Mercurial Delights / Supernova In Spiral Galaxy M61 / Jupiter Spots

Scattered thin clouds took nothing away from this morning’s otherwise clear sky. With the Moon waxing from quarter to gibbous phase, the slab of darkness between moonset and dawn gets sliced thinner every day. Starting November 4th the Moon will light the sky all night and not give back the darkness till next weekend. I took…
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Halloween — The Perfect Time To Meet The Witch Head, The Sky’s Scariest Nebula

Never mind the nature of dark matter or the ultimate fate of the universe, let’s address a more important question this Halloween. What’s the scariest nebula in the sky? I’ve seen a few in the flesh and perused the coffee table tomes and come up with my offering – the Witch Head. Named for its…
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Earth And Moon Captured Together In Amazing New Photo

A friend alerted me to this wonderful photo of Earth and Moon in the same single image taken by China’s Chang’e 5 lunar test vehicle. The spacecraft is conducting an 8-day mission to the Moon and back to refine the technology needed for a planned sample return mission in 2017. Launched on October 23, this is…
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Found! Fresh Moon Crater From LADEE Spacecraft Impact

I’d love to see that ad on Craigslist. Using before and after photos taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), Mark Robinson, LROC principal investigator, discovered a tiny crater within one-fifth of a mile (300-m) of the predicted impact zone. And I do mean tiny. The impact of the refrigerator-sized spacecraft at the relatively leisurely…
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Antares Rocket Ferrying Cargo To Space Station Explodes!

The Antares rocket explodes on takeoff around 6:22 p.m. EDT this evening from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Earlier this evening, Orbital Sciences Antares rocket exploded just seconds after launch. It was carrying the Cygnus cargo ship bound for the International Space Station (ISS). No one was injured in the blast as the rocket fell…
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