NASA Lured By Heavy Metal, Plans Missions To Psyche And Beyond

When most people think of a meteorite, they imagine a lump of iron-nickel metal. And while there are plenty of those, stony meteorites peppered with fine metal flakes are far more common. Psyche, a robotic spacecraft, scheduled to launch in October 2023, will target one of these sources of those ‘heavy metal’ meteorites, when it…
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The Secret To Finding All Eight Planets On Your Own

I love sharing the news of planets, conjunctions, comets and all the rest with you guys. But you might be a do-it-yourself kind of person that likes strike out on their own. If so, here’s my two-step process to find every planet in the solar system. Step 1: Follow the moon, which any of us can…
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Full Wolf Moon Night And A Big Day For Venus

Could there be anything more romantic than snowblowing by the light of a full moon? The answer is an obvious “yes,” but I still want to share how tickled I was when the moon when the moon cut free of the clouds to shine on my driveway last night. Crisp shadows made it easy to…
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The Sky Holds A Billion Supermassive Black Holes

All those red, white and blue dots? Nearly every one is a supermassive black hole in a galaxy billions of light years away. There are 1,008 visible in the image made using NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory. To capture so many, Chandra spent 7 million seconds (almost 12 weeks) of observing time focused on a spot…
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Three Dawn Planets On A String

My fingertips are still tender after today’s happy morning. I drove out to the country in hopes of seeing three comets — V2 Johnson, ER61 PANSTARRS and U1 NEOWISE — before dawn. I tracked them all down from an icy road in the –24°F shivery silence, my fingers curled around hand warmer packets inside lined gloves. My hunt…
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