Earliest Spring Since 1896 Starts Today, March 19

Good news for lovers of spring. Normally, the season begins on March 20th or 21st, but from the Central Time Zone west to the International Date Line, it starts later today, March 19th. Here in Duluth, Minn., we welcome the equinox this evening at 11:30 p.m. CDT (9:30 p.m. PDT, 12:30 a.m. EDT March 20). If March…
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How Stars And The Big Bang Got Into Our Bones

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” — Carl Sagan That man knew how to make connections. A couple weeks back, we looked at how hydrogen atoms are squeezed together…
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Ceres Has A Shiny Mountain

This Cerean mountain is beautiful to behold. Maybe it’s a lack of resolution or maybe the debris that formed the finely striated slopes is composed of a different mix of materials than seen on Earth, but the nearly parallel furrows make for an incredible sight. I almost want to grab a sand sled and go…
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Mars Gets Tight With A Bright Double Star / ExoMars / Possible Auroras March 14,15

Mars is always on the move, so it’s inevitable it would run into something beautiful. Tomorrow and Wednesday mornings it slides very close to the gorgeous double star, Beta Scorpii, also known as Graffias, in the constellation Scorpius. Although the planet rises around 1:30 in the morning, you’ll see it best straight up south around 5:30…
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Empty Sky? Not To Hubble’s Eye

Rarely has so much been accomplished by staring into empty space. But that’s exactly what astronomers have been doing with the Hubble Space Telescope in the Frontier Fields program since 2012. It works like this: while Hubble keeps one eye  (camera) on a distant galaxy cluster, it aims another at an adjacent but empty field…
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