Mr. Spock’s Planet Vulcan Found

Sometimes science fiction anticipates scientific discovery. That exactly what happened when the Dharma Planet Survey uncovered a new super-Earth orbiting 40 Eridani A 16 light years away. Does the name faintly ring a bell? Star Trek fans will remember this as the location of Mr. Spock’s fictional planet Vulcan. Led by Jian Ge of the University…
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What Do Moon And Earth Have In Common? Big Craters!

Last night the moon shone to the left of Saturn. Tomorrow night, it will be in conjunction with Mars, gliding only 4° to its north. Although fading a bit, Mars is still a couple tenths of a magnitude brighter than Sirius, the brightest star, and maintains its eye appeal as we head toward the first…
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NASA Releases Cassini’s Final View Of Titan’s ‘Land O’ Lakes’

A year ago on September 15, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was deliberately plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere after orbiting the planet for 13 years. During its final distant encounter with Saturn’s giant moon Titan 4 days prior, Cassini captured this last photo of the moon’s north polar landscape of lakes and seas, which are filled with liquid…
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Zapped By Zodiacal Light

Every fall, a big, faint, cone-shaped glow towers in the eastern sky at the start of dawn called the zodiacal light. It resembles the Milky Way’s smoky appearance but has a smoother texture, and instead of being comprised of stars, originates from comet and asteroid dust. Dust and fine rocky grit sloughed by comets as…
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Winter Stars And A Striking Comet-Star Cluster Pairing At Dawn

With time off from work this week, I got up before dawn to stand face to face with Orion. What a beautiful thing the winter stars are on a warm, still September morning. Sometimes I like a little classical music when I’m out with the telescope, but the crickets and katydids outdid Mozart in their…
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