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Comet 46P/Wirtanen captured on November 15 this year using the remote iTelescope (Siding Springs Observatory, Australia). Flickr/Victor R Ruiz

We have a Christmas comet: how to spot 2018’s interplanetary bauble

The comet 46P/Wirtanen is just 1.2km in size but it should be visible in the night sky ths weekend as it makes a close approach to Earth this year. And don't forget the Geminids metor shower.
The 2017 Geminids as seen from Ecuador, against the backdrop of the splendid Milky Way (centre) and the Large Magellanic Cloud (right). Flickr/David Meyer

Look up! Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2018

Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2018. Where to look and when in both the northern and southern skies to catch nature's fireworks.
Patience can be rewarded as with this composite of the 2016 Geminids meteor shower, seen over Mt Teide volcano on the Canary Islands, off Spain. Flickr/StarryEarth

Look up! Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2017

2017 is looking to be a spectacular year for meteor showers. So here's what to look out for in both the northern and southern skies.
Chelyabinsk meteor. Nikita Plekhanov/wikimedia

The five greatest balls of fire over Earth

A meteor exploding over the South Pacific on February 6 was the biggest since the Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013. Here are some other fiery visitors.
Rosetta deploys the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?

Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Finding organic compounds on 67P’s surface…
Philae’s first panorama shows a 360 degree view around the point of final touchdown. Superimposed is a sketch of what the lander team believes is Philae’s configuration. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Sleep now for Rosetta’s comet probe after a bouncy landing

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) pioneering Rosetta mission to land on a comet has been wildly successful, but now it appears that part of its aim, the exploration of the surface by the little Philae…
Meteors streak outwards from the top of Orion’s head as seen in 2012 from central Victoria. Phil Hart

See one of the year’s best meteor showers, thanks to Halley’s comet

As Earth orbits the sun, it continually ploughs through dust and debris left behind by passing comets and asteroids. On any night of the year, a keen-eyed observer might see five, or even ten, meteors…
An artist’s concept of Comet Siding Spring (2013 A1) and Mars. NASA

Comet Siding Spring’s close encounter with Mars draws near

Astronomers world-wide are gearing up for what NASA calls a “once in a lifetime” event: the Comet Siding Spring will swing…
Earth was treated to a magnificent show during the Perseid meteor shower in 2010. Will the northern hemisphere get a similar show with the Camelopardalis shower on Saturday? ESO/S. Guisard

A night’s tale: will a new meteor shower light up northern skies?

Across North America, Europe and Japan, skywatchers will be out in force this weekend with high hopes of catching a never-before-seen meteor shower. Predicted to peak this Saturday, May 24, the shower…

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