Thank Your Lucky Stars Earth’s An Old Soul

Earth came early to the planet party. According to a new study, when our solar system was born 4.6 billion years ago only 8% of the potentially habitable planets were around. So say scientists after studying data collected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Kepler space observatory, which has discovered over 1,000 confirmed exoplanets. But the universe’s best planet-making…
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Cool Conjunctions And More Auroras

Venus and the crescent moon met at dawn in the eastern sky this morning. I hope you saw this fine conjunction. Some, like Gary Froelich of New Mexico, got a free upgrade when the International Space Station (ISS) passed directly across the face of the moon! Auroras reached as far south as southern Minnesota and…
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10 O’clock Hail Orion! / Aurora Alert Tonight

With Daylight Saving Time swept away by the winds of November, there’s a change in the sky. All the constellations have shifted westward by one hour. Sagittarius, better known as the Teapot, now slips away during the dinner hour.  On the brighter side, Orion the Hunter bedazzles in the east as early as 10 o’clock.…
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‘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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