Comet Y4 ATLAS Could Become Naked-Eye Bright This Spring

Not since December 2018 when Comet 46P/Wirtanen passed near the Pleiades star cluster has a naked-eye comet graced the night sky. It reached 5th magnitude at the time and looked like a small wad of glowing fuzz from a dark sky site. Wirtanen never developed a bright tail, one of the most distinguishing and beautiful…
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Mars Perseverance Rover Prepped For Summer Launch

Mars is still tiny and relatively far from the Earth this month, but it looms large at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There, the latest and greatest Mars rover is undergoing final assembly and checkout. Dubbed Mars 2020, it will launch sometime between July 17 and Aug. 5 and touch down in Jezero (JEZ-er-oh) Crater…
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Lovely Little Sunspot Sullies The Sun’s Face / See Venus And Uranus Pair Up

There have only been only four numbered sunspots observed this year. Otherwise the sun has been as spotless as a shiny new phone. One of those four sprouted just a couple days ago, named Active Region (AR) 2758. The day was nice so I set up my little refracting telescope for a look and immediately…
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Enjoy An Extra Helping Of The ‘Snowcrust’ Moon

It’s been fun watching the moon fill out and brighten this week. Last night, it coaxed me outside for a ski in the woods. Thanks to its brilliance I didn’t kill myself on the icy trails. Of course, I carry a backup headlamp just in case things look dicey. Which they did on a few…
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Jupiter’s Clouds Never Cease To Amaze

Seeing Jupiter and its cloud belts the other morning got me curious about what NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been up to. Juno swings around Jupiter every 53 days on a highly elongated orbit that reaches as far as 5 million miles (8.1 million km) from the planet to only 2,600 miles (4,200 km) above its…
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