‘Spooky’ The Asteroid Comes Clean In New Radar Images

Spooky may be a rough character, but scary? Naw. The usual lumps and bumps, but given its small size, maybe more spherical than expected. On Halloween morning, the near-Earth asteroid 2015 TB145 (nicknamed ‘Spooky’) flew only 300,000 miles (486,000 km) from Earth and became bright enough to see in a modest-sized telescope. It was also the…
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Planetary Perambulations, Moon Brighten Dark November Morns

If you haven’t had your fill yet of dawn’s planetary perambulations, a smile of a crescent moon joins the fray for back-to-back conjunctions with Jupiter and Venus this week. On Friday morning, the moon slides 2° south of Jupiter; 24 hours later, it passes even closer to Venus, just 1.1° or two moon diameters. That’s…
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Aurora Simmers Tonight, More Expected Tuesday Nov. 3

The aurora’s out there alright. Just not storming to the level predicted. I saw it along the bottom of the northern sky when I took the dog for a walk tonight. A symmetrical arc stands about 10° high right now flickering with occasional short, faint rays. No telling if activity will heat up further, remain…
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Ammonia Magma May Have Flowed On Pluto’s Moon Charon

How does so much weirdness come from such common materials as water, silicate dust, carbon, nitrogen — key ingredients in what makes up much of our solar system? Nature, the ultimate chef, can whip up almost anything from the simplest of stuff. The latest discovery from Pluto’s moon Charon only confirms this view. A 3-mile-wide (5 km) crater on Pluto’s…
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Stormy Auroras May Open November

Welcome to the “dark month”. Severed from Daylight Saving Time, the sun sets for many of us before 5 o’clock today. Back to driving home from work in a tunnel of night. On the up side, night begins so early, it’s easy for anyone to step out and enjoy the stars without having to stay up…
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