Asteroid Vesta At Its Best — Here’s How To See It

Lately, I’ve talked about how to find planets, but there are lots of other planet-like bodies in the night sky — the asteroids. As of March 2016, we know of 1.3 million of them, 750,000 of which have calculated orbits. The name asteroid comes from “aster,” Latin for star, and it perfectly describes their star-like…
Read More

NASA Lured By Heavy Metal, Plans Missions To Psyche And Beyond

When most people think of a meteorite, they imagine a lump of iron-nickel metal. And while there are plenty of those, stony meteorites peppered with fine metal flakes are far more common. Psyche, a robotic spacecraft, scheduled to launch in October 2023, will target one of these sources of those ‘heavy metal’ meteorites, when it…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More