Apollo Revisited: Cosmic Rays Buzz Buzz Aldrin’s Eyes

With the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaching this weekend, let’s look back at a peculiar discovery made while astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong left the safety of Earth for the lunar unknown. Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects us from cosmic rays, which are high-speed protons and other atomic nuclei…
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Supermoon Fun / Mars-Spica Conjunction Tonight / Venus Visits Mercury At Dawn

The moon coaxed many of us out for a look last night. We had clear if hazy skies in my town which made for a striking display of lunar crepuscular rays. Lunar what? If you’ve ever seen sunbeams poking through clouds in the afternoon or evening, you’re looking at crepuscular rays. Crepuscular comes from the…
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Supermoon Feast Begins – It’s Three In A Row, Baby!

If the moon’s orbit were circular there’d be no such thing as ‘supermoons’, the occasional, extra-large full moons we see about once every 13 months. But circular orbits are exceedingly rare. Most celestial bodies dance about each other in ellipses. At one end of the ellipse, the two bodies are closest; at the other end,…
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Rosetta Sends Postcard Of A Growing Comet

A quick update and image. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft moved to within 22,990 miles (37,000 km) of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on July 4 and took these fresh images. That’s only about 700 miles farther than the belt of geosynchronous communications satellites orbiting the Earth. While the new photo is still too low res to…
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Hubble Spies ‘pearls On A String’ In Distant Galaxy Merger

On a summer night, high above our heads, where the Northern Crown and Herdsman meet, a titanic new galaxy is being born 4.5 billion light years away. You and I can’t see it but astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope just released photographs today showing how the merger of two enormous elliptical galaxies will one…
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