Phases of the Moon, as seen looking southward from the northern hemisphere. Credit: Wikipedia / Orion8

Crescent Moon Crescendo And Fall Finale

Look to the west-southwest at dusk tonight and you’ll see a thin crescent moon tilted over on its side. Its shape reminds me of Mona Lisa’s sweet and slightly mischievous smile. While it might seem strange to associate such a delicate-appearing object with a crescendo, a gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music,…
Read More

Leonid 2001 meteorFEA

Did A Meteorite Kill A Bus Driver In India?

Meteorite or …? On Saturday, Feb. 6th, a meteorite reportedly struck a bus driver on the campus of the Bharathidasan Engineering College in southern India. Three students were also injured and several windows were shattered in some kind of explosion. Online videos and stills show a small crater left by the impact. If true, this would be the first…
Read More

ISS feature

Dinner Date With The Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) returned to the evening sky this week, making routine passes right around dinnertime. I saw one by accident two nights ago; the following night it cut directly across Orion’s Belt. It’s always fun to anticipate the arrival of the ISS at dusk, when it’s easy to get outside for a look compared…
Read More

Dawn captured this view of Kupalo crater on Dec. 20, shortly after beginning the observations from its current low altitude mapping orbit at 240 miles (385 kilometers). (Kupalo is a Slavic harvest deity associated with love and fertility.) This is a relatively young crater, as seen by its sharp, clear features and the paucity of overlying smaller impact craters which would have formed later. Bright material on the rim and walls may be salts, as explained last month. The crater is 16 miles (26 kilometers) across. Full image and caption. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Take A Wonderful Flight Over The Dwarf Planet Ceres

Explore Mt. Ahuna, Occator Crater and more in this flight over the dwarf planet Click play and fly over the surface of Ceres in this latest animation using images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The movie shows the dwarf planet in enhanced color, which helps to highlight subtle differences in the appearance of surface materials. Scientists…
Read More

Sandy selfie curiosity marsFEA

Curiosity Snaps Sandy Selfie By The Sharp Side

Time to break out the sandboard and ride down a dune! A recent selfie beamed back by the Mars Curiosity rover shows it snug against the spectacular “Namib Dune,” where the rover’s activities included scuffing into the dune with a wheel and scooping samples of sand for laboratory analysis. Namib Dune is located along the flank of…
Read More