Hubble photographs Mars on May 12. Credit: NASA/ESA

Mars Is Close, Bright And Awesome

This is it. What we’ve all been waiting for. Mars and Earth will pair up on the same side of the sun Sunday (May 22), putting the two planets closer to one another than anytime in the past 10 years. The special event is called an opposition because Mars lies directly opposite the sun in the…
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ISS Milky WayS_FEA

Can Astronauts See Stars From The Space Station? The Moon?

An astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS) took this wide-angle photograph of Earth’s night lights while looking out over the remote reaches of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean.  At the time, the ISS was passing over the island nation of Kiribati about 1,600 miles (2600 kilometers) south of Hawaii. In this view, we look in…
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Sunspot #2546 rounds the sun's eastern limb bigger than Earth in this photo taken earlier today by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA

Cyclopean Sunspot Rolls Into View

In ancient Greek mythology, a Cyclops was a member of an ancient race of giants, each with only a single in the middle of his forehead. A new large sunspot feels like the return of this ancient strain as it rounds the limb and comes into clear view this week. I spotted it – excuse the pun – today…
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Mars on March 27 shows lots of hazes and clouds. Credit: Damian Peach

What’s The Weather Like On Mars? Ask Curiosity

Two full Mars years have passed since the Curiosity rover was delivered via sky crane to the surface of Gale Crater in August 2012. Wait a sec. That’s four years, right? Yes, four Earth years but only two if you’re a Martian. Since Mars orbits beyond Earth, it revolves more slowly around the sun, taking 687 days or nearly…
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A poster of artistic interpretations of about 500 of the 1,978 known exoplanets or planets that orbit stars other than our sun. Credit: Martin Vargic

1,284 New Planets To Ponder / Moon Meets Jupiter

One planet can be enough. Make that two. One planet to stand on and one to look at. You might find yourself looking at Jupiter tomorrow night (May 14) when the waxing half moon stops by for a visit. The conjunction of these two bright sky objects in Leo will be the night’s naked eye…
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