Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Space Sure Is Busy — Near-Earth Asteroid Count Tops 15,000

15,000 and counting, baby. That’s the number of known near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), with an average of 30 new discoveries added each week. Astronomers define “near Earth” as objects that come within 121 million miles of the sun at their closest, a distance is equal to 1.3 astronomical units (a.u.). An a.u. equals the distance between the…
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Credit: Bob King

Stand In Awe Before Dawn’s Early Light

What sort of things make for jaw-dropping sky sights? You might answer a total eclipse of the sun or a raging, all-sky aurora. The other morning just before the start of dawn, I stood in awe before a phenomenon consisting of practically nothing at all. A great cone of luminous haze called the zodiacal light…
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Minor planet FEA

Get Free Daily Alerts Of Close Asteroid Flybys

Like knowing what asteroid will be whizzing by Earth next? You’re in luck because now you can subscribe to the Daily Minor Planet, a brand new service that delivers daily reports on the latest asteroid happenings di-rect to your inbox. “Most people don’t realize how common asteroid flybys are,” said Matt Holman, director of the Minor…
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Bennu mapping fea

Liftoff! Mission To Asteroid Bennu Begins Today: Watch It Live

Today NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launches for the  asteroid Bennu. This will be the first U.S. mission to sample a near-Earth asteroid and return the goods to Earth. The spacecraft is expected to lift off at 6:05 p.m. CDT today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and reach Bennu in 2018 after a multi-million mile journey. A daring…
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Asteroids_passing_Earth NASA FEA

Close Encounters Of The 2016 RB1 Kind — Asteroid Dips Into Earth’s Space Tomorrow

A big rock’s going to fly over our heads tomorrow. At around 12:11 p.m. Central Daylight Time (17:11 UT) Sept. 7, asteroid 2016 RB1 will zip just 21,000 miles from the surface of the Earth. The object was only discovered just two days ago (Sept. 5) by the Catalina Sky Survey. Based on its distance and brightness,…
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