Visit Uranus — The Blue Planet 1.8 Billion Miles From Home

Uranus, the 7th planet, reached opposition, its closest point to Earth this year, more than a month ago. A few amateur astronomers like to drop by to spy the planet’s pale blue disk — best appreciated at magnifications of 100x and up — or seek its two brightest moons, Titania and Oberon, faint pinpricks of light within…
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Planets Forming Right Before Our Eyes

Whether your candidate won or not, the sky and its amazing contents will always catch your fall. New pictures taken with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) show amazing details in three solar systems in the making. Each of three teams of astronomers used an advanced planet-hunting instrument called SPHERE to discover how each star…
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Fantastic Saturn Struts His Stuff At Opposition

We’re in the middle of a planet Renaissance. Look up any evening and you’ll see Jupiter over in the southwest and the bright eye of Mars clearing the treetops in the southeast. And now nosing into the scene a fist to the left of Red Planet — Saturn! How fortunate to have so many bright planets to…
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An Invitation To Observe Saturn Tonight

The waxing moon coasts to Saturn’s side tonight. With Jupiter and Venus now so low in the west after sunset, Saturn is quickly becoming our only evening planet. While more planets means more fun, I don’t feel deprived. We’ve had a great year so far with Mercury, Venus and Jupiter putting in bright and lasting appearances. No planet truly…
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SpongeBob Moon Hyperion Gets Farewell Kiss From Cassini

With a little more than 800 days remaining in its mission, NASA’s Cassini space probe has begun preparing for some final flybys before its remarkable tour of duty ends.  Tomorrow it will make its last close approach to Saturn’s large, irregularly shaped moon Hyperion, one of the strangest-looking bodies in the solar system. Its sponge-like appearance has…
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