Is the universe running out of energy? It might be one of the explanations for the steep decline in stellar production. The universe is only producing 3% of the stars galaxies were producing 11 and 9 billion years ago. The Milky Way is one of the few galaxies still cranking out stars but there's definitely an overall dramatic drop off probably due to the lack of pure energy supplies needed to fuel star production. In a related matter, black holes are converting consumption of materials such as stars, planets and asteroids into energy. As they do, they're emitting flares of energy, in essence gigantic belches. Galactic center black holes typically consume matter near the core and erupt less as they age. No danger to us from the black hole celestial burps closest to our galaxy's edge. Also, Venus and Saturn are still visible in the eastern pre-dawn sky, Jupiter in the west before sunrise. Jupiter in the east after dark, Mars low in the west at sunset – not far from a waxing crescent moon on Friday the 16th 45 minutes after sunset. Another note: There is a total Solar Eclipse of the moon on Tuesday BUT it can be seen only in North Australia. All this and more on this week's Sky Talk.
Photo credit: NASA