Last week (August 2015), a comet brightened quickly and unexpectedly. The Comet C/2014 Q1 (PanSTARRS), discovered last year, should remain an easy target in Southern Hemisphere for small telescopes through August. Us in North have to settle just with images, and astrophotographer Yuri Beletsky fortunately captured this really nice one in Chile.
The comet is seen with a short white dust tail fading to the right, and a long blue ion tail pointing away from the recently set Sun.

Messier 43 is a large star forming region and the companion of the famous Orion Nebula about 1,500 light-years away. This close-up of it was made while testing one of the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in the Chilean Andes. The composite image shifts the otherwise invisible infrared wavelengths to blue, green, and red colors.

Here are some details:

credit: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Obs.), Igor Chilingarian (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

ALMA Milky Way

This alluring all-skyscape was taken 5,100 meters above sea level, from the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. Viewed through the site’s rarefied atmosphere at about 50% sea level pressure, the gorgeous Milky Way stretches through the scene. Its cosmic rifts of dust, stars, and nebulae are joined by Venus, a brilliant morning star immersed in a strong band of predawn Zodiacal light. Still not completely dark even at this high altitude, the night sky’s greenish cast is due to airglow emission from oxygen atoms. Around the horizon the dish antenna units of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, explore the universe at wavelengths over 1,000 times longer than visible light.

Image credit & copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution)

Via All Science All the Tine’s new page, Science That:

So, it’s 2014, and astronomy is looking really good this year! In fact, we’ve gone ahead and put together some of the most notable events right here for you, courtesy of Universe Today. Be sure to mark your calendars and keep your eyes on the sky! One of the most exciting events may be a possible meteor shower, courtesy of the remains of would-be comet of the century ISON. Want more? Find all 101 Astronomical events of 2014 here:

Credits for images used in graphic:

Top row, right to left: 
1) Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
2) David Kingham/DavidKinghamPhotography
3) ESO/Y. Beletsky,

Bottom row, right to left: 
3) Podgorsek

Night lights

Though the Sun set hours ago, the night sky above ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile remains full of light. The eerie green radiance of natural airglow rises from the horizon to meet the bright blobs of the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, all beneath the wide arch of our Milky Way.

One of the Very Large Telescope’s Auxiliary Telescopes can hardly find the time to observe it all.

Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky

False Dawns and Night Ghosts

Have you ever gone outside far into the country only to notice far off on the horizon a huge glow was rising into the sky?

It may seem like some new huge star was about to rise, a rival to the Sun - come to take our night away. It might seem like some strange celestial ghost, basking in the darkness, there for sure though you can’t quite find it’s edge.

Often mistaken for something else, this pillar of ethereal light is called zodiacal light.

There are billions of particles (such as dust) left over from the formation of the solar system. This homeless matter reflects light so that it appears as a pillar, supporting heaven itself.

(Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky)