Summer Triangle May31FEA

Turn Right At The ‘W’ And Head Straight For Summer

You’ll often hear that the constellation Cassiopeia the queen is shaped like the letter “W.” And while this is true, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s only really a W from late spring to mid-summer. I noticed this two nights ago when I was studying the northern horizon for the aurora. From my latitude…
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Pluto terrains annoted_SS

Take A Trip Down The Strip — Best Closeups Of Pluto Yet

A new, detailed mosaic slice of Pluto, which I’ve chopped into seven pieces, each representing a sample of a different terrain, was released by NASA on May 27. It includes all of the highest-resolution images taken by NASA’s New Horizons probe as it flew past Pluto on July 14 last year. It extends across the hemisphere that faced the…
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This artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter. Unlike other long-distance space probes, which use the decay of plutonium to produce heat and electricity far from the sun, Juno's equipped with three solar array wings that will both stabilize the craft and provide power.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Juno Falls Into Jupiter’s Embrace

Call it a gravitational trifecta. Since its launch in August 2011, three forces have tugged at NASA’s Juno spacecraft — the sun, Earth and Jupiter — as it speeds half a billion miles across the solar system to the largest planet, Jupiter. Sometimes Earth was the gravitational master as in October 2013, when the probe flew by our…
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ISS. Credit: NASA

Weekend Space Station Extravaganza

Many of us have seen the the International Space Station (ISS) pass overhead at night. Maybe once a night. How would you like to see it five times in in the span of one evening? This weekend, you’ll have your chance. Passes starts a typical 6-minute run with an appearance low in the western sky traveling…
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Saturn and Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Fantastic Saturn Struts His Stuff At Opposition

We’re in the middle of a planet Renaissance. Look up any evening and you’ll see Jupiter over in the southwest and the bright eye of Mars clearing the treetops in the southeast. And now nosing into the scene a fist to the left of Red Planet — Saturn! How fortunate to have so many bright planets to…
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