Strange Cloud On Mars Turns Heads

There’s a very cool cloud on Mars right now. It’s downwind of an ancient martian volcano named Arsia Mons. What makes its such a head-turner is that it perfectly mimics a plume from a volcanic eruption. Naturally, it’s become the subject of much online speculation. The European Space Agency’s orbiting Mars Express has been taking…
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Crazy Capricornus — Boat, Goat And Smile In The Sky

  Some people see a paper boat, others a goat, some a sloppy triangle and others the mischievous grin of the Cheshire Cat. Whatever we behold in the curious constellation of Capricornus, I was just happy for clear skies to see it last night. Two weeks of cloudy nights have been too much for this star-craved…
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Mars Opportunity Rover Stubbornly Silent / Hyades Frames Waning Moon

The skies are clearing over NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover but we’ve still not heard from the robotic explorer since June 10. That’s when a planet-encircling dust storm kicked into gear, saturating the thin Martian air with fine dust and choking off the sunlight the rover needed to power its solar arrays and recharge its batteries. The…
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Mars Cleans Up Its Act / September Opens With A Binocular Comet

OK, Mars isn’t completely clear, but the dust is finally settling, making the planet’s dark surface markings much easier to see. I noticed this two nights ago when I hauled out my 10-inch scope for a look. The night was calm and no leaf stirred, often a sign of “steady seeing,” when planets appear sharp…
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Wake Up, Opportunity! Still Waiting For Mars Rover To Phone Home

Dust from Mars’ global storm is finally beginning to settle out of the atmosphere. As proof, I can report that I’m able to see the south polar cap and several surface features through my telescope. Other observers have reported similar views. But the fact that NASA’s Opportunity rover has yet to “wake up” and contact…
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