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A weekly discussion of what's new and interesting in astronomy with astronomer Derrick PittsMore from Skytalk »

Most Recent Episodes

Sunrise(s) Sunset(s)

Sentient creatures on planets orbiting two stars enjoy a different perspective of the heavens above. Now astronomers have sighted a three-sun system! This week marks the 47th anniversary of mankind setting foot on extraterrestrial soil. Image: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

The moon points the way

The Moon slides past Mars and Saturn this week – Mars on Wednesday and Saturn on Friday . . . If you can see the moon you can find the planets below. Night skies at the Franklin Institute Observatory this week, Derrick will shed some light on the vast array of moons found in our [...]

Enjoy July 4th Double-Header

The fourth of July offers out-of-doors celebrants an opportunity to enjoy fireworks at nightfall, and then nature's pyrotechnics until dawn; In addition to all the summer constellations, Jupiter can be sighted just above the moon on Friday; see how the moon passes by Saturday same time. – Juno spacecraft performs 35 minutes of Jupiter Orbital [...]

Let there be light (gathering) in the darkest parts of Chile

Thanks to dark, dark skies; Northern Chile currently houses 50% of the world's light gathering capacity, soon to be 70% – thanks to accessible mountain sites, clear, stable and extremely dry air that offers 300-330 useable nights per year. As part of the Astronomy in Chile Education Ambassadors Program, Derrick Pitts visited two public observatories, [...]

Tis the season

Enjoy the final few minutes of Spring, Summer solstice begins in ... just a few minutes! Also full moon today.

Gone, but not forgotten

Pioneer 10 left the solar system - 33 years ago today. Traveling at 28,000 mph, the NASA spacecraft will pass the bright star of the summer constellation Aquila the Eagle in 227,000 years and reach Aldebaran in 2 million years.

Alien Planet

New studies of possible Planet Nine suggest it came from outer space – captured from one of our sun's sibling stars not long after birth. Birthday Greetings to Gemini 8, 9 and Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott – In July, 1971 – he collected the moon rock on display at The Franklin Institute's Space Command [...]

Seeing Red?

Mars is at its closest approach to Earth for this year. Surprisingly there are no rumors this time around about Mars appearing as large as the full moon in the night sky .

Looking for Life

The newest Kepler satellite data reveals startling information about frequency of earth-like planets – 3,200 planets now confirmed, including nine new ones in their star's habitable zone...but no true Earth-like planets found yet. Two – K1638b and K1229b – are closest to Earth in terms of their position possibly supporting liquid water but 1238 is [...]

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