in 2017 with six potential binocular comets and at least two others for modest backyard telescopes.
Meteor Showers in 2017
Everyone enjoys the brief and sometimes dazzling streaks of light from meteors, sometimes called “shooting stars.” Sky & Telescope predicts that the two best meteor showers in 2016 will be the Quadrantids in early January and the Geminids in mid-December.
The Astronomical League, one of amateur astronomy’s best institutional resources, has awarded more than 10,000 observing certificates since 1967.
When it comes to capturing a total solar eclipse, few can match the expertise of Fred Espenak. Get valuable tips from “Mr. Eclipse” himself during S&T‘s live webinar on Thursday, January 12th.