See A Double-Planet Huddle At Dawn

Mercury’s been hanging out at dawn the past couple weeks. But you knew that. You may have even set your alarm for a look at the shy planet. In case you haven’t, Jupiter will sweeten the pot on Tuesday morning (Oct. 11). The biggest planet, which has been hiding in the glare of the sun since September,…
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Great Balls Of Fire! Hubble Discovers A Real ‘Shooting’ Star

I loved Roman candles as a kid. You know the firework. You light one end and it shoots out balls of fire from the other. I never imagined we’d find the stellar equivalent of this July 4th favorite, but a team of astronomer’s using the Hubble Space Telescope did just that. In a recent paper they report the…
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ExoMars Mission Preps For Landing On Red Planet

Schiaparelli’s descent to Mars on October 19 / European Space Agency (ESA) Move over Curiosity and Opportunity and make room for a new arrival. In less than two weeks, a European probe will touch down on the surface of Mars. The European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2016 mission, launched on March 14 this year, is scheduled…
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Stand In Awe Before Dawn’s Early Light

What sort of things make for jaw-dropping sky sights? You might answer a total eclipse of the sun or a raging, all-sky aurora. The other morning just before the start of dawn, I stood in awe before a phenomenon consisting of practically nothing at all. A great cone of luminous haze called the zodiacal light…
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Aurora Surprise Tonight / Venus-Moon A Sweet Sight

A low arc glowed along the northern horizon earlier tonight, hinting at a possible auroral display. After nodding off (yes, I do get a little sleep now and then), I stepped outside at 11:15 to discover dancing rays and pulsing “flames” above the treetops. It’s still happening now, so open the door, allow your eyes five…
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