Get Re-acquainted With The Night

Clouds, commitments and a bad cold have kept the stars and I apart for weeks.  Last night’s clear sky finally brought us back together. I can be a miner when it comes to the night, drilling for nebulae, galaxies and comets with my telescope for hours, extracting one glittering gem after another. Other times, I prefer to tilt my…
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Heads-up For Aurora Tonight April 29-30

When it gets dark tonight, keep watch on the northern sky. There’s a chance for a minor G1 auroral storm. You might see anything from a quiet arc to active rayed arcs in the lower half of the northern sky beginning at nightfall and continuing into the early morning hours. Since the aurora is generally…
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Dwarf Planet Makemake Divulges A Dark Moon

Far, far away beyond the planet Neptune lies the Kuiper Belt, a vast reservoir of frozen orbs left over from the construction phase of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. Four of them are dwarf planets, the most famous of which is Pluto with its system of five moons. Another is Makemake (MAH-kee MAH-kee),…
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Watch Mercury Skip Across The Sun On May 9

On Monday May 9th, we have a rare opportunity to see the solar system’s innermost planet pass directly in front of the sun. Maybe you saw one or both Venus transits back in 2004 and 2012. All you needed then was a handheld solar filter to that planet’s perfectly black, perfectly circular self silhouetted against the…
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Dawn Spacecraft May Visit A Secret Destination

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta for 14 months in 2011 and 2012, and then departed for Ceres, where it’s orbited since March 2015. This week, Dawn’s been taking stereo views of the dwarf planet’s terrain from just 233 miles (375 kilometers) up or about 20 miles lower than the altitude of the International Space Station. Dawn’s dual-asteroid mission…
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