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Meteor Allure! Leonid Shower Peaks Nov. 17-18

Ah, November. What better time to ease into a reclining chair, look up and enjoy a few flashing meteors. As long as you remember to get up the hour before dawn and dress warmly! The annual Leonid meteor shower will deliver 10-15 meteors an hour when it peaks this coming Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (Nov. 17-18)…
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"X" marks the spot. The cone-shaped zodiacal light (left), formed by comet dust glowing in sunlight, intersects the Milky Way this morning shortly before dawn. Credit: Bob King

The Zodiacal Light Invites You Out Tonight

Sunrise still comes early but not so early that you can’t find a way to view one of early fall’s most fascinating phenomena, the zodiacal light. It shows up best about a half hour before the start of dawn in the eastern sky. What am I talking about? Comet dust … with a bit of asteroid…
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Rosetta’s Comet Undergoes Dramatic Outburst

Just 9 days after making its closest approach to the sun, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko underwent a dramatic outburst. A crack or hole in its crust allowed a bottled-up bubble of dust-laden gas to spew into space in a grand display. Comets, being made of ice and dirt, shed most heavily when nearest the sun as 67P/C-G was…
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Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS displays three remarkable tails in this photo taken on July 15, 2015. The ion or gas tail stretches to the left. The primary dust tail is bright and overlaps the gas tail. The Type III dust tail juts off to the upper left of the coma. Click for another amazing image taken July 18. Credit: Michael Jaeger

Meet The Most Beautiful Comet You’ll Never See, C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS

C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS may well go down as one the prettiest comets of 2015. Like a dandelion seed in the breeze, the comet slowly drifts toward the western horizon at dusk these winter nights. You read that correctly — winter. While the comet may be visible in “low” equatorial latitudes, it’s best placed for those living Down…
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Fast-spinning Asteroid Tears Itself To Pieces

A team of astronomers led by team led by Michal Drahus of the Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland) used one of the twin 10-meter (394-inch) telescopes of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to study the strange behavior of four comet-like asteroids. Most of the hundreds of thousands of known asteroids are made of rock and don’t…
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