InSight Mission Blasts Off To Mars / Chance For Weekend Auroras

We’re headed back to Mars! NASA’s Mars InSight mission lifted off at 6:05 a.m. (Central Time) this morning from the West Coast en route to the Red Planet. After a 6½ month journey, it will arrive and set up camp on Nov. 26. The landing site is Elysium Planitia, a broad, smooth plain just north…
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Gaia’s Gift — The Lowdown On 1.7 Billion Stars

There are about 9,000 stars in total visible with the naked eye from a dark sky anywhere on planet Earth. In 1989, a star catalog was compiled to help the Hubble Space Telescope target objects of interest in space. It contained about 20 million stars. Last week, the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission released a…
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How A Dwarf Nova Hit The Big Time

Yuji Nakamura of Japan was taking pictures of the sky last Sunday night (April 30), when he recorded a remarkable stellar explosion 12,685 light years away in the constellation Perseus. It turned out to be a brand new nova. That night and the following night, the star was easily visible in binoculars. By last night…
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Jupiter Closes In, Gets Temporary New ‘Moon’

See the full moon last night? If you were out past 9:30 you might also have noticed Jupiter shining below it. As Venus sets in the west, Jupiter rises in the east to carry the flame. The solar system’s largest planet by far, Jupiter is rewarding in many ways. Binoculars show its four brightest moons,…
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Watch The Pink Moon Rise With The Yellow Planet

The moon’s been rounding up this week on its way to full. April’s full moon is called the Pink Moon. It’s named for moss pink, a pink-colored phlox that’s one of the earliest spring flowers. Funny thing is, the full moon often comes up a little pink. Pink, red, orange. They’re all warm colors. The…
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