Saturday August 30th 2014
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Staff

Publisher and Editor - Judith Martin-Straw

The Skinny - Amy Brunell

LOCALmotion - Jozelle Smith

Looking Up - Bob Eklund

Ruth's Truths - Ruth Morris

Looking Up by Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft has traversed the orbit of Neptune. It is due to make a close encounter with distant Pluto on July 14, 2015. The sophisticated piano-sized spacecraft, which launched in January 2006, reached Neptune’s orbit on Aug. 25, 2014, in a record eight years and eight months. New Horizons’ milestone matches precisely the 25th anniversary of the historic [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

The Whirlpool Galaxy Messier 51 (M51) is seen from a distance of approximately 30 million light-years. This galaxy appears almost face-on and displays a beautiful system of spiral arms. A European team of astronomers was able to observe M51 with the International LOFAR Telescope in the frequency range 115-175 MHz, just above the normal commercial FM radio frequency band of 88-108 MHz. The team [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

On August 6, after a decade-long journey chasing its target, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta became the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, opening a new chapter in solar system exploration. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and Rosetta now lie 243 million miles from Earth, about halfway between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, rushing towards the inner solar system at nearly [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

An international team, including Dr. Christoph Baranec of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy, is using the world’s first robotic laser adaptive optics system—Robo-AO—to explore thousands of exoplanet systems (planets around other stars) at resolutions approaching those of the Hubble Space Telescope. The results, which shed light on the formation of exotic [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Scientists using mission data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have identified 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Their analysis suggests it is possible for liquid water to reach from that moon’s underground sea all the way to its surface. These findings, and clues to what powers the geyser eruptions, are presented in two articles published in the current online [...]

Looking up – Bob Eklund

Looking up – Bob Eklund

The heliosphere, in which the Sun and planets reside, is a large bubble inflated from the inside by the high-speed solar wind blowing out from the Sun. Pressure from the solar wind, along with pressure from the surrounding interstellar medium, determines the size and shape of the heliosphere. The supersonic flow of solar wind abruptly slows at the termination shock, the innermost boundary of the [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Building on 14 years of extraordinary discoveries, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has launched a major program of three new surveys, adding novel capabilities to expand its census of the Universe into regions it had been unable to explore before. This new phase of SDSS will: --Explore the compositions and motions of stars across the entire Milky Way in unprecedented detail, using a [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

If a lot of us feel baffled by simply how to survive the next 24 hours, astronomers are taking a longer view—way out to the year 2028. That’s when the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch the Athena orbiting X-ray Observatory as its second ‘large-class’ science mission in the 21st century. Athena will be the largest X-ray telescope ever built, with a 120-inch diameter X-ray [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

“Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky....” A team of astronomers, using multiple telescopes, has identified the coolest, faintest white dwarf star known. White dwarfs are the extremely dense end states of stars like our Sun: after their nuclear fuel is exhausted, they collapse from the size of a star (about 1,000,000 miles across) to the size of the Earth (7,000 miles [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover completed a full Martian year—687 Earth days—as of June 24, having accomplished the mission’s main goal of determining whether Mars once offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. One of Curiosity’s first major findings after landing on the Red Planet in August 2012 was an ancient river-bed at its landing site. Nearby, at an area known [...]

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