News From A Messenger

The enormous Caloris Impact Basin photographed by Messenger during its first flyby last January. The spacecraft discovered evidence of volcanoes around the basin’s rim and an active magnetic field created by the planet’s churning core.The circular basin, created by an asteroid impact long ago, is one of the largest in the solar system. It measures…
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The Seven Sisters Are Back In Your Backyard

The 4-day-old moon shines between an opening in the trees during early twilight yesterday (Oct. 3). Tonight the moon will lie to the left of Antares in Scorpius. See yesterday’s blog for a finder map. Photo: Bob King / Duluth News Tribune I was amazed how easy it was to see Venus even as early…
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Crystals Of The Night

Frost crystals top a coneflower earlier this morning after a chilly overnight. When surfaces are below freezing and colder than the dew point of the surrounding air, frost condenses on them as tiny grains and spikes of ice. Photo: Bob King / Duluth News Tribune Last night the temperature dropped to 23 degrees at my observing location,…
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Cool Moon, Hot Venus, Shiny Station

Everything is tempered by the brevity of our lifetime. The finite clock is the root of much sweetness and pleasure — like the better-get-out-and-enjoy-it feeling of a nice day in Duluth, only writ on a larger scale. In that spirit, consider going out during twilight tonight (Oct. 2) to find the newly-hatched crescent moon and Venus. They’re very low in…
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The Sun Draws A Blank

The sun on September 27 this year (left) shows a blank disk, typical of solar minimum. At right, the sun is peppered with sunspots back on the same date in 2001. PHOTOS: SOHO, NASA 200 days and counting. That’s how many days the sun’s been without sunspots this year. This is the highest number of blank suns…
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