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…
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Dawn Spacecraft May Visit A Secret Destination

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta for 14 months in 2011 and 2012, and then departed for Ceres, where it’s orbited since March 2015. This week, Dawn’s been taking stereo views of the dwarf planet’s terrain from just 233 miles (375 kilometers) up or about 20 miles lower than the altitude of the International Space Station. Dawn’s dual-asteroid mission…
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Pieces Of Vesta Pelt Eastern Turkey

Call it a surprise visit from Vesta. On September 2, 2015, NASA satellites detected a meteoroid entering the atmosphere with a diameter of approximately 20 inches (50 cm) that broke up at an altitude of about 25 miles (40 km) over several villages in eastern Turkey. After a bright flash and detonations, stones came raining…
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Dawn Begins Approach To Dwarf Planet Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft officially began its approach to the dwarf planet Ceres this week. Ceres was the first asteroid discovered and at 590 miles (950 km) across, the largest of the Main Belt asteroids that cycle between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. No probe’s ever visited Ceres, and our best photos taken by the…
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Serious About Ceres? Vested In Vesta? A Last-minute Conjunction Guide

And yes the twain shall meet! Tonight I have a couple new photos to share with you showing the asteroids Ceres and Vesta just before their face-to-face meeting on July 5. That night they’ll be 10 arc minutes or just a third of a full moon diameter apart. Don’t fret if the weather’s supposed to be…
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