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Fresh from its showing in the super blood moon total eclipse, the moon lines up with Uranus, Orion, and the eye of the constellation Taurus. The giant space rock measures 326 miles (525 kilometers) across, and officially reaches opposition on Mondaya€”when it's opposite in our sky from the sun. While you can easily track down the asteroid with binoculars, a telescope will allow you to watch it move in front of a background of stars from the faint constellation Cetus, the whale. With help from these star charts, a pair of steadily-held binoculars, and some patience, you should be able to find Vesta, 133 million miles (215 million kilometers) distant.
The cosmic pair will be separated by less than three degrees, not quite the width of your three middle fingers held at arma€™s length. Uranus reached opposition just last week, so it will still be offering up its best views for the year. Late Thursday night the moon will aim of the face of the Taurus, the bull and its stellar eye, Aldebaran. As a bonus on Friday morning, 66-light-years distant Aldebaran will appear to be eclipsed or occulted by the moon at dawn for viewers on the west coast of North America, and during daylight for the rest of the American continent. The best way to catch a glimpse of the star-moon pair during daylight will be to use binoculars.
Sky-watchers looking under the moon will be greeted by one of the largest naked-eye stars in the entire sky: Betelgeuse, which marks the left shoulder of Orion.
A glacial remnant boulder is surrounded by grassland in Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Park in South Dakota. Subscribe to National Geographic magazine and save. Print and digital editions available for as little as $12. The summit of Washington's Mount Rainier lies hidden beneath a stack of horizontally layered lenticular clouds. The beauty of a Tassajara, California, sunset is enhanced by towering cumulonimbus clouds—but they will likely spoil the serene scene. Cumulonimbus clouds are the highest of all clouds and may soar above 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). The bright lights of Tucson, Arizona, are more than matched by a flash of lightning far above the city skyline. Cumulonimbus clouds, which are associated with severe storms, build in the skies above Mitchellton, Saskatchewan, Canada. Colorful clouds and calm water create a striking sunset scene for canoeists on Winisk River in Ontario, Canada. An image from the Galileo spacecraft shows the extent of Antarctica's cloud cover and reveals the weather patterns found at the bottom of the world. National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.
Get up close with some of the world's most fascinating underground communities, from gangs to cults to organized crime families.


As the global population soars toward nine billion by 2045, this corner of Africa shows what's at stake in the decades ahead. An artist rendering shows comet Siding Spring’s approaching Mars on October 19, 2014. Small telescopes reveal a grand view of those stunning rings around the gas giant, ones tilted 23 degrees towards Earth, even through the glow of the sunset. To find Saturn, observers should find a clear view of the southwest horizon about 30 to 45 minutes after sunset. Stellar Crown. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 15, the waning moon appears high in the southeast sky, surrounded by the brightest stars of wintertime. The closest ones appear to be Orion constellation’s Betelgeuse, Canis Minor’s Procycon, and Gemini’s Pollux. This sky chart shows the moon surrounded by the brightest stars and their respective constellations as seen in the early morning hours of October 15, 2014.
Located in the constellation Cancer, the Crab, the stunning open cluster of stars also known as Messier 44 is bright enough to be just visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy spot. Binoculars and small telescopes, however, will reveal that about six dozen member stars stretch across 11 light years of space.
This sky chart shows the view through a telescope of comet Siding Spring at its closest approach to Mars and a nearby globular cluster. Telescope users up for the challenge can try to hunt down the magnitude-11 comet low in the southwest skies about 45 minutes after sunset. And if the comet eludes you, check out a live webcast of the close encounter via the Virtual Telescope project. National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices.
Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work.
Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi. With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave. Vesta, the second largest body in the asteroid belt, will shine this week at magnitude 6.2, the most brilliant the asteroid will get in our skies this year. Late night on Thursday, look to the low eastern sky for the waning gibbous moon gliding next to the bright orange star Aldebaran, which marks the constellation Taurus, the bulla€™s eye.
Shining with a distinct orange hue, Betelgeuse is a red giant star that is 700 times the size of our sun.
A growing number of tribes across the United States are making moves to bring back land crushed over generations of human use.


Ripples of altocumulus or cirrocumulus clouds—resembling the markings of a king mackerel—give the phenomenon its name. These mid-level clouds, which form above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters), often herald an approaching storm. Such low-level clouds, called stratus clouds, occur below 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) and often bring rain or snow. These tallest of all clouds often produce violent storms of rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and high winds. Their distinctive anvil-top shapes occur because of the high lateral winds encountered at such altitudes. Clouds form when warm, humid air cools enough that water vapor condenses around tiny particles to form water droplets or ice crystals.
Most clouds are produced by the upward motion of air, which may be caused by weather or local topography.
Sky-watchers using large telescopes may get a glimpse of the close encounter for themselves.
Starting Tuesday, October 14, sky-watchers get their last chance to see Saturn as it quickly continues to sink in the southwest evening sky. Viewers in the more southerly latitude will find the yellow-tinged planet, now located in the constellation Libra, farther away from the sun, making it easier to spot. On Saturday, October 18, rise early and look for the thin crescent moon at its closest approach, with bright Jupiter perched above it.
Siding-Spring will appear about 10 arc-minutes from Mars, less than a third the width of the full moon in the sky. Posters and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service. To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016.
It's so large, in fact, that if it replaced the sun at the center of our solar system, the edge of Betelgeuse would reach at least to the orbit of Mars. While brilliant starlike Jupiter is to its left, use binoculars to track down the Beehive star cluster. This will be less than half the distance of Earth to the moon, the closest pass of a comet by Mars in recorded history.
They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society.



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