Standing On The Shore Of An Ancient Martian Lake Thinking About Microbes

Three billion years ago you could have stood along the shore of a lake in Mars’ Gale Crater and watched a sunset reflected in its waters. The lake lasted a long time and provided a stable environment that may have fostered the growth of two very different types of microbes, according to a recent NASA study.…
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Full Thunder Moon And A Spotted Sun

Full moon tonight! The July moon had a couple traditional names: Full Buck Moon, after buck deers’ antlers that are now nearly fully grown, and the Thunder Moon, for the thunderstorms common in the summer months. Both have been regular sights and sounds in northern Minnesota this year. I’m looking forward to tonight’s moonrise, hoping to catch…
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Warm Up Before Monday’s Flyby With These Cool, New Views Of Jupiter’s Red Spot

In just 3 days, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a 10,000-mile-wide (16,000 km) storm that’s been whirling around the atmosphere for possibly 400 years or more. While the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft have taken photos of the planet’s most iconic feature, Juno will come closer than any before it,…
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Iridium Satellites Keep The Fireworks Coming … But Not Forever

The crackle of firecrackers and thump of cannons echoed through the neighborhood last night, the fourth of July. But a whole different kind of fireworks was happening 483 miles overhead — silent but showy flares from Iridium satellites. The Iridium extravaganza’s been going on every night somewhere on Earth since the mid-1990s. A quick check of what…
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Night Sky On The Fourth Of July

Today we celebrate American Independence Day, when lots of us will be out watching fireworks displays at dusk. Since getting a good seat means arriving early, you might have a little time on your hands to look around and take in the stars before the show begins. Or even after the show. Assuming a forecast…
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