Artist's concept of Shiaparelli deploying its parachute. Credit: ESA

Mars Lander Crashes, May Have Exploded On Impact

Something went horribly wrong. The Schiaparelli lander appears to have crashed during its attempted landing on Mars two days ago.  NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet almost certainly related to the lander’s demise. One is a dark, fuzzy spot roughly 50 x 130 feet (15 x 40…
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Celebrate The Power Of The Naked Eye In My New Book

If you’re like a lot of people, you don’t own a telescope but still have a passion for the stars. I’ve got good news for you.  There’s lots to see up there without any equipment at all. That’s the premise of my new book titled Night Sky with the Naked Eye, a non-technical guide to the wonders of the night…
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Orionids. Stellarium

Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Friday Morning

Every year in late October, Earth plows into  a “snow flurry” of dust and small fragments shed by Halley’s Comet during its many passages of the sun. The last time Halley dropped by our vicinity was in 1986, and it’s expected again in 2061. Every time the comet draws near the sun, solar heating boils…
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Moon Sideswipes Aldebaran In A Spectacular Occultation Tonight

Late tonight and early tomorrow morning, the waning gibbous moon will occult Aldebaran, the bloodshot eye of Taurus the Bull. This wonderfully orange-red giant star is the brightest in the constellation and 14th brightest in the night sky. An occultation occurs when the moon, moving eastward in its orbit around the Earth, slides over and…
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Antares Cygnus visibility map. Credit: Orbital ATK

East Coast Alert: Spectacular Night Launch To The Space Station

If you live along the East Coast, it’s your lucky night. You just might have a ringside seat for a spectacular night launch to the space station. Orbital ATK’s upgraded Antares rocket will lift off at 7:40 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia coast. Assuming good weather, Antares will dispatch a Cygnus cargo ship to…
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