Take The Lazy River To The Asteroid Juno

When the word Juno shows up on this blog it’s usually in reference to the NASA spacecraft that swings around Jupiter every 53 days to take mind-blowing photos of the planet’s polar regions. Not this time. This time we’re going to find the asteroid 3 Juno which just happens to be making a close approach…
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Dawn Sees Dusk — NASA Asteroid Explorer Goes Dark

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft missed its schedule communication session with NASA’s Deep Space Network on both Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 this past week.  After eliminating other causes, mission manages concluded that the spacecraft finally ran out of the fuel hydrazine, which it uses to point its antenna toward Earth for communications and turn its solar panels to the…
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Vesta, Brightest Asteroid, Shines Extra Bright This Month

If you’ve never seen an asteroid, now’s the time. Asteroid 4 Vesta — the “4” stands for the 4th asteroid discovered — will shine brighter this season than it has for years and for years to come. The 329-mile-wide ball of rock orbit the in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter at an…
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Dawn To Peer At Ceres From Just 30 Miles Up

Dawn’s going down. The spacecraft, which has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015, will maneuver to its final and lowest orbit ever to take incredibly detailed photos and compositional measurements of the dwarf planet. As you read this, NASA engineers are firing Dawn’s ion engine to lower the probe into a snug loop less than…
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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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