Cassini’s Death Dive Into Saturn Imminent

NASA’s 13-year Cassini mission at Saturn ends Friday. At 5:31 a.m. CDT, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere, and by 7 a.m., after traveling 932 million miles and 83 minutes, its final bit of data will reach mission control. Then silence. In the remaining days, its mission status will be updated here. The following list includes news conferences and…
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Sun Won’t Quit — Aurora May Return Tonight Thru Wednesday

I almost didn’t wake up in time for this morning’s occultation of Aldebaran by the last quarter moon. Let’s just say I made myself get up. Sure glad I did. Despite some fire haze, Aldebaran waited just off the moon’s edge through the telescope. The contrast of that bit of fire with the broad, daylight-tinted…
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Sunspot’s Parting Gift — A Spectacular Loop Prominence / Aldebaran Goes Bye-Bye

What a sunspot show it was. The huge group, AR 2673, visible with the naked eye, produced an X9.3 flare on September 6th, the most powerful recorded since 2005. For the next few days, it quieted down a bit and then went ballistic again. At 11:06 a.m. Central time Sunday, the region erupted with at the…
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Pluto Gets Its First Official Names

No more pussyfooting around. It’s official: Pluto has 14 new place names. Most we suspected would be there, but a few are new. Pluto’s “heart” now bears the name of American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. Venetia Burney, the British schoolgirl who in 1930 suggested the name “Pluto,” Roman god of the underworld,…
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Conjunction Madness At Dawn: Mercury, Regulus And Mars

I can’t believe Mars is back at dawn already. It’s not easy to see just yet, but it’s in great company with Mercury and Leo’s brightest star, Regulus about an hour to 45 minutes before sunrise low in the eastern sky. All three objects, along with Venus and the dawn crescent moon, are or will…
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